directed by Hitoshi Yazaki
Japan 2006

Manga continues to be one of the fundamental sources of inspiration in Japanese cinema, and Strawberry Shortcakes is one of its most recent examples. Based on the eponymous manga for girls by cartoonist Kiriko Nananan, the pic follows the ups and downs of four female friends in Tokyo looking for love and trying to cope with the responsibilities in their lives.

The main characters, impeccably played by four powerful actresses, are modern, self-sufficient women and their stories are told with mild irony and a dash of melancholy. The result is a movie that is lighthearted at times, a little sad at others, crazy and sometimes serious, but always special, that investigates the psychology of its characters and offers an accurate depiction of urban Japan, thanks to its director’s know-how.

While many overly ambitious directors struggle to tell even one fairly comprehensible story, Yazaki skilfully weaves a powerful depiction of not one, but four women, creating an indissoluble and moving whole that doesn’t succumb to sentimentalism
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Excerpt from AsianMediaWiki.com

Posters

Theatrical Release: 23 September 2006

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Uplink (2-Disc - Japanese Version) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Luiz R. for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Uplink

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 127 min
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.87 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (384 Kbps)
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Uplink

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Dual-Layered DVD (Movie)
• Single-Layered DVD (Supplements)
• Making Of
• Premiere
• Voice of Women ~ Love Documentary (Q&A with Cast)
• Theatrical Trailer & Teaser
• Interview with Cast & Director
• Booklet
• 8 postcards

DVD Release Date: April 25, 2007
Double Disc Sleeve boxset

Chapters 14

 

Package

 

  

Comments:

There are some quality issues with this DVD release, but even so I found it enjoyable. Not only the film itself is interesting but the package is a beautiful textured hard paper made sleeve box, coming with 2 discs, one filled with supplements including some postcards and a 34-pages booklet.

VIDEO:
Even though this is interlaced the average quality is high, you can get an idea from the grabs below that were taken without any kind of de-interlacing software. In my view the images are lightly sharp, never reaching a compromising level of blurriness, just being soft and easy visuals. The color saturation seems just right as does the contrast balance, leaving the shadows with a satisfying level of detail.

One of the few negatives here is the strong color noise during low light scenes, and there are quite a few. It can be reduced depending on your system, but I couldn't reach a level I would consider acceptable.

Interlaced video, in general, usually displays some specific problems during playback. But I believe many of these problems are related to the equipment being used, so I usually avoid commenting about it. The impressions I got from watching this DVD on my computer and on my plasma were quite different. My computer (Apple DVD Player software or VLC) de-interlacing noticeably blurs the image (background included) to disguise some issues; this is a common result from bad video processing according to "Silicon Optix". Now, in my TV the image appears more sharp and clean from jaggies, due to a better processing by the DVD player. It is true that noise, shadow detail and others can also be improved or worsen depending on the equipment, but the standard from the transfer is easier to be checked in these cases IMHO. So, just keep in mind these issues that may result from a interlaced transfer are variable.

SOUND:
I have one complaint about this stereo Dolby Digital mix, I found it low and the background sounds hard to detect at an average volume level. The soundtrack is indeed very simple and subtle and sometimes I thought it was supposed to be completely silent, but by increasing the volume details were revealed. Other than that, this stereo mix is clean enough to deliver a satisfying experience, never degrading or compromising the quality or mood of the movie.

EXTRAS:
There is a whole disc dedicated to supplements. Many interviews with the cast and crew are available, a standard making-of, a few other short documentaries, and some trailers. All presented in good quality, some even progressive, but none subtitled. But this release is being sold for the price of a normal Japanese edition one, so the extra DVD can be considered free.

The booklet is thick, color illustrated, and full of Japanese characters. I hope they start making more universal booklets and supplements for the new HD formats, I truly believe this might enhance sales. It is hard to expend more than $40 if you can't enjoy the whole package.

I found the movie very good and a excellent depiction of women's dramas living in isolating megalopolis' realities. If you liked Hiroshi Ishikawa's "Tokyo Sora" than I am positive you'll enjoy this as well. I would say they are complementary to each other, but "Strawberry Shortcakes" is less melancholic and more vivid. I really like both and if you didn't watch any of them I believe you are missing a fascinating film experience.

There is also a more recent Korean version available HERE that is cheaper and may even be progressive.

 - Luiz R.

 



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Color Noise

 


Interlacing

 

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

Distribution

Uplink

Region 0 - NTSC




 

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