Region 4 Winners and Losers

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Explanatory Notes
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Title Best
KwaidanR4

    The immediate direct competition to this release is the US Region 1 disc from Criterion. The Criterion has the shorter cut and a colour scheme that looks a lot more blue than the Region 4. My personal preference is for the Region 4, as the flesh tones look far more natural, while the Criterion's colour appears boosted and over-saturated. The Criterion also has a lot of film artefacts, with plenty of flecks and tramline scratches. The audio on the Region 4 sounds better as well, though that may be because the Region 1 has a 1.0 configuration. As extras the Region 1 has just an original trailer and an insert with an essay about the film.

    While the Region 4 sweeps the board at the time of writing, an upcoming May release from the UK outfit Masters of Cinema will also contain the complete version, transferred in NTSC format so there will be no PAL speed-up. It will contain a text interview with the director (the last interview he gave) in a substantial booklet also including the original stories on which the film was based. A screen caps comparison at DVD Beaver suggests that the visual quality is on par with the Region 4. So the Region 2 will probably win out on the extras, but as the Region 4 is easier to obtain and costs less than $25 it hardly pales in comparison.