H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze


Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 5600 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:
Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)
Harmon Cardon DD/DTS receiver
Ascent (main) + Boston Acoustics (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze







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


Shin SOS Dai Tokyo Tankentai / SOS! Tokyo Metro Explorers: The Next [Blu-ray]  


(Shinji Takagi, 2007)

SStudio: Bandai Visual / Honneamise
Region: A
Video: MPEG-4/AVC - 1080p - 16:9 - (38Mbps)

Audio: Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (2.0Mbps - 16-Bit/48kHz), Japanese LPCM 2.0 (1.5Mbps)
Subtitles: English, none (NOTE: there are no Japanese subtitles)
Special Features Subtitles: Japanese, English

Disc: Single-Layered Blu-Ray (25GBs)
Runtime: 40 min.

Extras: Making Of..., Interviews, Trailers and Audio Commentary

Release Date: November 22nd, 2007
Package: Blu-Ray Standard case

In the summer of 2006, 5th grader Ryuhei Ozaki discovers a journal, "Tokyo Exploring Records," which was written by his father Shohei when he was young. Ryuhei forms his own exploration team with his online friends, Shun and Yoshio. One day during summer vacation, the three boys along with Ryuhei's brother, who happens to sneak along, go down a manhole into the sewers looking for a hidden treasure indicated on their father's map.

Not imagining anyone would be down there, they make surprise encounters with many odd, yet friendly grown-ups living underground, including a man called Matakichi. Just as they begin to enjoy the adventure, the underground turns into a combat zone involving an old, self-proclaimed Japanese soldier and even Yoshio's cousin Momoyo. Will the kids be able to discover the "Treasure of Japan" hidden underground?

The Film: Based on the original manga by Otomo Katsuhiro (Akira), Shin SOS Dai Tokyo Tankentai (a.k.a. SOS! Tokyo Metro Explorers) is a delightful animated feature about a group of boys' urban subterranean adventures. A fun and fanciful vision of contemporary Tokyo in 3-D animation, the film actually expands on the manga's storyline, providing an even more extensive vision of the anime master's youthful world. One summer day, fifth-grader Ozaki Ryohei discovers a notebook from his father's youth, titled "Dai Tokyo Chika Tankenki" ("Metropolitan Tokyo Underground Adventure"). Captivated by its contents, Ryohei, along with his little brother and two friends, sets out on a treasure hunt through the underbelly of Tokyo. Quirky characters, strange secrets, and a plentitude of grand adventures lie in wait under every manhole.


The Video:
Very consistent and amazingly detailed, the image quality is the strongest feature of this Blu-Ray. The colors are precise in tones and transitions, the palette is rich and the white balance is even and realistic. The 3D effect is wonderful, certainly among the top10 3D-ish Blu-Rays available, this anime was indeed meant for HD.

Edge halos are the only issue, but aren't really strong and rarely noticeable. It is interesting to point out that I had the impression these "halos" could actually be "graphical borders", in a procedure similar to "copy and paste" you can grab a CGI created character and insert it in a computer generated 3D environment, sometimes the characters come with a thin white border around them looking like "edge halos".

But anyway, the result here is outstanding and save for this only and minor issue, that can't even be considered distracting, the image is perfect.

Luiz R.

Blu-ray Screen Captures










Standard Blu-Ray case, just a bit thicker because of the booklet.



The Dolby TrueHD is discreet most of the time but amazingly sharp and precise when needed. Every background detail is lively, realistic, and crisp. Voices are evident and even when the soundtrack gets really busy and loud, precision and detailing are fully apparent.

The LPCM stereo is also very good, but not as rich in the most bright moments as the Dolby TrueHD. Obviously, it is limited in some other aspects but still solid considering it is just 2.0.

The audio commentary uses the same LPCM track, but the commentator's voices are boosted and the original soundtrack becomes very timid.


The English subtitles are excellent, the timing is very good, although can be a bit speedy in certain cicumstances.

I found all the extras very interesting, they took some time explaining all the production process and the technicalities involved in it in the "Making-Of", the interviews were also explanatory and discussed more about the motivation and ideas behind the project. Everything is English-subtitled, including the audio commentaries!  


BOTTOM LINE: I liked the anime, it is subtle and packed with historical and political ideas but always keeping the "innocent" appearance and fun. It also introduces some interesting 3D and CGI techniques that will probably become common in most Otomo's projects from now on. The Blu-Ray quality is outstanding and the package is one of the few standard-case releases coming with a booklet, a nice one by the way. But one should be aware of the, only, 40 min. length and the price stuck to it, other than that, I find this a great buy.

Luiz R.

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



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