DVD Title
Shikoku
International Title
DVD Length
Original Length
100 Minutes
100 Minutes
Company
Year of Manufacture
Adness
2004
Language
Subtitles
Japanese
English
Region
Aspect Ratio
1
1.85:1
Color
Sound
Color
2.0 Stereo, 5.1 Surround
Extras
- Menus (English)
- Chapters (12)
-
Trailers: Shikoku, ISOLA, Inugami, Shadow of the Wraith
-
Making Shikoku (3 minutes)
-
Interviews: Director Shunichi Nagasaki, Actress Chikaki Kuriyama, Actress Yui Natsukawa (9 minutes)
Captures
Comments

A pleasant surprise, I actually picked up this DVD for a very reasonable $15 new and was fully expecting a slapped together budget release, but was greeted with the contrary. Adness' Shikoku features a good video presentation, a great audio presentation and a worthwhile collection of extras packaged in.

Video:
Shikoku's video presentation is, overall, good. It's hard to gauge the accuracy of the colors, or how vibrant they are, during most of this film, as a lot of scenes, in particular the lengthy flashback that the movie opens with, are shown through different color filters. More often than not, though, the colors appeared to be vibrant on this release, although the contrast in general could have done with being increased slightly. The brightness level on this release appears to be set at just the right level, with the film's many night scenes being very easy to spot details during. As for digital inconsistencies, there is some artifacting apparent, and the film itself could have stood to be a little sharper, but in general they handled well here. 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 perfect shape. There is very little grain apparent on this release, with not a single visible scratch during the course of the film. Shikoku's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 is maintained on this DVD.

Audio:
Shikoku's audio presentation is, for a lack of better words, great. The disc has two audio tracks in total, one a surround (5.1) Japanese track and the other a stereo (2.0) presentation of the film's Japanese track. It should be noted that, as the film warns, one should have a "DTS compatible" player before attempting to listen to the surround track. However, my sound system is not stated as being "DTS compatible" and I could still hear a nice distinction between the speakers during the film itself. Unfortunately, one of the problems with trying to rate the audio presentation of Shikoku is that the film itself doesn't do much to make use of a multi-speaker presentation of the film. I had to re-listen to the audio that plays during the Kadokawa logo and for the interrogation scene in the small room (with the echoes) in order to hear a real speaker distinction. Like the surround presentation, the stereo presentation is great overall, given the source material, and that's really all one can ask for. Both tracks contain no pops or crackles, and dialogue is all easily audible as well. The audio presentation is accompanied by, removable, English subtitles.

Extras:
The extras portion of Shikoku is where the disc shines when compared with other releases of Japanese films. Granted, in terms of the amount of footage that accounts for the extras, there it isn't a whole lot. Either of the Onmyoji discs, or more recent Criterion releases, greatly outweigh what is to be found here in that respect; however, the DVD does have a nice assortment of bonus features. Things to be found on the disc include four trailers (Shikoku, ISOLA, Inugami, and Shadow of the Wraith), a short three minute behind the scenes sequence dedicated to the "lake of the dead" scene, and nine minutes of interviews with Shunichi Nagasaki (Director), Chikaki Kuriyama (Actress) and Yui Natsukawa (Actress). As for the presentation of the extras themselves, well it could have been better. Artifacting is much more abundant on the footage found in the "bonus features" section of the disc, as is shimmering (a rainbow band of colors visible on fine details), while the brightness in general appears to be turned up too high. Despite the flaws, though, it's still an acceptable presentation that shouldn't distract much from the actual viewing experience. The extras are accompanied by, removable, English subtitles.

Overview:
Bottom line, Adness did a great job with this release, which makes it a real bargain at the prices it tends to sell for. Fans of Japanese horror should consider picking this title up, if they are looking to expand their collection.

-Anthony Romero