Saturday, September 21, 2013
Widescreen DragonBall Z...Again
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.