Quality control for physical releases - this needs to be addressed

Discussion in 'Anime Industry Discussion' started by HdE, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. HdE

    HdE Comic Book Guy

    Well, time for an angry HdE rant.

    Today, I took delivery of what will be the last anime I buy until next year - a second hand mint copy of the Giant Robo economy pack and two brand new sets of RightStuf!'s Victory Gundam release.

    Sadly, the RightStuf! discs continue a trend I've noticed of late whereby I've received discs that aren't really in a fit state to sell as 'brand new.' It's worth noting, these discs were ordered from Otaku.co.uk - but the condition they're in is not their fault.

    FIVE of the ten discs that comprise Victory Gundam are scratched to some degree - the final disc in set two having the dreaded circular groove of death that very often leads to playback glitches. I'll be lucky if my SkipDr fixes that.

    But for me, this is the last straw. I've received a number of damaged discs lately, and chasing up replacements or looking into whether the actual playback faults I've found are line-wide problems hasn;t gotten me very far.

    To sum up, here's the run of luck I've had lately:

    Dirty Pair movie collection. Playback on the first disc stuttered and jumped about like a socially awkward teen after an injection of caffeine direct to the brain at his first comic con.
    Solution: had to buy another copy, alas.

    The Third: The Girl With the Blue Eye, complete collection - circular groove of death on disc 2, affected playback badly. Couldn't get a replacement because it sat on my shelf for six months before I found the problem (this is why I check ALL my discs now.) Solution: bought teh single volume at a reduced price for that disc.

    Gun Frontier - Discotek complete collection: Playback glitches on disc 1. Sent my first disc back, got a replacement. Turns out the fault is baked in. No solution for this one. I've contacted Discotek about the errors but have yet to get a response.

    Lupin The Third - Dragon of Doom: REALLY frustrating, this one. Bought a cheap new copy from an Ebay seller, after doing my due dilligence. Disc arrives with a MASSIVE burr right in the middle of the disc. Playback becomes blocky and stuttery early in the film as a result. Solution: I was fortunate to get a replacement, as the seller appeared to have several copies (a warehouse find, apparently.)

    After War Gundam X, collection one: I've had TWO copies of this affected by the playback error that affected RightStuf!'s initial print run. It's a minor thing, but VERY annoying. Solution: well, short of ordering new copy direct from Right Stuf! I'm not going to reliably get hold of a fixed copy, am I? Too bad.

    This is just too much faulty or damaged stuff to ignore in too short a space of time. Maybe I've just been incredibly unlucky. But I'd like to make a very sincere plea to anybody, anywhere in the business of producing physical media anime releases:

    GET THIS **** SORTED, PLEASE. What you're selling isn't cheap, and it's an ENORMOUS hassle to replace stuff if we find it's faulty.

    Ad if the tone of this post offends anybody, well... you can plead me unrepentant. It's just that I'd very much like to be able to spend my money in the good faith that what I'm buying will actually turn up in working order.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
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  2. Neil.T

    Neil.T Hunter

    Yep, that's really not so great for supposedly "new" condition, is it?

    I think the worst I've even seen was my copy of MVM's 8-DVD set of Trigun which I bought, still in its wrapper, from HMV. Six of the discs are in really quite a mess, with a mix of radial scratches (some deep enough to cast a shadow on the surface of the aluminium), circular scratches and an alarming degree of scuffing. All the discs play perfectly fine: they just look awful.

    The other thing I would pick up on is DVDs that have developed what looks like some form "disc rot" in the form of dark, gradually spreading "blooms" at the edges of the disc. The discs I've seen develop this problem (Evangelion 1.11 and Bamboo Blade to give a couple of examples) are all Manga's. I've seen a similar issue with some of Studio Canal's releases, where the surface of the aluminium has become discoloured or "stained" in puddle-like patches, again at the disc edges. My copy of Kiki's Delivery Service has that, and my initial copy of Tales from Earthsea looked so bad only a few months after purchase (and was still spreading) that HMV gave me a replacement. In all these cases, there were no actual playback problems, though.

    Has anyone else ever noticed that issue?

    Some DVDs look a bit cobbled-together in terms of manufacturing quality (like the aluminium disc has been cut out with scissors or something! :p). Sony's pressings, by contrast, look extremely professional, like they were made in a laboratory or something. Anime Limited use these. Personally, I've always found their quality threshold to be the highest of our UK distributors.
     
  3. HdE

    HdE Comic Book Guy

    I've been really lucky when it comes to disc rot - never had a single instance of it. I HAVE however found that certain discs from my GITS: SAC DVD box sets didn't want to play in my new DVD player when I went back to watch it.

    That was easily fixed, as single volumes were available at the grand sum of a quid a pop. They've been fine ever since.

    These kind of issues aggravate me for one very simple reason: If I spend the kind of money that's being asked for anime on disc these days, I expect the product to be well made and last me a respectable length of time.
     
  4. IdiomaticLynx

    IdiomaticLynx Brigade Leader

    I must say, I've never really had any damaged discs on arrival. The worst thing is when you hear the disc moving around in the package, knowing it has been collecting scratches during the transport. But luckily, I've yet to encounter a disc that would not play (one way or another) due to this.

    That being said, I don't really "trust" DVDs anymore. While a pressed disc should be able to last, I've heard of enough instances of 'disc rot' or the disc just degrading over time. For all I know there might be one among my DVDs :eek:

    Assuming you still have those discs, you could try playing them in a different DVD player/drive. I have experienced some discs refusing to play in one drive, while happily playing in another and vice-versa, so it might not be a problem with the disc itself.

    Also, if you ever need to "recover" a DVD, there are ways (and programs) to read at slower speeds and retry several times (which isn't possible during normal playback) and construct an image copy of the disc (which you can then burn to a new disc :confused:). In case you have two copies which are both defect (but at different points) you could also zombie the resulting images together into one.
     
  5. HdE

    HdE Comic Book Guy

    The only trouble there, Lynx, is that NONE of that faffing about should be necessary. The product should just work.

    I know that there are always going to be instances where damage occurs that's beyond anybody's control. But are we really going to fiddle around doing mini science and tech projects at home just to watch our anime?
     
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  6. IdiomaticLynx

    IdiomaticLynx Brigade Leader

    Valid point, it's that I personally quite like to thinker with stuff like this, that I generally don't mind a (minor) problem or two as long as it's not a damaged disc on arrival.

    In an ideal world, the product should indeed just work (and it generally does). However, I still check all the discs as soon as they arrive and from time to time encounter one that does not play in all drive/player combinations. In case it's truly a defect disc, there's nothing to it than to try and get a replacement.

    That being said, I can't say that this problem is more prevalent with anime releases compared to other releases from my experience. I also don't think the higher price tag translates to higher quality disc, but are sadly due to the smaller print runs not allowing bulk discount. On the other hand getting a replacement, while always a hassle, is something various anime retailers and distributors are actually very helpful with.

    It seems you've been rather unlucky with these, but that can only mean you've saved up quite a bit of luck for your coming purchases. ;)
     
  7. Neil.T

    Neil.T Hunter

    Yeah, I do this as well now, ever since getting unlucky with a faulty disc 1 of Patlabor OVA series 1. I already enthused about this here and here, but @MVM and their Anime-on-line shop were absolutely amazing about it. I didn't discover the fault until a full eight months after having placed the order. I took the wrapper off, popped out disc 1, took a look at it (as is my habit before puting it in the player) and discovered what looked like a zigzag-shaped cut in the aluminium disc. Around 12 minutes in, everything stuttered and froze, and I thought "Oh, great."

    Not holding out much realistic hope, I emailed Anime-on-line, they replied the same day, and I received a replacement disc the very next morning. I mean, that's just absolutely outstanding! :)

    I've had nothing but outstanding customer care from them. They're just the best at it, in my experience.
     
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  8. HdE

    HdE Comic Book Guy

    MVM are pretty much a class act all 'round, in my experience.
     
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  9. KurataTrigger

    KurataTrigger Completely Average High School Student

    This happen with Spice and Wolf S1.
    I brought it from HMV from Stratford for £9.99 and disc 1 had major scratches to the point where it wouldn't run properly.
    Lucky I gotten a refund and brought an another copy in a different HMV shop in Croydon.
    I also hate those 2 disc cases that Manga Entertainment like to do
     
  10. Neil.T

    Neil.T Hunter

    What style do you prefer, dude? I like the ones MVM use, with one disc one the left and one on the right.
     
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  11. KurataTrigger

    KurataTrigger Completely Average High School Student

    The MVM 2 disc style ^_^
     
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  12. Rosencrantz

    Rosencrantz Dragon Knight

    MvM style is definitely better, I see no point at all in mounting the discs is a swing arm when there's only 2 of them.

    I'm curious though, I've purchased a ton of Anime over many years and never had this problem (fortunately). I do frequently find discs have come out of their holders and this can obviously lead to scratches but I've not had any that cause playback issues. Best I can recall is a My-Hime disc that pixelated in some areas which cleared up once I cleaned the disc with a cloth.

    On that basis can we pin down exactly what company or format these damaged discs are from? It sounds like it's primarily DvD's?
     
  13. Neil.T

    Neil.T Hunter

    Mm. Hear, hear. The swing-arm style only adds an extra breakable component to the mix anyway.

    You know, I have a weird glitch with disc 1 of MVM's Love Hina DVD boxset. I bought it out of Forbidden Planet in London some years ago. Forbidden Planet being what they are, the case is empty and the discs are stored in envelopes behind the till. Disc 1 has I suppose some very light scratches, but nothing I would really take seriously. With my old Sony DVD player, the picture briefly freezes at the same point during the third episode, with occasional stuttering for the remaining ones. The trailers are actually unplayable, though; the picture just freezes repeatedly until it eventually moves on to the next trailer when it somehow still reaches the next title marker.

    I tried the disc in a PlayStation2 and it just freezes completely, much earlier in episode 3, and says "Unable to read disc".

    This is where it gets weird. I put the disc back into the Sony DVD player. Wondering whether some kind of vibration might be at fault, I lifted the player up off its shelf. Thinking of the "anti-jog" system on some old portable CD players, I tried jolting the player. Amazingly, every time I tilted the DVD player sharply to the left, the picture "unjammed". I found that by rocking the player sharply left then gently right repeatedly, the trailers played perfectly, with no hiccup whatsoever! o_O

    I live far too far away from London to take the boxset back to Forbidden Planet, so I tried copying the disc (a DVD-5) onto a DVD+RW using a PC. It read the disc just fine, and the copy plays perfectly.

    In more recent times, I tried the original disc in my current Sony Blu-ray player. Everything plays fine until it reaches the end of the last trailer. Then it crashes completely, forcing you to turn the player off at the mains. :confused:

    I can see nothing physically unusual about the disc at all. How very bizarre.
     
  14. Just Passing Through

    Just Passing Through Guild Member

    It's probably a bad pressing. I have had a few discs like this, and I always exchange 'em for working copies. Disc manufacturers are clean environments, supposedly dust free, so if one speck of dust gets into a disc pressing, it can result in a faulty disc, and it will behave like a scratched disc.
     
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  15. Neil.T

    Neil.T Hunter

    Oh, I didn't know that. Thanks for the info! :)
     
  16. Neil.T

    Neil.T Hunter

    Does anyone else have a first-pressing DVD copy of Manga's High School of the Dead (both discs) or Sekirei series 1 (disc 2) that's turned sour?

    They weren't like that the last time I looked!
     
  17. Lambadelta

    Lambadelta Vampire Ninja

    Disc rot is a terrible thing. My friend (who doesn't collect anime, but has a large DVD collection) has recently started ripping his discs because hes noticed that many of them are starting to rot now.

    My CCS DVDs from like 2002'ish though are still going strong (I do have a backup of them since I don't want to lose them even though I have the BD release).

    I do worry about possible Blu-ray Disc Rot as well.