Well, folks, if you haven’t seen Mouryou no Hako yet, now is the perfect time to do so, as Norikumi has seen fit to give us fansubs of the BluRay release of the show. And it honestly is beautiful. Madhouse did a lovely job on the art and animation for Mouryou no Hako, and they also added a little extra flair in spots – most notably the OP – that is quite pleasing to the eye.
Mouryou no Hako is a show that got largely ignored when it aired last autumn, in part due to the slow nature of the subs. But its a fascinating show, although it is incredibly dense and thus requires a LOT of attention. The show has two main plotlines which cross over at points, one concerning Kanako, a teenaged girl who has disappeared after being hit by a train, and another concerning a murderer who dismembers his victims and puts their limbs into perfectly sized boxes. In the background there is also a strong undercurrent concerning the societal changes and troubles in Japan’s post-WWII years, much of it having to do with the collision between the traditional and the modern.
Not all shows look good, or, perhaps more accurately, better in BluRay. Mouryou no Hako, though, looks fantastic, owing much to the high quality of the original broadcast. Unfortunately, though, the one sore spot in Madhouse’s original animation doesn’t seem to have had any improvement for BluRay form, as the awful CG ambulances of the third episode still stick out amongst the rest of the lush animation. This is ultimately a minor complaint, though, as Madhouse has done some extra little priming work throughout to give us an even smoother viewing than we would’ve gotten from the original animation alone.
The most obvious place where extra work was done during the transition from regular to BluRay is in the OP. Ephemeral cherryblossom petals have been added throughout the entire OP, although it doesn’t work well in every part. There are a few other edits, such as the removal of ghostly creatures from one shot, although the best difference comes toward the end – in the original, Kanako and Yoriko are shown twirling around for about two seconds longer than in the BluRay version, where the shot is cut sooner and the two seconds are filled with a different shot of the girls, this time with Yoriko crying in the foreground with an upside down, unconscious Kanako in the background. Its something you’d have to actually look at to appreciate, though.
One warning for these BluRay files: they’re huge. As in, one gig a piece huge. So if you have a slow connection, you’re going to be out in the cold on this one unless you have the patience of a saint. But if you’re willing to wait through the download, the result is more than worth it.