W A R N I N G !

W A R N I N G !

This page is full of non-facts and bullsh!t, (just like the internet and especially forums and other blogs), please do not believe entirely without exercising your intellect. Any resemblance to real things in reality is purely coincidental. You are free to interpret/misinterpret the content however you like, most likely for entertainment, but in no case is the text written on this blog the absolute truth. The blog owner and Blogger are not responsible for any misunderstanding of ASCII characters as facts. *cough* As I was saying, you are free to interpret however you like. *cough*

Friday, February 15, 2008

Singapore Anime scene has no hope

...for a future... to be precise.

I reached home and switched on the TV. It was going to show Utawarerumono (after the usual 1.5-2 year lag after the first broadcast in Japan. At least this is a way big improvement from last time, so there's some hope here... or is there? Read on.). I was going to eat my dinner and there wasn't Futureweapons, Mythbusters, or any kind of sickingly funny video clips show on, my TV rig (as in computer) remained down as it had been for months, and I didn't have any Anime encoded onto DVD-Video. So I decided to watch, just the opening video.

As it faded in from black, I was like, "wth are those macroblocks? Yes they are microblocks." Ok, maybe that wasn't so bad since we're all familiar with Starhub Digital Cable's awesome quality. But then I thought I was also seeing mosquito noise in a majority of the scenes, and some amount of visible blocking. Then a whole screen of corrupted blocks, that or extremely bad macroblocking, slapped me in the face. That's definitely not something Starhub would give under normal circumstances. And towards the ending of the opening, "Please don't tell me that's stuttering due to bad 3:2 pulldown removal." The next scene told me that.

This is of great significance. Because, AFAIK, Anime is either 1) 23.976fps, 3:2 pulldowned to 29.97 and broadcasted, or 2) 23.976/29.97fps mixed, broadcasted as 29.97fps.

If it's case 1), the conversion that takes place would be 23.976fps -> 25fps which involves either increasing the speed of the video by 4% or the more complex method of 2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:3 pulldown, both of which will not create stuttering THAT bad.

If it's case 2), which I believe to be the case (many recent Anime, I've discovered, have 29.97fps opening video), the higher source frame (and bigger difference in fps) makes less noticable motion artifacts (since there's more "data" for interpolation).

The point is not which case result in less stuttering, the point is that both approaches, if done correctly using the correct source, will produce less stuttering compared to what I saw. So, would it be case 3), or case 4)?

3) The source was 23.976fps, 3:2 pulldown-ed to 29.97fps, and converted directly to 25fps. This one results in a lot of noticable stuttering, since there is already some after the 3:2 pulldown.

4) The source was 29.97fps, 3:2 pulldown removal-ed 23.976 (noobishly), then converted to 25fps. This is the worst case scenario, since the most destruction happens in this case, when motion data in the 29.97fps video is thrown away. And also, this suggests a shady source (as in where the video came from is questionable, not that the source video is dark lol) - only fansubbers (or pirates) would be doing this kind of thing.

To clarify, more damage is done from improper 3:2 pulldown removal than frame rate conversion from 29.97fps to 25fps. This is because motion data is still kept via interpolation in the second case. However for the first, one entire frame is just thrown away like that. Imagine a person running at the 1m mark, then 2m, then 3m, 4m, and suddenly at 6m. Can you imagine the amount of stuttering? Yes it's the amount you're seeing in improper 3:2 pulldown removal-ed fansubs. Can you see where I'm getting at?

Yes, I've long suspected that the Anime shown on TV in Singapore are not original. This is just a new strong evidence to support.

But this isn't the sole reason why I say that Singapore Anime scene has no hope. Take a look a shops selling Anime figurines and other related stuff. They are closing one by one, even Takashimaya and Metro have stopped selling such stuff (or they shifted them to someplace I don't know). So much for the Odex saga; if so many people are watching Anime we should expect this business to flourish. And then there's Odex with their sad quality and slow releases (and the lack of many series). Plus, last time one can see Anime on channel 8 or central (or the late channel i) at hours other than midnight. Now it's all Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon shows during primetime, and Anime at late night hours on Arts Central. There really is a lack of exposure of Anime to the youngsters, something that can be bad since I know people who are still watching those kind of cartoons. While it does stall mental development, it also removes the supply of new Anime watchers and supporters, which will only decrease over time as we grow out of it. The reduction of the quality and number of Singaporean comic/manga artists publishing in newspapers is proof of this.

That's why I say we're doomed.

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