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Akira Kurosawa Blu-ray Box Blu-ray

Japan
Limited Edition | Madadayo / The Quiet Duel AKA Shizukanaru Ketto / Ran / Rashômon Kadokawa Entertainment | 1949-1993 | 4 Movies | 479 min | Not rated | Feb 06, 2009

Akira Kurosawa Blu-ray Box (Blu-ray)
Large:


Video
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: see individual releases
Original aspect ratio: see individual releases

Audio
Japanese: LPCM Mono

Subtitles
Japanese

Discs
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Four-disc set (4 BDs)

Playback
Region A (B, C untested)

Price
List price: ¥19740, Price history

Amazon: ¥16509 (Save 16%)
New from: ¥12955 (Save 34%)
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Rating


7.8
/10
363
ratings


Blu-ray rating
Video 4.0 of 54.0
Audio 3.0 of 53.0
Extras 1.5 of 51.5
Be the first to review it!

Movie appeal

 
Drama100%
Foreign33%
War6%
Psychological thriller5%
Period3%
Mystery2%
Crime1%
Action-
Family-
91%
popularity
17
collections
n/a
fans




Akira Kurosawa Blu-ray Box

 (1949-1993)

Akira Kurosawa Blu-ray Box Blu-ray delivers great video and decent audio in this exceptional Blu-ray release

Set includes: 'Rashomon', 'Ran', 'Madadayo', and 'The Quiet Duel (Shizukanaru Ketto)'

For more about Akira Kurosawa Blu-ray Box and the Akira Kurosawa Blu-ray Box Blu-ray release, see Akira Kurosawa Blu-ray Box Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.

Starring: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Machiko Kyô, Jinpachi Nezu
Director: Akira Kurosawa


This Blu-ray bundle includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:

 
 
 
 

Akira Kurosawa Blu-ray Box Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.0 of 5

The Quiet Duel (Shizukanaru Ketto)
Like most productions of its era, the video is presented in black and white in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1. The film grain is barely visible with some signs of noise, but for the most part it's cleaned up nicely. Given the source material, black level is average; however, shadows do not achieve the greatest low-light detail. The most intriguing element of the Blu-ray picture is the contrast. Kurosawa created a phenomenal lattice-work of light and shadow throughout the movie and this black-and-white tapestry is paid off handsomely on Blu-ray. It is even possible to pick out damage in the source material. While some signs of digital noise reduction are visible, such as a hint of artifacting, the 1080p definition is delivered with marked improvement over NTSC versions of the film. The contrast, too, is preferable in the Blu-ray version, showing how Kurosawa created texture and mood out of complex lighting.

Rashomon
Also presented in black and white in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1, the visual power and grandeur of Rashomon is fully realized in this MPEG-4 AVC encode. The outdoor scenes involving the samurai's wife appear bright but never washed out or unbalanced. But the darker, stormy scenes in and around the temple or the bandit scene in the forest have especially dramatic contrast. Definition is surprisingly sharp considering the source and age of the film. One can discern stripes and textures in the actors' clothing and details in their faces that were simply lost in NTSC. Even shadow detail is not bad, although blacks rarely achieve an inky appearance. As in The Quiet Duel (Shizukanaru Ketto), the relative lack of noise and grain is a concern, but thankfully signs of DNR are at a minimum. Even the rain--having a symbolic role in the movie--is clearly visible, which is a challenge especially for black-and-white footage.

Ran
With its 1.85:1 aspect ratio and MPEG-4 AVC encode, the boost in picture quality over DVD versions is stunning during the opening moments of the film, showing hunters on horseback in a lush, mountainous region. The colors burst from the screen. Earthtones are stronger than skin tones throughout, but indoor shots prove as exquisite as the outdoor scenes. Good black level provide a sense of depth, but as with the discs previously described, the picture is too scrubbed of noise and grain to be fully representative of the source material. The few signs of film damage-- mostly colored spots--appear lightened and digitally altered. However, no overt signs of DNR are visible aside from slight digital artifacting that holds back the definition a touch. Overall, the picture fully supports Kurosawa's vision, with rich, vibrant colors emphasizing the greens and golds. As much as I wanted to find fault with the presentation, I was enthralled by the overall color palette and the detail that--while not reference quality--appeared far better than DVD versions available.

Madadayo
Presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, this MPEG-4 AVC encode shows the full frame matting for the first time on home video, revealing the film's rounded corners. The left edge of the film is recessed as well. Like the appearance of Ran described above, the fascinating imagery of Kurosawa's last film appears far more lifelike and defined than any NTSC version on DVD. The colors are not as vibrant, though. Often, the picture appears slightly washed-out, but the darker colors pop, creating a deeper, more 3-D presentation. As one might predict judging by the other Blu-rays in the set, the detail of Madadayo may be hampered by digital tools or noise reduction, judging by the squeaky clean look of the picture. Grain, noise and film damage are kept to an absolute minimum in the transfer. So too are artifacts, edge enhancement and banding, which indicates that whatever was done to clean up the picture didn't leave horrible telltail signs. While I didn't feel like I was watching film, the overall color palette and detail was captivating, and any but the stodgiest videophile will be pleased with this transfer. The alternative--to watch one of the overly processed DVDs--is now unnecessary.


Akira Kurosawa Blu-ray Box Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  3.0 of 5

Rather than break down each film separately on the audio merits, here are observations common to all four titles in the set. Each features lossless PCM in monaural 2.0 at 16-bit, 48 kHz, delivering a bitrate of 1536 kbps. The sound is more open and detailed in the two color films--not surprising since those were produced with more modern recording equipment. But otherwise the tonal characteristics are fairly consistent: rolled-off highs, some muffling in the midrange and a boxed-in sound to the bass. While this audio may compare poorly with some Blu-ray PCM tracks, it is the best I have heard Kurosawa's movies sound. Even when I saw Dreams in the theater shortly after its U.S. release, a film that was nominated for Award of the Japanese Academy for sound quality (among others), it sounded shrill and thin. Each monaural track delivered in the limited edition set provides a narrow, deep soundstage and while they will not win any nominations for audio quality, the voices are clear and convey emotion, the instrumentation is passable--a bit congested--and ancillary sounds are not distracting. Think CD remasters of old recordings, and you'll get an idea of the sound quality here--particularly of Rashomon and The Quiet Duel. Not great, but you'll be hard pressed to find better sound for these titles.



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Akira Kurosawa Blu-ray Box Blu-ray, News and Updates



Kurosawa Box Coming to Blu-ray - December 5, 2008

The 'Akira Kurosawa Blu-ray Box (Limited Edition)' is coming to Japan on February 6th, and it will feature four of the legendary directors best known films, including 'Rashomon', 'Ran', 'Madadayo', and 'The Quiet Duel (Shizukanaru Ketto)' in stunning high definition. ...


Akira Kurosawa Blu-ray Box Blu-ray, Forum Discussions



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