Dear Viz Media: I Love You, but…

March 15, 2010 — Leave a comment

You guys really REALLY need to work on what you call “Special Features”. It’s been a long time coming, but the review I sent to Amazon.com of Linda Linda Linda never showed up, even though I was reviewing the material in the DVD and even making suggestions… so it was a valid write-up.

Last time I bought something in Amazon.com, my order included a copy for the Viz Media release for Tetsuya Nakashima’s Kamikaze Girls (Shimotsuma Monogatari) and Linda Linda Linda by Nobuhiro Yamashita.

Where to start?

Well, let’s begin with Linda Linda. I understand listing “Director & Cast” information as special feature, and I can even consider your “Culture Tips” feature which was more like a Glossary of terms explaining Japanese festivals and other words. I even get it’s kind of okay to list “Original Trailers” as a feature.

But why is “Viz Pictures Presents” a feature? That’s just random propaganda for YOUR benefit.

And… as much good intention the “The Blue Hearts Audio FAQ” feature had, why should I even care about the commentary by Patrick Macias. I even feel less otaku for even complaining about it.

What could have been awesome on the Linda Linda release? Well, for fans of the film [and those who have listened to the FAQ on the DVD] it would have been awesome to get a sing-along version of the three main songs: Linda Linda, Boku no Migite and Owaranai Uta. You know, since Mr. Macias is already suggesting learning the lyrics and singing the songs in a Karaoke bar in Japan.

How about a Stills Gallery feature? Or a Trivia Page? A Trivia Page would be useful to actually confirm some of the information that runs online, like the one that said Yu Aoi was original cast in the film, but had to back out at the last minute?

Technical:★★★★☆ 
Video Quality:★★★★☆ 
Audio Quality:★★★¾☆ 
Extras:★☆☆☆☆ 
Packaging:★★☆☆☆ 
Overall:★★★☆☆ 

And how about Kamikaze Girls?

Well, let me get this started by saying that I was BUMMED! to find out that the “16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen” tag not only on the DVD case, but also on Amazon.com was there for nothing, because the film was actually transferred as Letterbox! Not even the menus on the DVD were designed as 16:9, so the film looks like crap on my television.

However, I must add that a couple of the features included on this DVD were kind of nice… meaning the Kyoko Fukada/Anna Tsuchiya interviews. There is also the “Sideways Mode” feature which lets you click on a cabbage during the film for Trivia… which I guess, it’s okay? An Anna Tsuchiya Music Video, where she looks a LOT like Alejandra Guzman, and your ever-there Original Japanese Trailers.

No cheap Extras improvement tips on this one.

Technical:★★☆☆☆ 
Video Quality:★☆☆☆☆ 
Audio Quality:★★★★☆ 
Extras:★★☆☆☆ 
Packaging:★★☆☆☆ 
Overall:★★½☆☆ 

In the end, who is the one that matters? The one that just buys DVD coz they’re cheap, or the true fans that have waited for the release of the film? Fans of the films demand better Special Features! We are already in the know about some Japanese customs that don’t need reminding on our DVDs.

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