DVD Title
Japan Sinks
International Title
Submersion of Japan
DVD Length Original Length
143 Minutes 143 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Toho 2003
Language Subtitles
Japanese Japanese
Region Number of Discs
2 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
2.35:1 (Anamorphic) 1.0 Mono, 5.1 Surround
Extras
.
Menus (Japanese)
.
Chapters (35)
.
Trailers: Submersion of Japan (Teaser, Trailer)
.
Audio Commentary with Sakyo Komatsu, Koji Hashimoto, Teruyoshi Nakano
.
Interview with Sakyo Komatsu
Captures
Review

An excellent DVD of one of Toho's most epic disaster flicks with a lovely transfer of the film and fairly decent extras, but the lack of subtitles will leave the very dialogue oriented film somewhat incomprehensible for non-Japanese speaking fans not familiar with the film's plot.


 Video:

The video is breathtaking with a few extremely minor flaws. The print is in tip-top shape with barely a scratch to be found. The MPEG-2 compression is also virtually unnoticeable and only the opening with the diagrams of the Earth's continents dividing (as well as the opening credits) are window-boxed, but again, it's not noticeable at all on a TV. If there's any very minor gripe I have with the DVD's quality, it's that the colors are just a smidgen on the muddy side and there is a tiny bit of grain noticeable in a few sequences (mainly the Tokyo earthquake scene).

The film is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is anamorphically enhanced for 16:9 TVs.


 Audio:

The audio is very nice. Included, for purists, is the original one channel mono soundtrack. It's sounds very clean. Also included is a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix of the soundtrack. Though of course not up to the quality of a modern film mixed in 5.1, it sounds quite good and luckily, unlike many 5.1 remixes on numerous DVDs of originally mono films (such as Simitar's old Godzilla DVDs), does not add any cheesy new stereo sound effects. It simply expands the range of the music and adds a bit of bass.

There are also a set of Japanese subtitles for the hearing impaired, but regrettably no English subtitles. Unfortunately The Submersion of Japan is more dialogue oriented than action oriented and thus really requires English subtitles for a non-Japanese speaking viewer to fully appreciate and understand the film.


 Extras:

The extras are good. First is an audio commentary with novelist Sakyo Komatsu (who also wrote the novels upon which ESPY, Virus and Bye-Bye Jupiter were based), assistant director Koji Hashimoto and special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano. As I do not speak much Japanese I can't review it. Also included are the teaser and theatrical trailers of the film and an interview with Komatsu and another figure, but again, since my Japanese is rusty it's difficult for me to review it. Overall the extras are nothing too incredible, but are quite decent and serviceable.


 Overview:

I would definitely recommend this DVD to the more die-hard Toho or disaster film enthusiast, however, due to the lack of subtitles, combined with the fact that the Submersion of Japan is heavy on the plot and dialogue, I think the more casual English speaking Toho fan would be somewhat lost. With all the subtitled Toho DVD releases in the states now, hopefully a subtitled R1 will come out sometime in the future. Discotek or Media Blasters, are you guys listening?

- J.L. Carrozzas