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Ichi Blu-ray

United States
Ichi: The Movie FUNimation Entertainment | 2008 | 120 min | Rated R | Dec 22, 2009

Ichi (Blu-ray)
Large:


Video
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC (28.99 Mbps)
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Audio
Japanese: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Subtitles
English

Discs
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Packaging
Slipcover in original pressing

Playback
Region A (B, C untested)

Price
List price: $19.98, Price history
Amazon: $8.20 (Save 59%)
New from: $8.20 (Save 59%)
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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
7.3
24
ratings.


Blu-ray rating
Video 4.3 of 54.3
Audio 4.1 of 54.1
Extras 3.9 of 53.9
Based on 4 user reviews

Movie appeal

 
Foreign100%
Action88%
Martial arts50%

45%
popularity
357
collections
2
fans




Ichi

 (2008)

Ichi Blu-ray delivers stunning video and great audio in this excellent Blu-ray release

This time the blind swordsman is actually a swordswoman: Ichi, who is on a quest to find the man who taught her martial arts skills as a young girl. When she is confronted by a gang of bandits, Ichi becomes caught up in ridding the town of the unruly gang while also offering assitance to wandering samurai Toma, a fighter much less gifted than herself.

For more about Ichi and the Ichi Blu-ray release, see Ichi Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.

Starring: Takao sawa, Haruka Ayase
Directors: Hiroshi Kuze, Fumihiko Sori

» See full cast & crew


Ichi Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.5 of 5

Presented in 1080p utilizing the AVC codec (at an average bitrate of 27Mbps), Ichi offers a highly proficient visual experience that rarely falters. Fine object detail is above average, revealing intricacies in tattered fabric, individual strands of hair, and every crevice in the bark of woodland trees. As I mentioned earlier in this review, the costumes and make-up aren't the most convincing, so while it's always appreciated to have a nice crisp picture, there are some negative aspects to a more revealing resolution. Likewise, the use of CGI blood effects appears decent enough, but I'm fairly positive the incorporation of splatter will look a bit more seamless in standard definition. Moving along to the color spectrum, this is a vibrant production, with a nice level of saturation in the various hues. Given the style of the film, I appreciate the lack of a skewed palette through filtering, allowing the beauty of the settings and photography to shine through in a natural manner. Equally impressive is the depth of black levels and contrast, which maintain strong differentiation between the lighter and darker elements in the transfer, lending additional depth to the picture.

All in all, this is a strong presentation that would almost be considered demo-worthy if it weren't for some less than spectacular elements in the production values of the costumes, make-up, and CGI effects.


Ichi Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  4.0 of 5

If you've read several of my prior reviews on theatrical anime releases from Funimation, you already know the story here (I'm trying not to sound like a broken record player). As with prior releases, the original language track (in Japanese) is given a lossless mix, accompanied by a lossless English dub. Switching back and forth between the two tracks, I noticed the same difference in quality and volume found on other discs I've reviewed, with the dubbed English track offering a vast improvement in clarity, spatial separation, and overall balance. If I had to describe the difference, I'd say it most resembles the variations found when you switch between the lossless and lossy offerings on other Blu-ray discs. As I've mentioned before, the bitrate for the English track is almost three times that of the Japanese offering, though the sound engineers at Funimation have provided an explanation for that variation (and the difference in the perceived quality of both tracks). I've included their statement below this review, even though it was written in response to one of my prior reviews.

Getting down to an analysis of the English track, I was pleased with the dynamic delivery of every element in the mix, from the swoosh of a blade cutting through air, to the crude twang of Ichi's 3-stringed instrument. When the action heats up, the surround stage kicks everything up a notch, creating an immersive experience that truly adds to the entertainment value of the film. Dialogue, effects, and the musical score are all well-balanced with appropriate weight in the overall mix, allowing viewers to enjoy the onscreen action without desperately reaching for the volume button. On the other hand, the Japanese offering leaves a lot to be desired (especially when played immediately after the English track). Despite turning the volume up to what I'd consider an optimum level, the sound design still felt lifeless and distant. It's truly a shame we couldn't have equally proficient tracks for viewers that prefer the native language offering over the English dub, but based on Funimation's statement below, it appears this is the best we can expect.

Now for a word from our friends in the audio department at Funimation:

"TrueHD is a truly lossless format that when played back on a supported Blu-ray player or A/V receiver recreates the exact sound as it exists on the master. What was delivered by the original mixing engineer is exactly what is presented by the player. TrueHD has a variable bit-rate however which may lead to speculation on whether it is truly a lossless format. This can be observed in players such as the Playstation 3 which has a bit-rate display that gives a rough estimate of the playback bit-rate. It is a common belief that when the bit-rate of audio or video goes up there is better quality and when it goes down there is lesser quality. This is not true with Dolby TrueHD. The TrueHD encoding process will analyze the incoming audio and apply just enough bits to maintain perfect quality. What this means is that when a simple or less complex part of the soundtrack is playing the bit-rate will be lower because less bits are needed to maintain perfect quality. This could be quiet! Scenes where there may be only dialog or little music and sound effects. This also means that when there are complex parts with lots of action, explosions, and music happening all at once the Dolby TrueHD encoder will raise the bit-rate to make sure perfect quality is maintained. Sometimes an entire mix may have a different bit-rate overall. For example, an English 5.1 surround mix coexists with a Japanese 5.1 mix on the same Blu-ray disc. Because mixing is a creative process the engineer doing the English 5.1 mix may make mixing decisions that require a higher bit-rate during the encode process. If differences occur either in the overall tone or in the bit-rate between the different languages it is simply because they sound slightly different. Both will be true to their original source."



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