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Toei classic anime: Rumor has it :(

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So apparently sometime in the past 15 years or so Toei seems to have lost the masters (except for digibetas) for all their classic anime (Saint Seiya/Knights of the Zodiac, Dragon Ball (TOS, Z and GT), Sailor Moon, Fist of the North Star, Galaxy Express 999 etc.) and is upscaling everything.

I really hope film masters of most of these will turn up. Obviously we know Funimation has such masters for DBZ and did a good job with the first 39 episodes before they decided to cheap out on the rest. It looks like it may well be up to the fans to try to get any of this stuff preserved in better than 480i.

"Right now the coffees are doing their final work." (Airi, Masked Rider Den-o episode 1)

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I got dibs on Sailor Moon. I’ll be basing my restoration on the R2 DVDs and will try to make them 4K HDR if I can manage it in Avisynth (I hear there’s an AVS plugin for converting SDR to HDR).

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That’s basically what Toei’s already doing, isn’t it?

"Right now the coffees are doing their final work." (Airi, Masked Rider Den-o episode 1)

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I never thought Toei to be the types to use Avisynth, actually. I always imagined they were using paid software on the R2 DVD masters, albeit they haven’t come out looking great thus far (I heard somewhere, though I can’t remember where, that Avisynth is supposed to produce better results for free).

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They use Q-TEC FORS. Q-TEC upscaling is hideous (though FORS isn’t as bad as their old system).

I use nnedi3_rpow2 to upscale - this is necessary when mixing DVD source with HDTV as I occasionally need to do to correct Animax’s Detective Conan airings. But that’s pretty much beside the point - I’m talking about trying to acquire actual 720 or 1080 source, not fake HD made from SD sources.

"Right now the coffees are doing their final work." (Airi, Masked Rider Den-o episode 1)

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Well, if SD sources are all we got to work with, I say the best course of action would be at least try and make them look good. Avisynth with nnedi3_rpow2 (which just so happens to be also what I use), from what I heard, could well be enough to blow Toei’s Q-TEC FORS away.

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Ultimately, I decided I would get better results with Avisynth+ than with just plain old Avisynth. I’ll first blow up the image to around HD resolution and convert the color matrix from 601 to 709, then, if the results are satisfactory enough to the both of us, I’ll go one higher, to 4K resolution and 10-bit (perhaps even 12-bit) Rec. 2020.

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isnt sailor moon only uncensored on the vhs japanese tapes?

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Far as I know, SM’s fine on all sources, although there’s issues with the upscaler Viz used (leading Madman to use Dynit masters instead for the first 2 or 3 seasons). The R4AUs are NTSC.

We know that film sources for these series have existed - in addition to the fact that Funi does have DBZ in that format and has done multiple remasters in 1080p, I’m aware that some episodes of various series did manage to leak out. So the idea that at least something might be out there in the hands of a friendly preservationist isn’t completely out in left field.

"Right now the coffees are doing their final work." (Airi, Masked Rider Den-o episode 1)

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Toei hasnt lost any film master. What do you think they used to make kai and Funimation’s film prints with?
What they dont have any more are the audio masters for any of their old series cause it was a common practice to reuse the magnetic tape again to save money and space. Only a couple of old toei anime releases have proper audio releases, the compilation films of Fist of the north star being one of them.
There was/is a very large project of gathering videotapes which have recorded the original broadcast audio from tv stations for Dragon Ball and Dragon ball Z.

Also on the 480 releases, its just toei not caring about their products. Do you think a company that actually cares would allow funimation to release a 30th anniversary of their biggest series not to mention with such an awful quality?

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Whether they lost them or conveniently forgot where they were, the matter is the same, as it’s not out there. But supposedly they went back to an earlier master of FotNS, AFTER they made digital HD masters. Film was the main manner of storage for animation in the earlier era, which is why Funi has, well, film of DBZ.

Also, I was the one who released that big DBZ torrent.

"Right now the coffees are doing their final work." (Airi, Masked Rider Den-o episode 1)

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Deblock_QED(quant1=24, quant2=26, aOff1=1, aOff2=1, bOff1=2, bOff2=2, uv=3)
Blur(1.0)
nnedi3_rpow2(rfactor=4, cshift=“lanczosresize”, fwidth=width3, fheight=height3, ep0=5)
Sharpen(0.25)
ConvertBits(16)
ConvertToRGB(matrix=“Rec601”)
ConvertToYV12(matrix=“Rec709”)
ConvertBits(8, dither=0)

Using the above script, I was able to get a serviceable 1440p upscale of the first episode of Sailor Moon. But when I tried using HDRTools to go the next logical step, to 4K HDR, just the first minute was riddled with artifacting, including several wrong colors that made certain spots look jagged! I don’t know where I went wrong there, or if I was simply being too ambitious.

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Would replacing the last 4 lines with ColorMatrix(“Rec.601->Rec.709”) be of any use?

"Right now the coffees are doing their final work." (Airi, Masked Rider Den-o episode 1)

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Viz’s release of Sailor Moon was atrocious; even when they changed their methods for season three, it still didn’t look right. Funi’s DBZ blu-rays were better but that’s more thanks to the different art style; the characters definitely have the crawling outline problem. I saw the first episode of Toei’s HD upscale of Sailor Moon on broadcast but there’s nothing really to say about it.

I don’t understand how they get it so wrong when Sunrise gets it so right. Cowboy Bebop, Outlaw Star, even Gundam 0079 are so well done, it blows my mind.

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I’m not sure it’s missing film masters so much as it is laziness on the part of Toei.

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Could be A, could be B.

As far as Sailor Moon goes, Madman is said to have (for at least the first season) gotten Dynit’s masters and synched up the Viz resources to them. Dynit’s release (aka the R2IT) is pretty much the platinum-iridium standard for the series.

TMS has their issues but they’re plenty competent enough with their remasters. (Lupin III, Magic Knight Rayearth)

"Right now the coffees are doing their final work." (Airi, Masked Rider Den-o episode 1)

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Molly said:

Could be A, could be B.

As far as Sailor Moon goes, Madman is said to have (for at least the first season) gotten Dynit’s masters and synched up the Viz resources to them. Dynit’s release (aka the R2IT) is pretty much the platinum-iridium standard for the series.

TMS has their issues but they’re plenty competent enough with their remasters. (Lupin III, Magic Knight Rayearth)

Tell that to the “remastered” 4K Ultra HD releases of Tomorrow’s Joe 2, Space Adventure COBRA, Lupin III: The Mystery of Mamo and The Castle of Cagliostro.
They are DNR’d to hell and back. It honestly looks like the dreaded Blu-ray remaster of Disney’s The Sword in the Stone.
At least Studio Ghibli’s standard 4K remastered Blu-ray (not Ultra HD) of The Castle of Cagliostro is still on-print and despite being the same 4K remaster as the one on the UHD, the DNR isn’t excessive as in the Blu-ray, retaining some fine grain even though it has a moderate amount of DNR.

Also, what I’m more concered about is that there are rumours that Toei’s Blu-ray releases of some of their much older animated movies (like '60s and '70s) like The Great Adventure of Horus: Prince of the Sun, are LaserDisc upscales.
I don’t believe this since the Blu-ray for Horus has some better detail (though not drastically) than the DVD version.
And also, Studio Ghibli had a 36-bit colour grade of Horus in Panasonic Master Grade Video Coding (basically an earlier, primitive version of HDR) for the Isao Takahata box set so it’s less likely that it’s an upscaled LaserDisc master.

And I’ve loved every pixel of it.
(Clarissa Darling, Clarissa Explains It All)

You’re so right.
(Kylo Ren, Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

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 (Edited)

Detective Conan has the same issue (upscaled LD masters), but from what I understand that’s not TMS’s fault (since they themselves DO have HD remasters) but the BluRay distributor.

"Right now the coffees are doing their final work." (Airi, Masked Rider Den-o episode 1)