Anime Exclusively On Blu-Ray?

 Paprika Blu-ray DVD

Written by Edward Zacharias

This might be old news for anyone who has a keen interest on the high-definition DVD format debate that seems to be pointing at the Blu-ray format as the clear winner. Beginning with Warner Bros making the announcement that they will be supporting Blu-ray rather than jumping on the HD-DVD format that is (in the opinion of many) slowly but surely to be heading into Betamax status This move seems to have given a big boost to the format chosen by Sony to be included in their PlayStation 3 console and sales for Blu-ray players are steadily increasing.

Should HD-DVD owners worry about the sudden shift in favor of Blu-ray? It’s probably still too early to tell but – in my opinion – I expect the format to fizzle sometime in the next few years. After all, it was director Michael Bay who picked the HD-DVD format for his mega blockbuster Transformers and snub the Blu-ray format entirely so there is some support for the format.

What exactly does this mean for anime fans? Well, currently the only high-def version of the wonderful anime movies Paprika and TEKKONKINKREET can be found on the Blu-ray format. Watching Paprika last night I was stunned by the clarity, the crispness of the animation and the colors that seem more vibrant than regular DVDs. In essence, Paprika on Blu-ray is an indication of how amazing future anime release will be on this format. Imagine a Blue-ray box set release of the complete Trinity Blood series? Imagine a full season of Fullmetal Alchemist or Blood + in high-definition?

Blu-ray also has a higher capacity than normal DVDs so the possibilities of juicy extras included for anime releases is enticing. Imagine, if you will, the complete Cowboy Bebop series in both its cut and uncut versions all on one disc? Imagine the second season of Bleach on Blu-ray with the ability to watch it in Spanish, French, German and Italian. There are dozens of different possibilities with this format. If you’re salivating at this prospect you are not alone.

Of course, Blu-ray movies are – at the moment – quite expensive but we can expect a change in price when the HD-DVD and Blu-ray format wars are finally over. The hefty price tag might be a turn-off for consumers who think most anime releases are a tad expensive to begin with so justifying the purchase of the $29.98 Blu-ray version of Death Note vol. 5 to a $19.98 version of the same volume might be a matter of how much you’re willing to spend on a difference in quality. Most likely, the high-definition versions will most likely reserved to box sets and collections of an entire series.

Either way, we are now in a digital age that is demanding a higher quality that only high-definition can bring and it’s only a matter of time when we will find our favorite series on Blu-ray (or HD-DVD) but make no mistake there will be a clear cut winner and my guess is that it will be Blu-ray.


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