The Truth Behind Anime Blu-rays

In such a rapid-technology improving world, it effects a lot of things on a grand scale, and certainly anime is one of them. In the past, we watched anime through tapes or TV, and now, we watch anime through DVDs or Blu-rays.

Blu-rays are of top tier quality currently, managing to hold up to 1080p HD content. They also scan images in progressive format, different from DVDs, which project images in an interlaced format. Progressive scan images are definitely clearer and sharper, so this pulls Blu-rays an obvious win.

Patently obvious, Blu-rays also have much more storage capacity then DVDs have, able to store up to around 25gb compared to the DVD’s seemingly tiny 4.7gb. One doesn’t require rocket science to understand that Blu-rays are superior, but are Blu-rays really all that good?

Aforementioned, the quick technology advancement of this world had effected a lot of things, and even anime falls victim to this “advancement.” Using the advantages of Blu-ray’s expensive prices, few jarring marketing strategies had been employed in order to pull buyers into purchasing these expensive looking discs; special unaired episodes, uncensored images, added contents, re-edited scenes and so on.

Blu-wraith: Of cause.. Everyone’s had their turn with me from recycle shop to recycle shop. I had been abused by so many players. Nobody would want to play this slutty Blu-ray.

Shinpachi: Sh-Should you really be so blue about nobody wanting to play you?

Gintoki: She’s a Blu-ray after all.

The biggest problem I see is that these types of marketing strategies, not only effected Blu-rays themselves but even on premiere TV. Take some violent anime for example, back then, the anime industry had no problem displaying bloody violence literally, with blood spraying everywhere and limbs getting cut off, major examples being School Days and Elfen Lied. Fast forward to the future, and we will take Mirai Nikki as an example. Those that watched the anime will notice that it censored almost everything, even a simple knife stab. In order to enjoy the anime without those “annoyances”, one will have to wait for the Blu-rays.

Of cause, those of the ecchi genre is a no brainer. By cunningly putting in “censors” like sunlights and silly icons, covering some bare spots, it skillfully teases the viewers, almost as if the staffs at the studios are sadistic in nature. Perverted people (good thing I’m not one of them perverts) will indefinitely be pulled into buying the Blu-ray versions, so that they could enjoy their anime in full-blown quality. Indeed, sometimes, studios like AT-X who aired their anime first-hand uncensored is actually an admirable thing to do.

The worst part is buying a re-release of an anime in Blu-ray, which there are not much of a change in the first place instead of being a HD with some very slightly added contents (could be just few mins long at best). It would be better if there’s a special episode but the values for these are quite questionable. A majority of them are ones which didn’t add much to the plot, and could be easily adapted in an OVA instead of re-releasing the whole show just to add these unnecessary contents. There are however, some excellent anime worth collecting their Blu-rays, and to top it off, their special episodes are ones which are more integrated into the plot, major examples being Steins;Gate and Persona 4.


As you can see, I have a very pessimistic opinion on Blu-rays, but of cause, it could be that I’m looking at things a bit too blue-y negatively. It could be that I’m overlooking the positive sides of Blu-rays as some re-releases are definitely worth collecting, especially for the Blu-ray reruns of old anime. Graphics had improved so much that it’s definitely worth an applause, and the visuals improvements shown in these old anime reruns are indeed noteworthy. There are also anime with very high visual content like Fate/Zero, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica and the Monogatari series, which are worthy buying their Blu-rays purely just from their visuals. For me though, it is disappointing that I couldn’t find any other benefits aside from that. What do you all think about anime Blu-rays?

This entry was posted by Kai.

12 thoughts on “The Truth Behind Anime Blu-rays

  1. Nice article. I actually love the crisp, clean picture quality of anime released on Blu-ray, and would love to see more. Unfortunately, due to fears of reverse importation (ex: Kadokawa releases) many titles that debut on blu-ray there are only formatted on DVD in the states:(

    • Blu-rays are certainly good with their incredibly detail and big resolution pictures. I guess that is another reason when they introduce bad marketing schemes. They don’t want people to download but with these kinds of marketing schemes, it just forces people to download instead.

  2. Blu-rays promise quality, but that delta is one you have to confirm for yourself. For example, the Madoka Blu-Rays were really nice: I could tell the frame rate change in the CGs used, and the motions were crisp and clearer than the TV version I had watched. But this is because they actually did polish up the source material. I wouldn’t buy Blu-rays purely on the promise of less steam, especially if they didn’t touch anything else.

    I could not imagine watching Redline on anything other than Blu-ray, either: the level of quality in the source material practically demands Blu-ray in order to see the little things.

    Neither of them had special episodes though, so I can’t comment on that.

    • That is certainly true, Madoka has unique, good visuals which are worth watching in blu-ray, and if the quality of the graphics actually did improve in blu-rays, then all the more so. There are certainly some anime which doesn’t touch up much on the source materials so I guess you just have to be careful.

      Interesting point indeed, I also think that anime with lots of animations and details would be much better when watched in blu-ray.

  3. While Blu-rays are nice for it’s capacity and image quality, I don’t really buy them besides for PS3 games since they are too expensive. I don’t know for R1 releases, but Japanese Blu-ray releases tend to be more expensive as they are collector items. For a college student like myself, I can’t really afford the incremental image quality increase and that none of the laptops in the house have Blu-ray drives in them. Plus, they have too much DRM compared to DVDs, although it’s been cracked on several occasions.

    • So far, except for FF XIII, all of my PS3 games are borrowed, lol. I’m still looking for Yakuza 3 though since from all the people I know here who owns a PS3, they don’t have. With blu-rays huge resolutions, I think it’s actually worth it to watch on a very large monitor instead of a laptop, since with such quality and high resolution, I bet it would even support the biggest of screen. Since it’s so expensive, it will be a bit waste to watch it on a laptop, unless you connected it to a LED TV or something. Though, I guess you can always buy an external blu-ray drive? It is certainly crackable but to me, blu-rays still has a really strict control.

  4. I have a lot of older anime on DVD but don’t plan to re-buy them on Blu-ray unless it’s a series I really like. For anime that are very visually stunning, like Madoka, Blu-ray is definitely the way to go. But for some less visual ones, like Azumanga Daioh, DVD quality is fine and I don’t think that’s one I would re-buy on Blu-ray if it was ever released. It just depends on how much I like the series and how much emphasis on visual style it has.

    • Yea, some old anime are certainly worth it. This is a good point indeed. Anime like Madoka and Fate/Zero I think it certainly worth it to buy blu-rays. True, most anime with very ordinary visuals style I think isn’t much worthy to buy blu-rays, now that when I think about it, I noticed anime nowadays like to pop-in random 3D scenes here and there, I wonder if there’s a strategy to lure in blu-ray buyers. Indeed, and I think that’s a good way of tackling blu-rays.

  5. Adantages of Blu-ray: Better visuals (even if it’s an upscale it still looks better than a DVD of that show because of the progressive scan and color adjustments), better audio (BDs have lossless audio while DVDs have lossy audio), more episodes per disc, same region for U.S. and Japan, better rendition of subtitles (they look sharper on BD).

    As for what you said about censored content being save for the BD, this content is usually also available for the DVD version. It’s true that this is a marketing strategy but it’s a marketing strategy to increase sales of DVD and BD. Either way we usually get a much cheaper price for these in the West than the ones in Japan so I wouldn’t complain about that.

    • Blu-rays certainly beat DVDs quality-wise. Better visuals, better sounds, more capacity, better subs and so on. It’s no doubt Blu-rays are certainly a powerful medium for watching anime then DVDs. I guess what I disliked are the “behind-the-scenes” marketing strategies regarding Blu-rays.

      You made a good point, certainly DVDs usually have such contents too. DVDs are just 480p however, so I’m not sure if buying the whole DVD sets just for the uncensored scenes are worth it. Hmmm.. well either way, I think I will be pumping my money in Blu-ray PS3 games instead.

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