My copy of the French Blu-ray release of Paprika arrived today from FNAC. Time didn’t permit me to actually sit down and watch the whole thing, but I have a few preliminary observations to make.
First of all, this disc features no less than nine audio tracks (Japanese PCM, and Japanese, French, English, German, Czech, Italian, Spanish and Polish Dolby Digital) and 24 subtitle tracks. This, combined with the fact that the disc is multi-region and displays an FBI logo if your player’s default language is set to English, strongly suggests that Sony is planning to release the same disc throughout much of the world.
Second, for the first full-length 2D animated HD title I’ve picked up, the transfer is decidedly underwhelming. It’s an MPEG2 encode, and, while compression problems don’t appear to be too apparent based on my viewing of the opening 15 minutes, the image looks rather soft and filtered, lacking the crispness that I would have hoped for from an animated film produced entirely in the digital domain. Like many of the Studio Ghibli releases, it’s also windowboxed, needlessly throwing away several lines of resolution. I’m not sure why this practice seems to be so widespread with anime films, but it’s a very annoying one and I wish the companies wouldn’t do it.
As for the film - let’s just say it hasn’t grabbed me yet. I’m going to sit down with it at some point this weekend and give it my full concentration, but my initial impressions suggest that my various esteemed commenters were right.
Oh yeah, and Sony has announced a few new Blu-ray titles for release in the US on September 25th, including Black Book and the extended cut of Underworld. I’ve already got the German HD DVD release of Underworld, due out on September 3rd, pre-ordered, and that will remain the case, since the early bird catches the worm, but I’m all over Black Book, which, in addition to being an extremely engaging film, looked a little underwhelming in its UK DVD release from Tartan.