Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Why I'm not releasing Angel Tales (2001)

This is a response to some comments that started on this post on Jumonji-Giri's blog. I'm going to address a few of these things because Angel Tales (2001) has been requested here as well, and I've denied it because there's already a perfectly good, or at least adequate dual-audio/softsubbed easily-available R1DVD-rip by Exiled-Destiny.

The tl;dr gist of it -- as a re-releaser, it's extremely hard to justify doing a new release when a DVD-quality, 100% softsubbed, professionally-translated release already exists, especially for a marginal-quality and obscure/unpopular show like this.

(bullet points and quotes are from comments by two Anons from 10/4 and 10/5)

* "lines are usually awfully timed"
I agree that R1 timing in general isn't terribly good in terms of scene-timing, and the limitations of DVD subs force short gaps between subpictures = subtitle "flash". But if you look at ANBU's timing, it's not terribly well-done either. Check the scene in ep 2 when Tamami first appears -- lines cut out just before a scene change, leading to a "flicker" effect.

"many instances of 3-liners"
Only if your default size and margin settings are forcing the .srt subs to look that way. You may get some 3-liners in scenes with overlapping dialogue or signs+dialogue, but those aren't terribly common.

"their vobsubs look horrible"
If your screen is low-res enough that hardsubbed 512x384 .avis look tolerable to you, I can't imagine the aliasing in the vobsubs looking that bad. Things like font and color are subjective, as most people don't seem to mind those same colors and fonts when fansubbers use them. Also, lol @ ANBU's use of the ever-popular Comic Sans. Sure is great styling up in there.

"they don't always translate all the signs and songs"
Again, this varies by licensee company. But generally the OP/ED and important/relevant signs will be translated, as they are with Angel Tales. As far as general translations go, there's not even that much difference between ANBU's subs and R1, since ANBU used Western name order and doesn't appear to use honorifics. ANBU also had some errors, like mistaking "meido sekai" (afterlife) with "maid world."

* Censoring: ANBU's rips actually are DVD source, not TV. So there wouldn't be any censorship differences, not that this show had anything naughty enough to censor anyway.

* "Another thing I don't like about E-D is there dual-audio-including when it's available. Dubs ALWAYS suck whether they be in English,Dutch or German and they unneedly waste precious HDD-space."

Seriously? How come whenever file size is questioned for any other reason (CRF 12, pointless upscales, 3 GB single episodes, FLAC, etc.), the general response is "3 TB HDDs are cheap, quit whining", but when a few hundred MB of English audio is involved, everybody's suddenly on 320 GB HDDs and CD-Rs like it's 2002 all over again? Looking at the math, the English audio takes ~427 MB, or 60% of a CD-R. There's more space taken up by the audio in one episode of Coalgirls' Seitokai Yakuindomo than the English audio for this entire series.

And "dubs suck" is a subjective statement anyway, as there are many English dubs that are widely respected, and most non-ancient dubs are liked by at least some people. Granted, the Angel Tales dub isn't much to write home about, but there's always the option to remux and remove it, DmonHiro-style.

* "[E-D is] probably the worst ripping group out there"
I disagree, but so what if they are? Most other encoders are busy with new/popular anime, looking for new commercials to add to TV-rips or inventing new ways to troll people by breaking various hardware/software compatibilities.

* "video quality is crap"
Limiting things to their Angel Tales release, I won't say it's perfect, but it is the best out there. It looks quite transparent to the R1 source, and given the age of the show, I doubt the R2J .isos would be much better. And compared to ANBU, E-D's encodes preserve more details, have fewer artifacts, and don't suffer from washed-out colors. The only other versions I know of are Anime-Empire (also DivX3 R2JDVD 100% hardsubbed .avi, albeit higher-res than ANBU, but good luck finding it), Anime-Takeover (same encoder as E-D, but XviD/vorbis/.ogm), and some random DivX5/.avi R2 raws.

* "their encodes are from another age with outdated settings"
The >99.5% of viewers who aren't encoders won't notice and don't care.

* "they can't even do anamorphic rips."
Wrong; for whatever reason, they don't do anamorphic 4:3, though I'll agree that they should. However, all of their 16:9 encodes from the last several years are anamorphic, excepting encodes of letterboxed sources like Vandread.

So, with all the series out there that are only available as hardsubbed TV-rips, and are in desperate need of upgrades in the A/V quality and subtitle departments, it just doesn't make sense to spend time on a series that has a decent DVD-rip with decent subs available.

However, if people want a (marginal) improvement over E-D's encodes, I offer this challenge:

If you can find or create an Angel Tales encode that blows E-D's rips out of the water, I will go through and retime/k-time/edit/de-localize/typset the subs. (No ordered chapters please, as I'd be adding the English audio to it.)


  1. lol, I got an entire blogpost dedicated to me.*blushes*

    Well. that answered all my questions. Guess it is time to switch my hardsubbed version with E-D's.

    Styling of .srt isn't something to write home about but it is good enough to watch without constantly being in a two-lock-way battle with myself.

    (In secret I'm hoping that someone manages to fullfill the challenge,cause I have no doubt that Zalis version would be of higher quality in total.Perhaps a 10-bit anamorphic well-filtered encode would suffice to get the Quality up to his challenge level...)

    Anyway thanks for your exquisite advice,

    the one you dubbed as anon 10/4(But you may call me Anon twee-en-een-half :P).

  2. I'm one of those people who likes dubs, as long as the acting isn't terrible and the script is as faithful as possible, but its just as you said you can just remux and remove the English audio file.

  3. Nice Screenshot for this post :D

  4. I agree-not Angel Tales-heck I have the Bandai set myself-but how about Angel Tales 2? All that I've seen of it is a crappy bit starved hardsubbed divx version.

  5. My problem with E-D is that they always seem to fuck up language codes, so that matroska splitter can't set my preferred languages automatically and I have to set them manually, which is annoying when I am watching anime from my bed. That is why I usually avoid E-D if it's possible.

  6. @ Anon: If you want Japanese audio and full subtitles, set Haali Media Splitter's "Audio and Subtitle Preferences" field to jpn,jpn;jpn,eng -- that will work for releases like E-D's that label the full subtitles "Japanese," and go to the first "English" subtitle stream for other groups' releases. Maybe set "Match subtitle track name to audio" to "Yes" for good measure.

    Or you can always use mkvmerge to remux and change the track labels or remove streams you don't need.

    Also, as I mentioned in the chatbox, the sequel can be found in DVD quality from Jumonji-Giri: