If Casshern Won't Do It Then Who Will?
Ok, after trying to find a webstore that was selling this cheap, which I picked up for $19 from the Swiss site Grooves Inc. I can recommend this release to die hard fans and those who speak either Japanese or German because this Blu-ray is not English friendly and luckily for me, German is my second language, so no problem for me.
Lets get to the bad news first; this major for a lot of Blu-ray owners, this release is 1080i/50 and it clearly suffers from speed up. I believe the speed up is due to having the film sync up to the German audio. I don't know if the German studio at the time made their dub straight from a PAL sourced copy of the film or not, but that seems to be the case. However, after several viewings of the film, the speed up is not that bothersome. The film clocks in at 2hrs 16min when it's 2hrs 22 min which it even states on the back of the cover that it's the latter.
Another problem, not major, but really noticeable; the video source. The German release ported the Italian video source. And the film has opening credits completely in Italian and even blurring out the original title Casshern and placing in with plain white text "KYASHAN - LA RINASCITA". And supposedly the Italian release clocks in at the original run time. Also, the end credits of the film are in Italian and then cut over to the Japanese end credits.
Now, for all of those who love the film, this is the worst of it. The film's Japanese audio has been completely redone. Music plays when in the original cut there would be silence. Some sound effects have been completely removed from the new mix; like the zapping noise that the "Neo-Cells" would make are gone. Dialog has been changed in some spots or in others completely removed. For a brief list of changes, please visit the German thread for the film.
Now, let's talk pros to this release; the video is hands down reference quality even for a 1080i video. It is beauitful. I am not giving it a 5/5 because of the 1080i and the fact that even though it's the director's intention for the Zone 7 scenes to look all grainy, it might cause some people to think that it's bad even though it's digitally done. The colors are magnificent. I closely looked over the scene where Tetsuya aka Casshern fights all of the robots and the colors are vivid and amazing.
The audio is loud and amazing. The 5.1 DTS-HD audio for both the original Japanese language and the German dubbing are essentially equal. I listened to both and really enjoyed both options. The sound effects of Tetsuya flying around with his rockets are nice and crisp during the battle with the robots. Music is good and clear and the dialog sounds like you are right there in it all. The only reason why this gets a 4/5 is due to the speed up but after a couple of viewings you won't notice it.
The extras contain German dubbed trailers for other films like Shinobi: Heart Under Blade and Goemon to name a few. There's two original Japanese trailers for Casshern; deleted scenes with forced commentary by Kazuaki Kiriya; and interviews. It did leave me wanting more out of this release. On the 2 disc Thai DVD that I own theres like a 50 minute making of that shows how the animated the film and how it was shot on green screens, etc.
I give it 4/5 overall. It's a good release despite it's flaws. I'm a die hard fan of the film, but was bothered by the changes done in the Japanese audio. But, I recommend this to die hard fans and those who know German and Japanese.