Review by Leonard Norwitz
Theatrical: Altamira Pictures
Runtime: 91 min.
Size: 25 GB
Case: Blu-ray Book w/ slipcover
Release date: October 24, 2008
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Video codec: AVC / MPEG4
Japanese Linear PCM 2.0; Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English & Japanese
• Trailers for the feature film in SD
• Promotional Trailer for Happy Flight in SD
Make way for the synchronized swimmers in the crowd-pleasing
zero-to-hero youth film Water Boys! Directed by Yaguchi
Shinobu (Swing Girls), this hilarious and heartwarming 2001
sports comedy about a bunch of high school boys who take up
synchronized swimming received eight nominations at the
Japan Academy Awards and won a Best Newcomer trophy for
heartthrob Tsumabuki Satoshi (Nada Sou Sou). Water Boys not
only launched Tsumabuki Satoshi to fame, it also provided a
start for many other newcomer actors, most notably Hiroshi
Tamaki (Nodame Cantabile, Midnight Eagle). The great success
and popularity of Water Boys also inspired a spin-off
television drama that eventually ran for three seasons and
launched even more careers.
Swimming team member Suzuki (Tsumabuki Satoshi) has a
problem: he's the only person on the team. Team membership
skyrockets when the school gets a hot new coach, but it
turns out she actually teaches synchronized swimming!
Persuaded by her beauty, the guys clumsily give the unmanly
sport a try, but she soon bails out for maternity leave.
Refusing to give up, Suzuki and his remaining four teammates
- Sato (Tamaki Hiroshi), Ohta (Miura Akifumi), Kanazawa
(Kondo Koen, Ping Pong), and Saotome (Kaneko Takatoshi,
Azumi) - enlist a wacky dolphin trainer (Takenaka Naoto,
Nodame Cantabile) to be their new teacher!
Excerpt of review from YesAsia located HERE
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence
compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale.
The second number places this image along the full range of
DVD and Blu-ray discs.
Perhaps in order to squeeze the content onto a single layer
disc, the movie has been transferred to 1080i – which, as
far as I am concerned, is not Blu-ray standard. That said, I
can't say that the image suffers a great deal. The picture
is fairly flat and low contrast to start with. Otherwise the
image is quite serviceable, defect-free and without
noticeable glaring artifacts or enhancements. The color is
natural, but deliberately neutered of contrast, probably in
order to deal with the glare of the water in sunlight. Skin
tones are good, and the water, in all its various venues, is
convincing. Bit rates tend to be lowish - in the mid 20s.
Audio & Music:
There's not a whole lot going on here besides dialogue and
splashing about. The scene with the dolphins gives the
surrounds something to do, as does the final water carnival
when the announcer speaks through a P.A. system. Otherwise
this is what it is – a 2-channel original, presented in
clear lossless PCM, with an optional subtle Dolby TrueHD 5.1
mix. I had a slight preference for the PCM – it seemed a
The BIG plus here is the packaging. This is how Blu-rays
should have been offered in the first place – not those
chintzy plastic affairs, but a solid, simple book that opens
to an easily removable disc. Major kudos. The menu is in
Japanese and partly in English – the part that isn't is the
Index of extra features, which all turn out to be promos and
trailers. English subtitles are only on the feature film.
Curiously, what we would call "scenes" or "chapters" they
call "Bonus Tracks".
Sadly there is nothing about the making of the movie, just a
couple of trailers in SD and a short promo for Shinobu
Yaguchi's new movie, Happy Flight. I feel this absence of
bonus features devalues the set, especially given its price.
The Blu-ray has two things going against it: the lack of
supportive bonus features about the movie and its 1080i
transfer. Even if the resultant image is not a whole lot
less good than 1080p, it's the principle of the thing that
is at stake here – especially at the price.
March 16th, 2009