Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

6 January 2010: A Monster dilemma

Eva is displeased.

After years of waiting, the first batch of Monster DVDs is now available. No-brainer, right? Unfortunately, it's not so simple. Reportedly, there have been some changes to the musical score in the form of rearranged background music, the addition of music to previously silent scenes, and the elimination of vocals from the ED. Now, it would be easy to simply blame Viz for these changes. After all, I'm still waiting for them to release more Full Moon wo Sagashite. After more than two years, however, I have to assume Viz has abandoned the title entirely in the face of a collapsed anime market.

I normally hate kid characters, but Dieter is all right.

I am inclined to pass up DVD releases where someone has monkeyed around with the original material, but from the looks of it, this may not be Viz's fault, or even something they had any control over. If, as the above discussion on the née forums suggest, there really are two sets of masters in play—the masters used for the Japanese R2 release, and an interlaced set of masters with changes to the audio used for European and North American DVDs, then it is possible Viz was stuck in a take-it-or-leave it situation and should be commended for offering this exceptional series in a 13-episode batch (of 74 episodes total) during a soft market.

Dr. Tenma
Dr. Tenma is displeased.

I'm probably going to buy this anyway, despite my hostility towards the changes to the original material. This is Monster, after all. Considering I bought ADV's release of Azumanga Daioh (with the inexplicable use of MISS SAKAKI) and Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu (with the inexcusable dot crawl), I almost have to buy this out of general principle. Still, I have to wonder how much of an effort Viz made at securing the original masters used for the Japanese DVD releases. I hope they're not just half-assing it here, because owning all of Monster even at 45% off MSRP is going to run about $200 providing Viz doesn't abandon the series halfway through, like they did with the best series of all time.

Nina is Noto Mamiko's best role.

Is it all right to call this a Prisoner's Dilemma? Start buying it from the get-go and take the risk the releases will stall, or wait until the entire series is available and thereby increase the chances Viz won't complete it because nobody has been buying the discs. From a casual look around, it appears as if anime sales really are in the toilet. This surprises nobody, I'm sure. I really am still waiting for Blu-ray releases. Really! I will buy the shit out of Blu-ray releases even if the video is merely upscaled from SD masters. At a minimum, it means escaping the horror of that bitmap subtitle format DVDs have inflicted on us for more than a decade now.

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