Defective or Disappointing UK Anime Discs

IncendiaryLemon

Captain Karen
AUKN Staff
I get it, but isn't the point of a Blu-ray release to make the best possible looking version? If it's from the source- then that's fine- but the film is a 100% digital production, which lowers the chance of it being a source issue- I'd assume it's the compressionist's fault- but unless I saw the source files, I can't say for sure.
I mean, I guess, it just gets so tiresome reading people going on and on about such non-issues. It must be pretty disheartening for a company like AL, where they clearly pour their hearts into almost each and every release, only to still get complaints because you can see a tiny bit of banding when you sit close enough to the screen or other such nonsense. If it really is that important to you, then obviously I can't stop you, but I think having a bit of perspective is important.
 
You're right there- the effort that goes into these releases are fantastic. I guess that's the cost of using an outside authoring house while they focus on the physical extras and packaging. I'd love to say, "there's no reason it can't have both", but it's not true. It's a tough thing for me to describe- obviously we all want the best looking release- but would that mean lesser packaging and/or booklets? Personally, I prefer a well encoded video to a good looking package, but there is merit to both. If AL wanted the video side to be on-par with the packaging, they'd be out of business by now.

I can't argue with what you're saying- because it's true- but I guess I'm just greedy- in wanting more than possible. I admit, I've given more **** to AL than I probably should've- but it's because I care. I want to see good releases that can be looked upon years later. And I think they're at a good point now. Sure, I'd prefer if everything was encoded by either mp3dom or David Mackenzie (Fidelity in Motion) or Justin Sevakis, and I'd prefer if AL didn't have expensive AF shipping to the US from their store- but, and this is the important part- you (AL) put in effort. More so than any other US distributor in regards to packaging. Plus, you get fantastic titles before the rest of the English speaking world. It's priorities, and they're in the right place.

Now I'm not saying to not take PQ seriously- you should- but, everything else is to a high enough standard, that's why it stands out. Everything else is a 10- which is enough in my book.

End of post. In conclusion- AL- keep it up, don't take all my complaints to heart, and more than all- just be you.
 
Sure, I'd prefer if everything was encoded by either mp3dom or David Mackenzie (Fidelity in Motion) or Justin Sevakis
So, excuse my ignorance in this field, but what actually is the compressionist's job, and why are the three you've named above so good at what they do? What is it that they're able to do to squeeze such good video quality out of the available memory space that others aren't able to match, particularly in terms of eliminating/minimising visible banding?

Talk me through it if you will. I'd be interested to hear. :)
 
So, excuse my ignorance in this field, but what actually is the compressionist's job, and why are the three you've named above so good at what they do? What is it that they're able to do to squeeze such good video quality out of the available memory space that others aren't able to match, particularly in terms of eliminating/minimising visible banding?

Talk me through it if you will. I'd be interested to hear. :)
The compressionist does video encoding. They take the source files and compress them down to fit within the bandwidth of the Blu-ray disc. They're the encoders. I can't really say why they're great other than they do their job right. It's hard having to take a source file that can range from hundreds of gigabytes (TV episode) to multiple terabytes- going as far as 8 to 10 if it's a 4K or higher res source.

mp3dom works in Italy for the anime distributor Dynit, and has manually debanded source files frame by frame to make a better presentation (Madoka Magica, Fate/Stay Night UBW TV), as well as applying various filters to improve image quality, but uses the JP BD as a colour/brightness reference so he doesn't go too far from the intended look. He's produced several BDs that greatly trump their JP counterpart- A Silent Voice, Madoka, Fate/Stay Night, Kill la Kill, Your Name, Death Note, Yamato 2199, One Punch Man, Tokyo Ghoul, Gundam the Origin, Psycho Pass, Steins;Gate, Cowboy Bebop and many, many others. His new project- Akira, will be the definitive release. While it drops the "hypersonic mix", it allows for a bitrate increase to 35 mbps (compared to the 20 mbps of Bandai and FUNi), plus NO DNR this time.

Justin Sevakis owns Media OCD, and works with Discotek primarily, but has done discs for Anime Limited/@Anime, Sunrise, Bandai Namco, NIS America, Eleven Arts and Pied Piper. He's done every single Blu-ray for Discotek, so if you like what you see, he did it. Plus, he's the master of SUPER COMPRESSION. While mp3dom and David Mackenzie always aim for the highest bitrates, Justin is able to achieve similar results at bitrates often 1/2 or even 1/3 the size. His upcoming Lupin III Part 4 Japanese version BD has 13 episodes per disc, and he's guaranteed me it'll surpass the French encoded AL release on twice as many discs. His SD-BDs are just as great- being able to fit around 50 episodes at 480p with two language tracks on a single disc is quite a feat- however, his look better than their JP releases. Hitman Reborn has an upscaled BD in Japan by Pony Canyon across like 30 discs- Justin used 4 for SD quality, while retaining the correct frame rate, more detail, proper brightness levels,, and is English friendly at an actually affordable price.

David Mackenzie doesn't really do anime, well, he did do Metropolis (2001) for Eureka, but he's super f**king good. Like, DAMN. He's the god of Live Action compression. He primarily does work for Arrow and Eureka, but has done work for the BFI and some other Indie labels. His BD of Carrie from Arrow has the whole film and extras on 1 disc. Why is that impressive? Shout Factory's US release was on 2, and David was able to nearly match it in average bitrate, while having higher spikes in bitrate, produce better video and audio quality, put all the same extras on the same disc, and add even more extras while loosing no quality, and in fact gaining quality due to better encoding! HOLY S**T. He's currently working on all the Hong Kong releases by Eureka, which look unbelievable- for instance, City Hunter (not the anime, the Jackie Chan film that's awesome) has 5 audio tracks: Cantonese Mono, 5.1 Mandarin Stereo, and English Mono and 5.1, yet he was able to add over 90 minutes of extras and still maintain an average bitrate of over 30 mbps.

If you're curious about how compression works, David did an excellent interview talking about the job- if you want to know a lot, it's a must watch.
 
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The compressionist does video encoding. They take the source files and compress them down to fit within the bandwidth of the Blu-ray disc. They're the encoders. I can't really say why they're great other than they do their job right. It's hard having to take a source file that can range from hundreds of gigabytes (TV episode) to multiple terabytes- going as far as 8 to 10 if it's a 4K or higher res source.

mp3dom works in Italy for the anime distributor Dynit, and has manually debanded source files frame by frame to make a better presentation (Madoka Magica, Fate/Stay Night UBW TV), as well as applying various filters to improve image quality, but uses the JP BD as a colour/brightness reference so he doesn't go too far from the intended look. He's produced several BDs that greatly trump their JP counterpart- A Silent Voice, Madoka, Fate/Stay Night, Kill la Kill, Your Name, Death Note, Yamato 2199, One Punch Man, Tokyo Ghoul, Gundam the Origin, Psycho Pass, Steins;Gate, Cowboy Bebop and many, many others. His new project- Akira, will be the definitive release. While it drops the "hypersonic mix", it allows for a bitrate increase to 35 mbps (compared to the 20 mbps of Bandai and FUNi), plus NO DNR this time.

Justin Sevakis owns Media OCD, and works with Discotek primarily, but has done discs for Anime Limited/@Anime, Sunrise, Bandai Namco, NIS America, Eleven Arts and Pied Piper. He's done every single Blu-ray for Discotek, so if you like what you see, he did it. Plus, he's the master of SUPER COMPRESSION. While mp3dom and David Mackenzie always aim for the highest bitrates, Justin is able to achieve similar results at bitrates often 1/2 or even 1/3 the size. His upcoming Lupin III Part 4 Japanese version BD has 13 episodes per disc, and he's guaranteed me it'll surpass the French encoded AL release on twice as many discs. His SD-BDs are just as great- being able to fit around 50 episodes at 480p with two language tracks on a single disc is quite a feat- however, his look better than their JP releases. Hitman Reborn has an upscaled BD in Japan by Pony Canyon across like 30 discs- Justin used 4 for SD quality, while retaining the correct frame rate, more detail, proper brightness levels,, and is English friendly at an actually affordable price.

David Mackenzie doesn't really do anime, well, he did do Metropolis (2001) for Eureka, but he's super f**king good. Like, DAMN. He's the god of Live Action compression. He primarily does work for Arrow and Eureka, but has done work for the BFI and some other Indie labels. His BD of Carrie from Arrow has the whole film and extras on 1 disc. Why is that impressive? Shout Factory's US release was on 2, and David was able to nearly match it in average bitrate, while having higher spikes in bitrate, produce better video and audio quality, put all the same extras on the same disc, and add even more extras while loosing no quality, and in fact gaining quality due to better encoding! HOLY S**T. He's currently working on all the Hong Kong releases by Eureka, which look unbelievable- for instance, City Hunter (not the anime, the Jackie Chan film that's awesome) has 5 audio tracks: Cantonese Mono, 5.1 Mandarin Stereo, and English Mono and 5.1, yet he was able to add over 90 minutes of extras and still maintain an average bitrate of over 30 mbps.

If you're curious about how compression works, David did an excellent interview talking about the job- if you want to know a lot, it's a must watch.
That disc for Carrie is superb, didn’t realise he authored it.
 
That disc for Carrie is superb, didn’t realise he authored it.
Yup.
Also, I don't want to sound rude, but he encoded it. Authoring is simply making sure if you choose video track A, audio choice D plays with subtitle F. It's making sure the disc functions and does what you want it to.

Now David did both the authoring and encoding, but I just wanted to point out there's a difference. (In the interview linked above- he goes into more detail on that)
 
Yup.
Also, I don't want to sound rude, but he encoded it. Authoring is simply making sure if you choose video track A, audio choice D plays with subtitle F. It's making sure the disc functions and does what you want it to.

Now David did both the authoring and encoding, but I just wanted to point out there's a difference. (In the interview linked above- he goes into more detail on that)
That’s what I meant, simple mistake. Regardless it’s a typically great release from Arrow.
 
There are many great compressionist for anime. Unfortunately most of them are only active in the fansub scene and very few choose it as their career like mp3dom and some employees from a certain german streaming service.
 
There's this one guy who fixed FLCL via a fansub release. yurasyk would be a cool compressionist, if he were to go legit.

I hate to say it, but that fansub, which averages 5.7 mbps (but with spikes up to 48 mbps) bests the official Blu-rays from both FUNimation and King Records (JP). But, he applied filters and changed several things about the image- something an official release might not be able to do.
 
There's this one guy who fixed FLCL via a fansub release. yurasyk would be a cool compressionist, if he were to go legit.

I hate to say it, but that fansub, which averages 5.7 mbps (but with spikes up to 48 mbps) bests the official Blu-rays from both FUNimation and King Records (JP). But, he applied filters and changed several things about the image- something an official release might not be able to do.
There are many encoding settings you can't use for BDs since you need comply with the BD spec. Using 16 RefFrames or 10bit colordepth for example can save a lot of bandwidth while still preserving just as much detail but BDs simply don't support those.

There's a very informative reddit post about anime encoding. https://www.reddit.com/r/anime/comments/8ktmvu
 
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The discs are exactly the same
I'm guessing you have the SE. If so, thanks.

To those (who watch it in Japanese) who already own it (either Ultimate or Standard), is the audio issue bad enough that it affects your overall enjoyment? And yes, I'm shrugging off the video issue.

The main reason for asking is because I was planning on buying the release myself, but I'm not entirely sure.
 
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I'm guessing you have the SE. If so, thanks.

To those (who watch it in Japanese) who already own it (either Ultimate or Standard), is the audio issue bad enough that it affects your overall enjoyment? And yes, I'm shrugging off the video issue.

The main reason for asking is because I was planning on buying the release myself, but I'm not entirely sure.
With the Aniplex releases being hella expensive, and with the Dynit (Italian) release being essentially the same price, but you'd have to sync up subtitles, I'm not sure. If the Dynit version has the exact same timing, then you could add in subtitles and it'd be fine- assuming you have a BD drive for your PC. If not, then the AL version is fine. While I don't own it, I've seen screencaps, and while it has more compression artifacts than the Aniplex/Dynit releases, it looks good overall. Aniplex and Dynit don't have the audio issue at all, but the trade off is time and/or money.
 

NormanicGrav

Grand Grav Dreaming
Moderator
Personally the best version to go for is the standard edition Japanese Blu-ray Disc Box. Not only does it have the Aniplex of America discs but it also includes a couple extra features like the Nintendo DS OVA and the Yoko Music Video that were initially exclusive to the Limited Edition BD-Box. That's the version I plan to go for once I have the spare cash and sorted out other things.

Though if you 'just want the show' itself, just stick with AL's Blu-ray release.
 
Personally the best version to go for is the standard edition Japanese Blu-ray Disc Box. Not only does it have the Aniplex of America discs but it also includes a couple extra features like the Nintendo DS OVA and the Yoko Music Video that were initially exclusive to the Limited Edition BD-Box. That's the version I plan to go for once I have the spare cash and sorted out other things.

Though if you 'just want the show' itself, just stick with AL's Blu-ray release.
I was actually considering the Japanese releases, as I like the extras, but I wasn't sure if the recent priced-down Japanese BDs have subtitles, considering there was no mention of it, as if I'm correct, the AoJ releases have the Parallel Works with the TV series, but the AoA releases don't.
 

NormanicGrav

Grand Grav Dreaming
Moderator
I was actually considering the Japanese releases, as I like the extras, but I wasn't sure if the recent priced-down Japanese BDs have subtitles, considering there was no mention of it, as if I'm correct, the AoJ releases have the Parallel Works with the TV series, but the AoA releases don't.
I double checked the information when it was revealed a while back. It's the same discs as before for the Japanese BD-BOX, so the TV series will have English dub and subtitles (for the main 27 episodes) and the Movie will have the English subtitles. I believe the rest including Parallel Works have no English support (and as you mentioned, AOA didn't add any of the on-disc extras outside of the textless songs with their release).
 
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