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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Anime Blu-ray Updated:

Mononoke Hime, or Princess Mononoke, is finally getting a blu-ray release December 4th.  Spirited Away, Grave of the Fireflies, Kiki's Delivery Service and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind have all received blu-ray releases already, so this will finally complete the good Ghibli movies list.  Now we'll get a real theatrical experience to these movies into the future, instead of just for the lucky people who were alive at the time these movies came out in theatres.

Indeed, we're now moving to the point where it isn't a question of what anime series have blu-ray versions, but which series don't.  Almost every old good series has received a remake or remaster by now, excepting only Sailor Moon.  Dragon Ball Kai Buu will finally fix the last complaint I have with that series, and should be coming soon.  Gundam Wing and Gundam SEED, the most popular Gundam series outside of Gundam 00, are in the process of being turned into blu-ray boxes as we speak.  Ranma 1/2 will be fully blu-ray-ified in 2014, with the first 1/3 already out and subbed by Doki now.  Galaxy Angel has a full blu-ray version in Japan, though people outside of Japan must still suffer with inferior versions.  Tengen Toppa's blu-ray version recently came out and looks gorgeous.  Cowboy Bebop has a blu-ray box, and Evangelion's final 'remake' movie should come out later this year, which in a sense provides a blu-ray version of that famous series.  (Though I can't say it's a good one, that's another issue.)  It would be nice if there were a Record of Lodoss War blu-ray, but it already looks beautiful in its current version so oh well.

Guyver, Gunbuster, Akira, Berserk, Card Captor Sakura, Macross, all the old classics are out in blu-ray.  Nanoha has blu-ray remake movies covering its old stuff, and Higurashi wasn't drawn with enough detail to make much use of blu-ray, so I don't see the point of remastering it.  As for enormous series like Precure, One Piece, Naruto and Fairy Tail, they don't need blu-ray to be good and art has never been their focus, so capturing every last detail is a waste of time.

This is a very recent development.  Just a year ago I would have been complaining about all the important series that still look bad because they haven't been updated to blu-ray yet.  But now everything has been updated, or it's been announced that it will be updated soon.  Apparently the transition from dvd technology to blu-ray technology, at least when it comes to anime fans, is nearing completion.  In fact, blu-ray sales recently outstripped dvd sales in Japan for the first time, so we're seeing that trend play out right before our eyes.

A little known fact about the world, but it was actually anime fans who created the entire modern world as we know it.  It was anime fans who originally demanded a higher quality image than VHS could provide for their treasured series.  It was their demand that funded the research and development of the laser disk, the top of the line format for only hard core fans.  And it was the laser disk that became the foundation of all progress in stored media from that age on -- dvd, cd, blu-ray, and beyond.  It's also the first use found for the laser, which then went on to play so many important roles in making computer chips, medical devices, fiber optic cables, and God knows what.  The entire internet is thanks to anime fans.  We commercialized the laser, and thus we are responsible for every useful electronic gadget in the world.  While we're at it, the sole commercial sponsor of computing was the video game industry.  If not for people who wanted continuously better graphics in their video games, computers would have never developed into the powerhouses everyone relies on today.  Computer makers in the 1970's and the like were saying things like, "What possible use could a computer have with more than five megabytes of hard drive space?"  And "We foresee about ten computers being sold for useful calculating purposes worldwide."  It was gamers who found a real use for computing and made the industry profitable.  And only after gamers had been forcing IBM's hands did future ideas come forth like smartphones for everyone where suddenly powerful chips mattered to everyone.

People who love good entertainment have been the source of all technological progress for the last few decades.  Without these pleasure seekers, we'd still be wearing bell bottoms and smoking marijuana all day.  Now we're inventing driverless cars, which will save tens of millions of lives and even more time off of everyone's schedule (time for everyone to sleep while being driven to work, for instance.)

With the PS4 and Xbox One both using blu-ray technology to deliver their games, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and all good anime now being available in blu-ray, we are finally, this year, entering the blu-ray age.  Welcome to the future, everyone!  Enjoy your high definition resolution, courtesy of us.

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