DVD Title
Onmyoji II
International Title
Onmyoji II
DVD Length Original Length
113 Minutes 112 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Geneon/Pioneer 2004
Language Subtitles
Japanese, English English
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
1.85:1 (Anamorphic) 5.1 Surround
Extras
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Menus (English)
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Chapters (20)
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Trailers: Onmyoji II (4 Teasers, #1, #2, and the US trailer), Onmyoji (US trailer) 
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TV Spots:  Onmyoji II (2 in total)
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Making Onmyoji II (64 minutes) 
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Filmographies: Mansai Nomura, Hideaki Ito, Kyoko Fukada, Kiichi Nakai, Eriko Imai, Yojiro Takita
Captures
Review
Pioneer's second Toho release, or, more appropriately, Geneon's first. The sequel to Yojiro Takita's Onmyoji (2001) has still been manufactured by the same firm, but they have changed their name from Pioneer Entertainment to Geneon, although the parent company name has been left unchanged. Putting the slightly confusing name change behind, how does this effort stack up? Well, ignoring the fact that the cover looks like it belongs to a pirated copy (with a very grainy and slightly pixilated appearance) and that the main menu is so blurry it almost hurts to look at it, Geneon actually did a respectable job with this release. Granted, the video presentation is lacking some, but the disc makes up for it with a great audio presentation and a wealth of extras; however, it still falls short of their Onmyoji last year.

 Video: Star Rating

Onmyoji II's video presentation, while acceptable, is lacking in a few regards. Chief among them is the brightness level in the film, which is far too low. Because of this, some scenes, like where Susa-no-o and Genkaku are standing atop a roof to spy the ruined city, are incredibly difficult to make out. Surprisingly, the brightness level on the trailers is set at just the right level, and the contrast between the two is remarkable, if not disheartening due to the fact that the movie wasn't handled as well. The colors on this release could also have stood to be more vibrant, as they appear slightly muted in terms of contrast with a slight brown tint to everything. In terms of digital inconstancies, there is some slight artifacting noticeable, and the print could have stood to be a little sharper, but all in all it won't distract from the viewing experience.

In terms of the shape of the print used for the transfer, which is the film's original Japanese version, it appears to be in very good shape, with no visible scratches on the print and very little noticeable grain. The film's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 is maintained on this DVD, and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio:
Unlike the video presentation, the two audio tracks found on the disc are more or less faultless. The DVD has two audio tracks in total: a 5.1 surround Japanese track and a 5.1 surround English dubbed track. The Japanese audio track tends to sound better (not just because the dubbing job for the English track is wretched either) because the English track was recorded so low on the disc, for some reason. In terms of the surround presentation, there is some nice distinction used in the various speakers, with roars and explosions making use of the 5.1 presentation. However, it isn't nearly as defined as other Toho releases that have already been released, such as Tristar's Godzilla 2000. The Japanese track here is accompanied by, removable, English subtitles.

 Extras: Star Rating

The extra portion of this disc is where Geneon's efforts really shine. The most noteworthy extra on the disc is, far and away, the "Making Onmyoji II" feature, which is an astounding 64 minutes long. The feature tracks the production of the film, from beginning to end of the 16 month production period, and also has nice interviews with the cast and filmmakers as the feature progresses. Unfortunately, the audio presentation during the feature gets very scratchy whenever the volume reaches a certain level, making it almost suggestible to mute it during some portions, like when they are filming the battle scenes.

Also included on the disc are a collection of filmographies (Mansai Nomura, Hideaki Ito, Kyoko Fukada, Kiichi Nakai, Eriko Imai, and Yojiro Takita) that provide some insight into the actors, although mostly they just list a select number of the actors'/director's previous film credits. The disc also comes with a wealth of trailers on it, all six of Onmyoji II's trailers, in fact, along with a US trailer for the film and Pioneer's US trailer for Onmyoji (2001) as a added bonus. As previously mentioned, the quality on these trailers, save the two US ones, is actually better than the film itself on this disc.


 Overview:

Bottom line, the disc falls short in a few areas, but overall is still a worthwhile release for those who are interested in the Onmyoji series.

This disc is also featured in the DVD box set: Onmyoji DVD Collection.

-Anthony Romeros
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