DVD Title
Incident at Blood Pass
International Title
Incident at Blood Pass
DVD Length Original Length
117 Minutes 117 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
AnimEigo 2005
Language Subtitles
Japanese English
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
2.35:1 (Anamorphic) 2.0 Mono
Extras
.
Menus (English)
.
Chapters (16)
.
Trailers: Incident at Blood Pass, Samurai Assassin, Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell, Zatoichi the Outlaw, Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman, Lady Snowblood
.
Filmographies (English, 8 in total)
.
Character Biographies (English, 10 in total)  
.
Program Notes (English)
.
Complete Film Credits (English)
Captures
Review

AnimEigo has lost their quality control. At one time, I looked forward to each new disc from the company. Granted, the extras they stock their releases with was always lacking, but their dedication to the video presentation was really something to behold. Those days are dead, though, and Incident at Blood Pass is a taste of what they have become. This disc is a real haphazard release, featuring a very sloppy video presentation that would have felt more at home on a bootleg. Thankfully, the audio presentation here fares much better, but can't really save this disc as it's also coupled with AnimEigo's sparse selection of extras.


 Video: Star Rating

Oh how far the once mighty have fallen. AnimEigo, a company that once could be regarded with praise in comparison to other companies in this area, has been reduced to the lowest denominator of those who still release Toho's films. To say that the video presentation on this disc is lacking is an understatement. This is a company that I know can do better. One that used to pride themselves on their restoration techniques, but have now reduced themselves to releasing films onto DVD with a minimal amount of effort placed into them.

To break it down, it's really hard to give this disc much credit at all in this area. The colors here, for example, are incredibly washed out, with reds having a hue closer to brown. Furthermore, the entire film is discolored as well, sporting a rather unpleasant yellow tint. The brightness level has also been adjusted too low either, either to try and mask some of the disc's lesser points or a problem with the source material. A lot of the night scenes here are incredibly hard to make out on account of this, and a lot of details are lost on the viewer during these scenes. Digital inconsistencies are present too, although not to the extent of the other problems. The film does look a little blurred, but this appears to have more to do with the print used than edge enhancement. Shimmering, a rainbow band of colors on fine details, does appear once or twice here. It's most easily spotted on some scenes that feature forests in the distant background, but, thankfully, doesn't pop up enough to become distracting.

As for the condition of the print, it's safe to say that no real attempt at restoration was made for this release. Scratches do appear here on occasion, while there is a layer of grain present through out; however, both of these aspects are partially covered up as the low brightness level does a fair job of masking this. The frame isn't stable either on this DVD, and tends to shake up and down during any scene that features text being displayed.

The sole compliment that could be made of the disc in this area is that, at least, the film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is also Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio:

The acceptable aspect of the disc, as the 2.0 mono track present is a faithful recreation of the source material. There generally aren't any inconsistencies to be found here, as the entire tracks runs without any pops or crackles, while the dialogue is very clear. Masaru Sato's brilliant score for the film does sound a little flat, but one can't really expect much from a mono presentation. As always, more options, like an added stereo track, would have been nice, but what is included here is adequate enough.

As with other AnimEigo titles, the audio track is accompanied by, removable, English subtitles which are color coded to show when more than one character is talking. There is also a second set of subtitles that can be turned on to provide definitions for certain words related to Japanese culture, such as "Yojimbo: Bodyguard."


 Extras: Star Rating

Nothing out of the ordinary here, if one is familiar with this company's releases. The selection of trailers on this disc, while the quality of the trailers themselves is often lacking, is at least numerous. Trailers from Samurai Assassin, Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell, Zatoichi the Outlaw, Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman, Lady Snowblood and this film are the ones present. It should be noted that the film's own trailer, while featuring numerous inconsistencies such as discoloring and obvious print damage, is actually presented better here than the movie on this disc, which is a little dishearting to say the least.

The other extras are text based and, while numerous, aren't all that interesting to behold. If one enjoys brushing up on the history of the time period, the program notes included might make an interesting read though, and there is an astounding 48 screens worth here. It's all fairly generic though, so those looking for information more directly related to this picture, or its director, will be disappointed. The other supplemental material includes 8 filmographies, which are only a list of the actors/actresses film credits, and 12 character biographies.


 Overview: Star Rating

Bottom line, upon first inserting this disc I was reminded more of the legion of sub par region 0 Toho discs on the market than anything AnimEigo had done before. Sadly, AnimEigo isn't compensating the consumer here. Where as region 0s retail for around $5, AnimEigo is still charging $25-30 per DVD. A shame, as Incident at Blood Pass really does deserve better. If one has an interest in the movie, then this is still a reasonable way to view the film, although it would be highly advisable to hunt it down at a heavily marked down price.

This disc is also featured in the box set: Toshiro Mifune: The Ultimate Collection.

- Anthony Romero  
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