The new Discotek Blu-Ray of Project A-ko has finally begun to make its way into everyone’s hands! I was eagerly awaiting this and hoped to have it for Christmas, but a few days after was still OK. This disc is so jam-packed that when I put it in, I spent so much time looking at the supplemental materials that I had to go to bed without actually seeing the movie. These are some of the best and most extensive extras I’ve ever seen on a DVD that wasn’t part of some premium set. This release is basically an A-ko encyclopedia.
I regret that I can’t make any screencaps, I just bought a new PC and it doesn’t have an optical drive. I thought I could do it on PS4, but it doesn’t let you make caps from DVDs. But for what it’s worth I will say the movie has never looked crisper or brighter, and there are some things that have been in plain sight that just weren’t noticeable due to blurriness. Did you know that there was a Project A-ko Secret File VHS in C-ko’s bento? I didn’t until now, and I’ve watched this dozens of times. Now I can’t unsee it! And here I had been under the impression that the soft look of the first movie was an artistic decision. It looks great and is now the definitive way to watch the movie, but the restoration is not perfect, and some flaws like a constant film grain and newly-visible scratches on the film and cels are the tradeoff. We may yet be buying this again in a couple years…
The subtitles are based on a new translation and while it’s not too far from the CPM sub script, it feels more natural and I’d say it’s an improvement. Signs and background text are also now subtitled, something that is very welcome. The good old bad old English dub is still there, along with almost all of the other content from the CPM releases. No Espanol, although I know a Spanish dub exists.
I alluded to the extras before, here’s a rundown of what you’ll get:
A reversible cover, one with the new art and the reverse with the traditional poster art
Two commentaries, one with Yuji Moriyama and another with Miki Ito, Emi Shinohara and Michie Tomizawa
A full storyboard-to-screen animatic (basically you’re getting the storyboard books for free!)
That outtake, where A-ko has a see-thru shirt
Vintage press conference and video press materials
The CPM motion comic, based on the US comic book
Interview with Moriyama (from CPM 2001 release)
The Secret File
An all new featurette about the cancelled CD-ROM game, with some different footage than Youtube
Another all new interview with Zito and Carbone about the music of Project A-ko
A number of Japanese theatrical trailers and TV spots
The Sci-Fi Channel Saturday Anime TV spot
CPM’s Remastered Edition advert
“Supernova” Sales Reel – this one’s inclusion blew my mind, but in a good way. Hilarious!
Key Art and color works – My favorite part! I saw a few things here I’ve never seen before.
Model sheets – Scans from the artbook, separated by subject with no text. They even include the nudie stuff!
Storyboard pages of deleted scenes
Video and Audio release gallery
Program book and pamphlet
Merchandise – I actually found this one a bit underwhelming, only pictures from publications of the items and it definitely doesn’t cover everything out there. No models, for example. Maybe in the extras for the sequels…
PC-88 Game – Pictures of the case, an overview of the game and of all of the cutscene images, presented in chronological order.
Liner notes and trivia
About the Restoration overview and history
Mischief Gallery – A gallery of single-frame gags that were often not even fully on screen in the theatrical release. Glad they did this, it saves me a lot of trouble! Or it will, when I get a Blu-Ray drive for my PC.
And of course, these are all just subject headings, actually exploring these will take you quite a while. Some Easter eggs are also mentioned on their Twitter. I highly recommend this DVD, it would be a bargain at twice the price! I bought mine through TheRightStuf, from whom I got my VHS copy all those years ago. They’re not paying me for linking to them, but they can if they want.