DVD Title
 Portrait of Hell
International Title
 Portrait of Hell
Movie Length: 95 minutes Original Length: 95 minutes
Company: AnimEigo Release: 2006
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1Anamorphic: Yes
Region: 1Discs: 1
  
Language/Sound: Order
Japanese (2.0 Mono)
Subtitles:
English
Extras
·. Menus (English)
· Chapters (20, 10 Selectable)
· Trailers: Portrait of Hell (Teaser, Theatrical)
· Program Notes (English)
· Cast and Crew Bios (English)
Captures
Review
Anthony Romero

One has to hand it to AnimEigo for their continued efforts in releasing Toho's titles, as five years later after their introduction to the DVD format they have arisen to have released more Toho's films to region 1 then any other firm. Unfortunately, the quality of their titles has not vastly improved, ignoring their first few discs. They have certainly had their ups and downs in recent years, and while this disc is pretty good in terms of the movie's presentation, with good video quality and at least passable audio quality, it tends to skimp on extras like most of their titles do. Something that might be easier to overlook if the company didn't charge a premium for its releases.


 Video: Star Rating

This disc features a pretty good video presentation, with the most noticeable aspect being the richness of the film's colors. The print used for the transfer also looks to be in good shape, with no scratches to be seen and grain being minimal for most of the duration. Like some other transfers of Showa era films, though, the movie does suffer a little during scenes of super imposition, with noticeably more grain, some discoloring and even light flickering. Sadly, these types of scenes are all too common in Portrait of Hell, making these discrepancies even more noticeable then usual. Thankfully, the disc is at least devoid of overt signs digital inconsistencies, although the movie does look a little soft during some scenes and could have stood to be sharper.

Portrait of Hell is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio:

Sadly, this disc is another one where AnimEigo has not handled the audio presentation as well as they should have. This disc comes with only one track, which is a mono presentation of the film. Unfortunately, the track sounds harsh and scratchy at the higher audio levels, which is particularly noticeable during sequences of the movie's soundtrack. It should be assuring to know, though, that at least the dialogue is mostly unaffected, due to being much more subdued in terms of volume level when in contrast to the musical score.

The audio can be accompanied by, removable, English subtitles that are available in two options: the first is for all audio and text, and the second is for text in the film only. Like other discs from the firm, the subtitles are color coded so it's easy to tell when multiple characters are speaking during the same scene.


 Extras: Star Rating

If one has purchased one of AnimEigo's releases before, then there should be no surprise in the supplemental selection here. In total, there are the company's trademark Program Notes, which provide background information on the historical era that the film took place in, Cast and Crew Bios, which are more informative then usual, and finally two trailers of the film with the first being a very early teaser that shows director Shiro Toyoda with the cast. Also worth addressing is the fact that, for whatever reason, only half of the disc's chapters are actually selectable from a menu, with each being given a name like "1-2" or "19-20".

On a side note, I found AnimEigo's disclaimer on the back cover rather humorous. They do warn against violence in the film, which is expected, but also "philosophy", which is just bizarre.


 Overview:

Bottom line, if one is just looking to see the film, then this is a fairly good release despite some minor problems, as like most of AnimEigo's catalogue it tends to suffer the most from its lack of supplemental material.