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

 

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WXIII: Patlabor the Movie 3 [Blu-ray + SD Japanese version]

 

Director: Takuji Endo, Fumihiko Takayama

Release Year: 2002

Studio: Bandai/Honneamise

Region: All (DVD Region 2)

Video: MPEG-4/AVC - 1080p - 16x9 - (34Mbps)

 

Audio: Japanese LPCM 2.0 (1.5Mbps - 16-Bit/48kHz), Japanese Dolby 

TrueHD 5.1 (2.0 Mbps)

 

Subtitles: English, none

 

Disc: Dual-Layered Blu-Ray (50 GBs) + Dual-Layered DVD

Runtime: 102 min.

 

Extras: Trailer, Booklet

 

Release Date: October 2nd, 2007

Package: Blu-Ray + DVD special box

 

The Film:

WXIII” is a “side-story,” taking place within “Patlabor’s” universe one year after the events of the first movie and two years prior to the second one. Side-stories are a well-used gimmick in Japanese animation, with “The Animatrix” being an example of a “Matrix” side- story. “WXIII” features a new creative team led by director Takuji Endo and co-writers Yuuki Masami and Tori Maki, with animation production by Madhouse Studios (”Ninja Scroll”).

 

 

 

The movie focuses on two brand new characters, Detectives Takeshi Kusumi and Shinichiro Hata of the Tokyo Metropolitan PD, with original “Patlabor” cast members appearing in cameo roles. The story is a police procedural, involving the search for those responsible for a series of attacks on labors around Tokyo Bay. As the movie opens, Hata is pitching for the police division’s baseball team when he’s called to the scene of a labor attack, where Kusumi is waiting. Later, Hata meets and gives a ride to Saeko, a woman whose car broke down. Thus begins an odd courtship between the soft-spoken cop and the mysterious woman.

 

During the course of their investigation, Kusumi and Hata happen to tag along with some uniformed patrolmen assigned to check out a labor worksite during a power blackout. There, they come face to face with a giant monster — part fish, part reptile, and all carnivore. Hata and Kusumi escape (the two uniforms aren’t so lucky) and focus in on discovering exactly what the creature is and how it came to be. And somehow tied into the investigation is Saeko, who is still haunted by the deaths of her husband and daughter, and is presently in the employ of a genetic research firm.

 

....

 

To its credit, “WXIII” does feature high-level production values that are readily evident. The police labors, as well as the city of Tokyo itself, have never been animated this well in any previous “Patlabor” incarnation, thanks in part to some very subtle and nearly invisible CG. Additionally, as bizarre as the title creature is (it looks like a giant mutant salamander with the head from H.R. Geiger’s Alien), the animators have given it a very real and tangible onscreen presence, the kind that’s lacking in many live-action movies.

 

Excerpt from Beyond Hollywood located HERE

 

****

 

 

Package:

 


The Video:

As for the rest of the series, the image quality is outstanding in this Blu-Ray. Dirt is very rare, and I don't remember any noise or shade problems. Again, this is not an overly detailed anime but is the most graphical from the series. Nonetheless, the 3D-ish effect is timid and about this I think "Patlabor 2" BRD takes more advantage of HD transfer. But the image here is so clean and balanced that makes this a worthy upgrade from the previous SD editions.

Luiz R.

(SD TOP vs. Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

(SD TOP vs. Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

(SD TOP vs. Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

 

Blu-ray Screen Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio:

Both the LPCM stereo and the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound close throughout most of the movie, the difference only becomes more apparent during the most busy scenes. The Dolby TrueHD varies around 1.0-1.7 Mbps during most of the time and reaches peaks around 2.5-3.0 Mbps when needed, delivering a better surround performance and more deeply detailed ambience than the stereo LCPM. I would have discharged the LPCM for this Blu-Ray, I can't think of a reason good enough to include it, but it is wasting only 1.5 Mbps, so...

 

 

 

Extras:

The only extra is a trailer, as usual.

Menus

Like always there are also some ordinary trailers.

Subtitles:
Translation and timing seemed accurate to me, but it does get a bit too fast at times.

BOTTOM LINE: This is my least favorite of the whole series, but it still holds similarities to Oshii's original work. It will also remind you of the Korean blockbuster "The Host". It looks like "Patlabor 3" inspired the movie at least a bit. So if you enjoy monster's movies like "The Host" there is a good chance you'll enjoy this anime. The quality is great, so if you're willing to pay the price image and sound attributes won't leave you disappointed.

Luiz R.

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