Publisher: King Records
Format: BD-25 (film file: 14:7 GB)
Region Code: Region Free
Movie running time: 53:34
Video: 1080p widescreen
Audio: Japanese Dolby True HD 2.0
Audio Commentary by director Hajime Ohata, special effects director Kiyotaka Taguchi and actress Aki Morita
The Gig Gun (short film) (31:11)
Opening Day (Theater N / Tokyo) (11:03)
Theatrical Trailer (1:58)
Standard (blue) case, no 1st press bonuses as far as I'm aware (I picked it up a few weeks after its release)
A few words about the transfer. I saw the film theatrically three times. In Tokyo's Theater N it was a digital projection - I'm no expert on these things, not to mention blessed with glasses that are dirty more often than not, but both times I was impressed by just how good the film looked. I even went on record to write "almost comparable to film", though that might have been a bit of an over-statement. The third viewing was in Sapporo's Sasoriza, where it was a Blu-Ray projection - and a terrible one at that. The image was awfully dark, with zero shadow detail, terribly dark colors, and dark areas occasionally glowing in blue. I suppose the theater had their equipment calibrated completely wrong.
This retail Blu-Ray, apparently not what was screened in Sapporo (all the theatrical screenings in Japan were subtitled in English, unlike the retail Blu-Ray), certainly looks better than the Sasoriza screening, but it still has a bit of a dark appearance. It's possible the Blu-Ray is indeed too dark, or perhaps that’s just the way the film was shot, and at Theater N they had (very successfully) boosted the brightness to give it a brighter overall appearance.
However, in many scenes you can see something that looks like bad compression or un-natural grain stuck on the lens that becomes visible when there is camera movement. Again, perhaps it’s just my lack of technical expertise, but this is something that caught my eye within a minute of playing the Blu-Ray, after having viewed the film twice in Theater N without having spotted anything.
All this said, this Japanese BD is good enough until otherwise proven. The fact that the film was shot in digital, and that the Blu-Ray is a came out very fast and by a reputable company (King Records), makes me wonder if there is any chance of seeing a better presentation of it – or if the film even can look better to begin with. Maybe, maybe not.
I would dare to assume, though, that Henge will be picked up by a few overseas home video distributors sooner or later, but it will probably take time as the film has only begun its international festival tour now. You could get the Japanese BD now, or wait possibly for a long time for a foreign release to come out, which might or might not be better. Just make sure you watch the film – it’s mesmerizing, easily the best thing to come out of Japan in years!
+ a more spoiling sfx cap for those who need further convincing:
+ below are two screen captures highlighting the transfer issues discussed before
The Big Gun (short movie)
Extras: Opening Day