Saturday, September 21, 2013

Widescreen DragonBall Z...Again

Gather 'round young'ns and Old Man Gozar will tell you a story. Once upon time, way back in the year 2007, FUNimation Entertainment made the bone-headed decision to take DragonBall Z and crop its aspect ratio to 16:9. Naturally this resulted in 20% of the picture being lost. Now, here we are, 6 years later and on the cusp of 2014 FUNimation is planning on revisiting this travesty to animation via a new Blu-ray release. The end.

I'm not sure if I should be more upset with FUNimation for doing this or with their fans for requesting it. If you recall, this past summer, FUNimation posted up a survey asking people their opinions about a potential Blu-ray release of DragonBall Z. One of the questions that they posed was whether the survey takers would prefer this release to be in its proper 4:3 (Fullscreen) aspect ratio or in a cropped 16:9 (Widescreen) aspect ratio. Clearly the masses have spoken. While I understand that FUNimation is still a business, are they making the correct decision even from a purely business standpoint? It is clear that this decision to present DBZ in 16:9 again is going to alienate a portion of the fan base. At this point in time, anyone who is a fan of DragonBall for more than mere internet memes and Toonami nostalgia should have a certain level of respect for the film's integrity. I myself am a part of this group of people and like a massive fraction of this group, I will not be purchasing this release for the sole reason that the footage will be cropped. Needless to say, FUNimation will be losing a great deal of sales due to this decision. On the other hand, how many people out there who want DragonBall Z on Blu-ray will actually pass it up if it were to be presented in its original and correct 4:3 aspect ratio? I can't imagine that this number would surpass those who will not be purchasing these releases based on it being in 16:9. But even if it were, I pose this question: Is that the type of fan that you want to cater to as a business?

In addition to the loss of film integrity, there's one other simple fact that FUNimation and their 16:9 supporting fans seem to be overlooking. Most widescreen TVs feature the ability to stretch or zoom the image to fill the entire screen. While zooming the image may not be as effective as the Pan and Scan technique that FUNimation will be using, if you're the type of fan that doesn't care about losing 20% of the picture anyway, I highly doubt that you'll care how the image fills the screen. Even more-so, I think what may make FUNimation not want fans to have to zoom the image is the fact that a portion of the subtitles may be cut off at times. Well, I've got news for anyone who shares in that opinion. If YouTube is any basis of the "general fan base" (And you can bet it is), the people who actually want DragonBall Z in 16:9 are not watching the series in Japanese. They're watching the Dub and then making their way over to YouTube clips of the Japanese version with the sole intention of flaming it.

I understand that not everyone views animation as an "art." I also understand that there are many who only view products along the lines of Ghibli Films to be artistic. But in my eyes, while there is a clear difference in animation quality between the DragonBall Z TV Series and "Laputa," any drawing on a professional level deserves enough respect to not have the top and bottom of it chopped off.

Ultimately, I know that some will just view this article as an angry nerd ranting. But I hope that I have at least compelled some of you to not purchase this product.

2 comments:

  1. Not buying it lol Not only because I don't have a blu-ray player either >_> People, as I say, just need to leave shit alone and leave it intact/in its original format.

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  2. Unfortunately, FUNimation has already started to follow the mainstream. For example, picking up "Fujiko Mine" as their first Lupin release in 7 years rather than the Green Jacket series (Thank you Discotek). "Fujiko Mine" is all of the clichés of modern anime wrapped into one and they didn't waste a second to get their hands on it. Now FUNimation is more interested on what is popular streaming or what is brand new rather than classic series (Again, thank you Discotek).

    It really makes me mad when FUNimation continues to use Dragonball as a test subject when other series are left in their integrity. Why would they even bother pulling this crap again? Wasn't the Dragon Box release their way of saying "Hey, we know the orange bricks looked like shit so here's the real footage." It was like by releasing the Dragon Boxes they were sending a message that they were going to cater more towards the real fans and treat DragonBall like One Piece or the other many series they release but then they just take another 10 steps back. They're sending mixed signals and one of those is "Who cares? Its Dragon Ball, it'll sell even if we put it in black and white".

    Between Walmart exclusive "Best of"s and cropped footage at dirt cheap prices, just where is FUNimation taking this series? Do we even want them to have it anymore? As much as I love DBZ merchandise I'd rather there be nothing new coming out for awhile than these releases that make a mockery of one of my most beloved series.

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