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Importing Japan BD exclusives. Please share your thoughts/experiences...


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#1 of 37 OFFLINE   chris_clem

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Posted March 22 2008 - 09:10 PM

I just recently stumbled across this site:

Japan Blu-Ray Disc Movies

They seem to have a lot of Blu-ray's (Of US films) that are only available in Japan (like Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind). I know that US and Japan are both region A so I know I can play them on my PS3 but how is the quality on these movies?

If you have ever imported any of these, are they truly HD? How is the PQ/SQ (On par with other BD's that are readily available?)?

Thanks to anyone who can shed some light on this....

#2 of 37 OFFLINE   Jari K

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Posted March 22 2008 - 11:15 PM

I believe the quality is equal to the US-releases, at least when it comes to the "major studios". Many are also "region free" (see more info e.g. here: Blu-Ray Region Code Info ). Then again, I can´t of course fully confirm every release, since the only Japanese Blu-ray that I´ve is "Black Rain", which has some exclusive extras (in Japanese only).

Some Japanese-releases can indeed have some "exclusive" audio-tracks or extras even. Or they´re just "exclusive" Blu-ray-releases..

Example:
*Danny The Dog" ( Whiggles.com version 9 )

The downside of course is, that like with the SD DVDs, the prices are quite high in Japan. Posted Image

#3 of 37 OFFLINE   Jari K

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Posted March 22 2008 - 11:57 PM

Some reviews of the Japanese Blu-ray-releases:

*A Bridge Too Far (MGM):
DVD Talk Review: A Bridge Too Far (Blu-ray)

*Avalon (2001) (Bandai Visual):
Avalon - Blu-ray

*Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid:
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - Blu-ray Paul Newman Robert Redford

*Ghost in the Shell (Bandai Visual):
Blu-ray Review: Ghost in the Shell (Japanese Import) | High-Def Digest

*Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Buena Vista):
DVD Talk Review: Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Blu-ray)
AND
Ghost in the Shell: Innocence - Blu-ray

*Iblard jikan (2007):
Iblard jikan - Blu-ray

*Independence Day:
Independence Day - Blu-ray Will Smith Bill Pullman

*Jin-Roh:
Jin-Roh - Blu-ray

*Patlabor: The Movie:
Patlabor - Blu-ray

*Patlabor 2: The Movie:
Patlabor 2 - Blu-ray

*Patlabor Movie 3: WXIII:
WXIII Patlabor - Blu-ray

*Producers, The (2005):
The Producers Blu-ray review at AVForums.com

*Ronin:
Ronin - Blu-ray Robert De Niro

*Scary Movie 4:
Blu-ray Review: Scary Movie 4 (Japanese Import) | High-Def Digest

*SOS! Tokyo Metro Explorers: The Next:
Shin SOS dai Tôkyô tankentai - Blu-ray

#4 of 37 OFFLINE   chris_clem

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Posted March 23 2008 - 04:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jari K
I believe the quality is equal to the US-releases, at least when it comes to the "major studios". Many are also "region free" (see more info e.g. here: Blu-Ray Region Code Info ). Then again, I can´t of course fully confirm every release, since the only Japanese Blu-ray that I´ve is "Black Rain", which has some exclusive extras (in Japanese only).

Some Japanese-releases can indeed have some "exclusive" audio-tracks or extras even. Or they´re just "exclusive" Blu-ray-releases..

Example:
*Danny The Dog" ( Whiggles.com version 9 )

The downside of course is, that like with the SD DVDs, the prices are quite high in Japan. Posted Image


Thanks for all the info! I think I'll see if I can find 3 or more "must haves" and then I'll give importing a try.

#5 of 37 OFFLINE   Phil Menard

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Posted March 23 2008 - 10:22 AM

I've received the Transporter set on BR from Japan and it looks much better than the US BR (different codec?). Plus they are the International versions with a little more violence in the fights which was cut to make them PG-13 stateside.




Edit: Spelling.

#6 of 37 OFFLINE   Viper

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Posted March 23 2008 - 02:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Menard
I've received the Transporter set on BR from Japan and it looks much better than the US BR (different codec?). Plus they are the Internation versions with a little more violence in the fights which was cut to make them PG-13 stateside.

Woah. There's an alternate cut of those?

#7 of 37 OFFLINE   stephen^wilson

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Posted March 23 2008 - 11:29 PM

I recieved the japanese blu-ray of Danny The Dog (Unleashed) the other day and watched it last night.I thought the picture PQ was excellent and some really nice extras in there as well.The only downside to the disc is that there are no english subtitles during the french speaking parts in the making of documentary and during a short interview with Jet Li conducted at the time of the film japanese release.Other than that i would highly recommend it.

#8 of 37 OFFLINE   stephen^wilson

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Posted March 24 2008 - 07:06 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Menard
I've received the Transporter set on BR from Japan and it looks much better than the US BR (different codec?). Plus they are the Internation versions with a little more violence in the fights which was cut to make them PG-13 stateside.

One question about the set.I can't remember if there are any parts of the first film that are in french.I dont think there are but if I'm wrong can you tell us if there are english subs for these parts?

#9 of 37 OFFLINE   Phil Menard

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Posted March 24 2008 - 09:20 AM

Stephen - As far as I can recall, the whole thing (Transporter) was in English. Even the French inspector. Oh wait, I think I remember one of the gendarmes yelling "Merde!" Ha ha...

Joe - Yes, there are alternate cuts for both Transporter films. You can check it out on dvdcompare.net if you'd like details.

#10 of 37 OFFLINE   stephen^wilson

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Posted March 24 2008 - 09:57 AM

lol yeah thanks,I dont need the subs for merde Posted Image

#11 of 37 OFFLINE   chris_clem

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Posted March 25 2008 - 07:15 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Menard
I've received the Transporter set on BR from Japan and it looks much better than the US BR (different codec?). Plus they are the Internation versions with a little more violence in the fights which was cut to make them PG-13 stateside.

I don't know if alternate scenes of the fight scenes are worth double dipping for but if you tell me that it has "alternate takes" of Shu Qi, I'm placing my order right away Posted Image

#12 of 37 OFFLINE   Phil Menard

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Posted March 25 2008 - 08:38 AM

Unfortunately - no more Shu Qi. Just more violence. Now I'm sad at the lost opportunity. Thanks a lot Chris!

As for Transporter 2, dvdcompare.com says, "The 'Uncut' version of the film is 24.5 seconds longer then the theatrical version and contains CGI improvements to special effects in the film. The difference between the "Theatrical" and "Uncut" release of the film can be analyzed over at Schnittberichte.com - Mehr als 3800 detaillierte Zensurberichte zu Filmen, Spielen, Comics, Serien und Musikvideos (German Website)." This time it's not only the violence, but a little more Kate Nauta on display!

#13 of 37 OFFLINE   Lyle_JP

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Posted March 26 2008 - 10:49 AM

The Japanese blu-ray of Casino Royale is fully uncut, containing all the footage cut to achieve a PG-13 rating in the states, and the footage cut from the UK version by the BBFC.

#14 of 37 OFFLINE   Jari K

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Posted March 26 2008 - 10:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyle_JP
The Japanese blu-ray of Casino Royale is fully uncut, containing all the footage cut to achieve a PG-13 rating in the states, and the footage cut from the UK version by the BBFC.

So does the Scandinavian and Australian -versions (meaning Blu-ray and "R-rated"). Just that those releases are probably a bit cheaper.. Posted Image German-release has also "R-rated"-version, but it´s missing English PCM-track.

Our comparison here:
Rewind @ www.dvdcompare.net - Casino Royale (Blu-ray) (2006)

#15 of 37 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted March 26 2008 - 11:53 AM

Hmmm... Avalon looks interesting. Is it actually a good film, not just yet-another anime inspired, live action, genre B-flick? How does it compare to anime features like Ghost in the Shell (same director), Akira and Pat Labor? I checked IMDB.com, and it gets a 6.7 rating there. Not enough quality reviews over on RottenTomatoes.com to help out. Too bad I probably can't rent it here to find out for myself -- well, maybe the DVD is available here, hmmm...

Thanks.

_Man_
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#16 of 37 OFFLINE   chris_clem

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Posted March 27 2008 - 04:33 PM

Just an update. It's the best time to get these imports now because they have a 20% off sale on everything....

Play-Asia.com Easter Egg: 20% off ALL in-stock items - Only until Monday, March 31st 2008

#17 of 37 OFFLINE   Jari K

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Posted March 27 2008 - 08:53 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris_clem
Just an update. It's the best time to get these imports now because they have a 20% off sale on everything....

Play-Asia.com Easter Egg: 20% off ALL in-stock items - Only until Monday, March 31st 2008

Are the lowered prices already visible or just in "check out"?

#18 of 37 OFFLINE   Jari K

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Posted March 27 2008 - 09:10 PM

Here are some specs that are confirmed in our site (by the visitors, by us, etc):

***Unleashed AKA Danny The Dog

Bluray ALL Japan - (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Extras:
"Making Of" - documentary (36:22 [French and English language])
"Making Of FX" - featurette (2:04)
Full Length Action Scenes:
- Jewelry Fight (2:52)
- Swimming Pool Fight (3:29)
- Final Fight 1 (2:22)
- Final Fight 2 (1:22)
Deleted Scene:
- I'm Bad (1:50)
- Blue Fight (0:44)
Collection Of Outtakes (3:25)
On Stage At Premiere: Jet Li (5:16 / Chinese Language)
"Baby Boy" by 'RZA' - music video (3:03)
"Danny The Dog" Theatrical Trailer (2:18)

Subtitles:English and Japanese

Aspect Ratio:2.35:1

Soundtrack(s):English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Notes:
-"Unrated" European Version 102:32 mins.
-Japanese Title - "Danny The Dog". Opening Title - "Danny The Dog".
-1080p transfer, using MPEG-4 AVC compression. Extras are in standard definition. Confirmed to be "R0".
-Extras have optional Japanese subtitles, except "Making Of FX", "Music Video" and "Trailer".


***U-571

Bluray ALL Japan - (GAGA)

Extras:
Audio Commentary by director Jonathan Mostow
Japanese Theatrical Trailer
Production Notes (Japanese text)
Cast and Crew Biographies (Japanese text)

Subtitles:Japanese

Aspect Ratio:1.78:1

Soundtrack(s):English TrueHD 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1

Notes:The transfer is open-matte.


***Happy Feet (NOTE: Exclusive PCM-track)

Bluray ALL Japan - (Warner Bros Home Entertainment)

Extras:
"As One Penguin Stops Tapping" -featurette (4:22 min)
"Behind the Scenes of Happy Feet" -featurette (13:02 min)
"Happy Feet in Japan" -featurette (in Japanese, no English subtitles - 11:49 min)
"Spanish Lesson" -featurette (5:09 min)
Deleted scenes (in 1080p, with introduction by director/co-writer/co-producer George Miller - 3 min):
-Mumble Meets a Blue Whale (3:21 min)
-A Happy Feet Moment (0:29 sec)
Fun & Games:
-"I Love to Singa" Looney Tunes cartoon short (8:06 min)
-"Dance Like a Penguin: Stomp to the Beat" -featurette (5:20 min)
Music videos:
-Prince: "The Song of the Heart" (3:00 min)
-Gia Farrell: "Hit Me Up" (3:21 min)
-Brittany Murphy: "Somebody to Love" (with introduction - 4:11 min)
Theatrical trailer (1:21 min)

Subtitles:English, and Japanese

Aspect Ratio:2.40:1

Soundtrack(s):English PCM 5.1 (4.6 Mbps)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (640 Kbps)
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 EX

Notes:Using VC-1 compression. Confirmed to be "R0". All extras are in English, except "Happy Feet in Japan".


***Black Rain - CE

Bluray ALL Japan - (Paramount)

Extras:
Audio commentary by director Ridley Scott
"Black Rain: The Script, The Cast" - featurette (20:23 min)
"Making The Film: Part 1" - featurette (28:39 min)
"Making The Film: Part 2" - featurette (9:16 min)
"Post Production" - featurette (12:25 min)
Theatrical Trailer (in 1080p - 2:24 min)
(exclusive Japanese extras - all in Japanese only)
"Interviews":
-actors Yuya Uchida ("Nashida"), Joji Shimaki (Sugai's Man), Guts Ishimatsu ("Katayama"), Shigeru Kôyama ("Ohashi"), and actress Miyuki Ono ("Miyuki") - 6:10 min
-actors Shigeru Kôyama ("Ohashi"), Jun Kunimura ("Yashimoto"), and actress Miyuki Ono ("Miyuki") - 7:15 min
-actors Guts Ishimatsu ("Katayama"), Yuya Uchida ("Nashida"), and Joji Shimaki (Sugai's Man) - 10:09 min
Featurette, inc. interviews from actress Miyuki Ono ("Miyuki"), actors Jun Kunimura ("Yashimoto") and Yuya Uchida ("Nashida") - 6:34 min
Featurette, inc. interviews from actress Miyuki Ono ("Miyuki"), actors Yuya Uchida ("Nashida"), Guts Ishimatsu ("Katayama"), Jun Kunimura ("Yashimoto") and Joji Shimaki (Sugai's Man) - 4:30 min
Featurette, inc. interviews from author Lily Franky, Shinya Ueda, actors Masaya Kato and Hikari Ôta - 9:43 min
"Actor Yusaku Matsuda audition" (in English - 0:46 sec)
Photo gallery (in 1080p - 2:50 min)

Subtitles:English, and Japanese

Aspect Ratio:2.40:1

Soundtrack(s):English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (640 Kbps)
English DTS ES 6.1 discrete (1.5 Mbps)
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1

Notes:Using MPEG-2 compression. All English based extras have optional English and Japanese subtitles (except Trailer). Exclusive Japanese extras have NO subtitles. Menus are in Japanese."

***Ultraviolet (exclusive ""Extended Cut")

Bluray A Japan - (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Extras:
Audio commentary by actress Milla Jovovich. (Optional Japanese subtitles)
UV Protection: The Making Of Ultraviolet: Four-Part Documentary (30:54 / 'Play All' option / Optional Japanese subtitles.) [480/60i]
- Part I: The Beginning (12:16)
- Part II: Turn Of The Wheel (7:16)
- Part III: Through The Lens (5:16)
- Part IV: Fighting Stance (5:30)
Previews:
- "Underworld: Evolution" (2:21) [1080/24p], "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" (1:45 / Forced Japanese subtitles) [480/60i] and "Coming To Blu-ray" (1:13 / Optional Japanese subtitles) [1080/24p]

Subtitles:English and Japanese

Aspect Ratio:1.85:1

Soundtrack(s):English PCM 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1

Notes:Using MPEG-2 compression. Confirmed to work in "Class A" and "Class B" players. (Packaging states disc is "A" only).
If you want subtitles for the foreign language parts, you have to manually turn them on and off.
No Cuts - "Extended Cut" 94:27 mins.

#19 of 37 OFFLINE   chris_clem

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Posted March 28 2008 - 04:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jari K
So does the Scandinavian and Australian -versions (meaning Blu-ray and "R-rated"). Just that those releases are probably a bit cheaper.. Posted Image German-release has also "R-rated"-version, but it´s missing English PCM-track.

Our comparison here:
Rewind @ www.dvdcompare.net - Casino Royale (Blu-ray) (2006)

What region do those fall under?

The great thing about the Japanese imports is that unlike DVD, US and Japan actually fall under the same region (A)! (I do have DVD players that play all regions but for Blu-ray I only have a US PS3)

#20 of 37 OFFLINE   Jari K

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Posted March 28 2008 - 09:49 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris_clem
What region do those fall under?

As you can see from the comparison, they´re "R0". Many Blu-ray-releases are actually "R0".


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