So here it is midnight as I type this, and I’ve a mind to jump in the car, drive clear across Houston, and pound on Sentai Filmworks front door. I am seriously cheezed off right now.
I did my part, as mentioned in the last post — I paid good, hard money for three series that I had already seen in fansubs. Since I don’t have a BD player yet (consumer electronics, other than computers are generally low on my “must have” list–I only got a 43″ HDTV a few months ago), I am getting a lower resolution (480i vs 720p), but can live with that. Not easily on a 43-incher, but ok. The order came in today from Robert, and I decided to watch a little late evening anime after housework. Ah, the bachelor life.
I popped open the case to Infinite Stratos, brought over by Sentai, and got a pleasant surprise. Not only did they include the show (well duh), but they included the soundtrack CD and and a bonus DVD with extras. Not much, but it had the clean opening/closing and a radio show (that they filmed) featuring Houki’s, Rin’s, and Cecilia’s seiyuu. (Houki’s is cute, but I’m biased by the character, I think.) Sadly, no sign of Laura’s. They also had an interview with the director done by Charlotte’s seiyuu and some behind the scenes footage of them doing the CGI, which was cool and I want to talk about that later because it needs pictures.
Not only that, but the first thing I saw on opening the box was a little four-page leaflet with the romanized lyrics to each of the songs. I popped the CD into the computer and listened for a bit. There’s ten tracks, but I didn’t need five of them to be the ED song by each of the female cast. The other five are all different, and again, Houki’s is my favorite — although Laura’s is intriguing; it sounds like ELO doing Wagner on a synth. (The mind boggles).
All in all, I thought, a pretty good package to help dispel Sentai’s reputation for cheap, no-frills sets. Looking at the label, I saw that they’d included the OVA too. Nothing awesome, but more than I expected. Then I moved on to the DVD.
I noticed right away, something was amiss. Or rather, missing. Like the left and right side of the picture.
That’s right, the DVD is in 4:3. The series was definitely broadcast in 16:9; those files were among the ones I was able to recover after last winter’s virus, and I checked. Sentai included the frippery, and skimped on the basics. As if licensing crap and overextending ADV wasn’t bad enough, Ledford’s peddling for profit an inferior product when I could get much better for free. So, I just paid $40 for the soundtrack CD is how I look at it. I like the show; it’s a cut above the usual harem crap, even if it’s not all it could be… but I cannot recommend this series to anyone, given the poor value.
Seriously, is the anime industry TRYING to drive me into the arms of fansubbers?
Update: And after all that, it might be the DVD player after all… maybe. It does appear to be 16:9, but the DVD player insists its 4:3 and won’t even let me activate 16:9. Other DVD’s play widescreen with no problem, so either my DVD is flaky or the discs are miscoded and my computer just ignores it.