Wicked City (Yôjû Toshi) (1987)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Trailer-Street Fighter Alpha, Blood
Easter Egg-Original Japanese Trailer
|Year Of Production||1987|
|Running Time||85:08 (Case: 82)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
Japan Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Throughout history, humans have occasionally encountered people from a parallel dimension known as the Black World. The majority of people from both sides wish to live in harmony and exchange information and ideas but unfortunately misunderstandings and bloody fights between the worlds have broken out in the past. To stop these problems between the worlds, representatives from both sides negotiated a peace treaty. Every few centuries, this treaty is renewed and peace between the worlds continues.
At the end of the twentieth century, the treaty between both worlds is to be renewed again but terrorists from the Black World wish to disrupt the signing. Two Black Guards - Renzaburo Taki (a human) and Makie from the Black World - are assigned to protect the treaty's key signatory Giuseppi Mayart. The Black Guards are an elite group that police the interaction between the worlds and keep the peace. With only twenty four hours before the signing of the treaty, the terrorists will force Taki and Makie to continually battle to keep Mayart safe.
This is a well-written film with a solid story and solid character development making it an excellent example of this genre of animation. It was directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri who also directed Ninja Scroll, and was originally intended to have a running time of just over half an hour. Towards the completion of this project, the running time was extended to approximately eighty minutes. Surprisingly, the numerous scenes added throughout the movie are very well-integrated and do not disrupt the flow of the film at all. Credits for both the English 2.0 and 5.1 mixes are provided at the end of the movie but the original Japanese credits are not included.
The Full Frame transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, keeping the original framing. It is not 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer is quite soft throughout, but due to the style of animation used this is to be expected. Some minor low level noise can be seen during many of the dark scenes, with examples visible at 45:50 and 57:11. One of the major problems with this transfer is the black level. Blacks are consistently presented as a dark gray and at no stage are they totally black. This can be annoying to the viewer, as the numerous fade-to-black transitions and darkly-lit scenes never become black. Both the poor blacks and the minor low level noise appear to be source material limitations and not a transfer problem. A small amount of grain is visible throughout the transfer.
The colour palette used in this film is rather minimal with the characters and most scenes rendered in muted grays, greens and browns. In contrast to these minimal colours, high levels of both red and blue are used when characters from the Dark World are present. During scenes with high levels of intense colour, some chroma noise is present and is slightly distracting to the viewer. Examples of this can be seen at 5:32, 11:38, 47:55 and 72:52.
No MPEG artefacts or aliasing were visible during the transfer.
This transfer does show regular film artefacts but these are quite small and not distracting to the viewer. Due to the age of the materials involved, these artefacts are to be expected. Examples of film damage can be seen at 2:15, 10:02, 12:45 and 68:20.
An unusual artefact that is present during the transfer appears as parts of backgrounds pulsating, appearing to slightly zoom in and out again. This does not appear for the total frame but only for select parts of the frame. Specific examples of this can be seen at 3:40, 13:51, 21:55 and 23:44. This artefact is quite distracting but does seem to be present in the source material and not as a result of the encoding.
The English subtitles presented on this disc are clear and easy to read. As I do not speak Japanese I am unable to comment on their accuracy but they do differ significantly to both the English audio tracks provided.
Each of the audio tracks is constantly clear and easy to understand but all of the tracks provide slightly different scripts. When compared to the subtitles, the English 2.0 mix is closer to the original than the 5.1 mix. The sentence structure and cultural references found in the English 2.0 mix are closer to the original Japanese mix, and it does seem to match the animation more than the slightly Westernized 5.1 mix. Both of the English tracks are performed by different voice actors, but the performances on the 5.1 mix seem to better match the on-screen characters. Ideally, I would have liked to have had the 2.0 English script performed by the actors used in the 5.1 mix. It should also be noted that the 5.1 mix also slightly changes some details given in both the Japanese and English 2.0 mixes. Examples of these changes include a character's age and the time taken to reach a specific location. These changes do not affect the storyline at all and there is no obvious reason for the alteration. While each of these mixes is slightly different, each is of high quality and sure to satisfy both fans of subs or dubs.
As this is an animated feature there are obvious sync issues present in all audio mixes. At no stage during the transfer were any dropouts detected in any of the audio tracks.
The 5.1 mix is highly focused across the front three channels and does not make any real use of the surround channels. Neither the Japanese nor English 2.0 tracks have the surround flag enabled. The subwoofer is used minimally to support both music and effects.
|Surround Channel Use|
The video quality is not of reference quality but considering the age of the film and the quality of the source materials the transfer is acceptable.
The audio selections provided on this disc will appeal to both fans of subtitles and English tracks.
There are minimal extras provided but the interview with Yoshiaki Kawajiri is interesting and informative.
|DVD||Toshiba 1200, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Front left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)|
|Speakers||Front left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259|