SECOND MOVIE NOW PLEASE, SECOND MOVIE NOW
こにゃにゃちわ! I return from life’s trials and tribulations known as school and work. You know, some college students decide to spend their hard-earned money on textbooks, tuition, and other junk, but I choose to use my money for far more important matters.
Like tossing it at my computer screen and demanding anime companies to bring me more Cardcaptor Sakura.
(I’m only half-kidding.)
After going through some complications with the order, I’ve finally received my Blu-ray copy of Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie. I’ll do a post about the feature itself later (because it’s next on my rewatch-blogs), but for now, let’s take a look at the quality of the release.
What you see above is the original Japanese cover.
Below is what we got:
It’s not bad at all – in fact, it’s a really cute anime artwork of Sakura in her movie outfit. The thing is, the Japanese version’s modern (!) CLAMP artwork looks even better; the art is scrumptious. Plus, it was a new treat for the 2011 Japanese Blu-ray remaster of the film. New material straight from CLAMP themselves. In comparison. the artwork we got is essentially taken straight from an old film poster and lacks that novelty. Discotek/Eastern Star could have done so much more with the cover art.
Well, I like the covers for both versions regardless. But considering it’s the film’s 15th anniversary, it would have been cool if they gave us a reversible cover containing both versions of the cover art. (Also, I know it’s Blu-ray and all, but the pink box is much more suitable for Sakura than the blue one.)
Image Credit: さくらンボ
Moving on, the Discotek menu is looks somewhat similar to the Japanese release (pictured above), except Sakura and the menu cards are positioned differently, and the magic circles are unfortunately removed. The background on the Japanese menu looks way prettier, but there’s a nice “falling cherry blossom petal” effect going on in Discotek’s release, which gives them bonus pointst.
As expected, the video (1080p resolution, 1.85:1 aspect ratio) looks way better than it ever did on previous stateside releases of the movie on DVD. There’s been video issues with some recent anime releases on Blu-ray – Japanese Blu-ray releases for anime tend to have higher video quality compared to their English counterparts, due to licensing companies being spazzes about disc spreads and the like, which lowers the quality in the process (I’m looking at you, Sentai Filmworks). Fortunately, we don’t have that problem here, especially since this was originally one film on one disc. Like NISA’s Blu-ray release of the entire anime series (which was a perfect release in every way except for the awful subtitles), any quality drop compared to the Japanese release isn’t noticeable at all and it looks pretty much the same.
As for the audio, there are four tracks on this disc: Japanese DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround Sound, Japanese Linear PCM 2.0 Stereo, English Dolby Digital 448kbps 5.1 and English 192kbps 2.0 Stereo. Unlike the NISA release for the anime series, which had the mediocre-at-best Animax dub, we get the god awful Nelvana Cardcaptors dub here. I changed the audio to the English dub for a few minutes and my little sister burst out laughing at Nelvana’s obvious whitewashing (here, on uncut/unedited footage) and how bratty the characters became in the dub – mind you, my sister is 8-years old.
Not only is Nelvana’s English dub bad, but unlike the Japanese track, there’s no lossless audio track for this. It isn’t consequential, since real Cardcaptor Sakura fans are probably going to listen to the Japanese audio anyway (with the graces of Tange Sakura, Hisakawa Aya, and whatnot). Plus, the presence of the English dub, unlike NISA’s Blu-ray release of the series, didn’t come at the expense of 5.1 surround sound. It’s good that people who don’t have the capacity to listen to foreign languages didn’t ruin things for me this time around!
PRAISE THE GOOD TRANSLATION GODS
Discotek’s subtitles are an accurate translation of the Japanese dialogue, and the English of the translation flows pretty smoothly. Characters also call each other by their respective given names and surnames as they’re supposed to. For example, Sakura should be calling Syaoran “Li” (at this point of the CCS timeline) and Meiling should be calling Sakura “Kinomoto”, which Discotek’s subtitles get right. Compare this to NISA’s rather bad translation, where Sakura instead calls Syaoran “Xiaolang” (valid pinyin spelling of his name) and Meiling calls Sakura “Sakura”. The former causes a problem later when Sakura, in Japanese, starts calling Syaoran by his given name to show how specially close they’ve gotten. NISA’s translation has her start calling him “bestie”, which is pretty far off from the connotation that CLAMP was going for with Sakura’s character development. In fact, that’s pretty much the friendzone in contemporary American culture.
Discotek apparently took the translation straight from Geneon’s old release of the movie. Geneon’s translation of the series was fine as-is, so I have no problems with that. If only NISA did the same thing with the TV series. Sorry NISA, I appreciate you for rescuing the license and your BD release of Cardcaptor Sakura is perfect in almost every way (-I adore it– it’s one of the best releases to date), but your subtitles will always suck. You need to outsource better translators, guys.
Also, the subtitles are optional. You can turn them off while listening the Japanese audio, unlike NISA’s release for the TV series, which is a (stupid and useless) measure used to dissuade Japanese anime fans from trying to reverse-import the cheaper English Blu-ray.
Moving onwards to the special features:
- Movie Trailer 1
- Movie Trailer 2
- Japanese Commercial Spots
- English Trailer
The “special features” present in this release are just the Japanese TV/theatrical trailers and the English trailer for the movie… which you could probably search up YouTube. It’s not much, but most home releases rarely have amazing special features to begin with, so it would be silly to trash Disotek’s release based on that alone (especially since it was the same for the Japanese release as well)… though I always appreciate a couple of interviews or making-of videos if possible. Personally, the English trailer is great enough as an extra feature, because of the DRAMA
“Sakooooora Avalon wasn’t looking for danger… BUT IT WAS LOOKING FOR HEEEER”
“Now to save her friends ONE GIRL MUST FULFILL HER DESTIIIINY”
Hoo boy. I used to hate the dub, but now… well, I still hate it, but now I think it has a special place in this world. All the way over there.
Overall, while it could have been better considering I had to wait a whole month after the remastered DVD release to get the Blu-ray version, Discotek’s release of the movie is pretty good. I mean, if you’re a gigantic fan of English dubs then it’ll probably suck for you, since the English dub on this release is from the worse CCS dub possible. But, to be all honest, I personally don’t care that much about English dubs, especially when it comes to CCS, and I really believe that chunk of the anime fandom is insignificant when it comes to Cardcaptor Sakura. Yes, I’d love to see an English dub on the level of Bang Zoom’s rendition of the second movie, but that’s more of a bonus to me rather than a necessity. I’m proud to have this displayed on my shelf, along with my Blu-ray set of the TV series by NISA.
Also, consider the fact that this only cost me around $18 (pre-ordered this on RightStuf during a sale, now it’s $22.46 there). The Japanese release of the Blu-ray usually sells for about ¥6000, which is approximately $50. Considering how much of a bargain it is in comparison to the Japanese release, all the minor gripes I have about the cover and such are insignificant.
Now all Discotek needs to do is LICENSE THE SECOND MOVIE TO COMPLETE MY BLU-RAY SET (not counting the specials). I’m tossing my money at you guys. Make me proud.