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Answerman - How Are Old Releases of Anime Preserved, And Why Aren't Manga Preserved Too?




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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:31 pm Reply with quote
TokyoPop must have started saving its work in some digital form that the Japanese licensors held on to, though, because everything Viz released under the digital-only Viz Selects label were simply TokyoPop rescues that were the same exact content, only with the TP logos replaced with Viz logos; they also never released more than what TokyoPop originally did, but that's another story.

Quote:
dubs have been digitized and restored from old laserdiscs (imported or domestic) and even VHS


I must admit that I do find it always amusing to hear an old dub that's obviously been ripped from VHS matched to pristinely-remastered video. It's probably the sheer dissonance between them that adds a bit of charm, and I'm always happy to see Discotek go that extra mile to deliver that kind of release, no matter how awkward the end result may seem like.
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AkumaChef



Joined: 10 Jan 2019
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:16 pm Reply with quote
Is it just me, or did the question posed never get answered? Justin did a great job explaining how a lot of content got lost and how workarounds were done back in the day, but the discussion seemed to be 100% focused on that. What about those materials which were not lost? How were/are they stored?

I assume earlier shows were kept on film reels (what size?), and that modern copies are stored in some kind of digital format?
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Posts Sometimes



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:24 pm Reply with quote
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DVD subtitle tracks have to be turned back into timed text scripts (using optical character recognition software that was originally developed for... shall we say, the hobbyist community). This can introduce typos and other formatting problems

Interesting. I wonder if this is why some newer "fansub" releases of old shows have a bunch of minor issues despite otherwise being copies of official releases.
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:50 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
When asked, their answer is often, "if you can find it, you can use it."
That's usually my answer on a third date.

AkumaChef wrote:
I assume earlier shows were kept on film reels (what size?), and that modern copies are stored in some kind of digital format?
I think it's some sport of digital tape they store them on now.

[Do not double-post. Use the "Edit" button instead ~Zalis]
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Brainchild129



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:43 pm Reply with quote
With manga, the older it gets the less likely it is that materials can be found. I've read interviews with old shojo mangaka (we're talking women working in the 50s & 60s) who can't rerelease old works because their publishers:

a. Threw away the original manuscripts (most common)
b. Gave them away (be it as personal favors or as prizes to subscribers back in the day)
c. Altered them (be it adding colors or literally cutting them up) to use images for advertising

Without the original manuscripts, they can't republish them, so more than a few have spent years hunting down pages. Even later mangaka have to deal with this; there was a story on here recently about Moto Hagio and her publisher trying to hunt down original chapter illustrations for The Heart of Thomas that were given away as prizes.

animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2019-01-02/monthly-flowers-editors-ask-for-help-to-locate-original-the-heart-of-thomas-manga-art/.141563

The only other alternative is to try and scan the stories from their original magazines, but even with modern scanners the results will always be of lesser quality. A good example of this can be found in Kodansha's recent release of Queen Emeraldas by Leiji Matsumoto. There's a side story at the end of V1 that neither Matsumoto nor his publisher have the original manuscript for, and the images are distinctly fuzzier than those for the main story.
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GeorgeC



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:03 pm Reply with quote
MarshalBanana wrote:

AkumaChef wrote:
I assume earlier shows were kept on film reels (what size?), and that modern copies are stored in some kind of digital format?
I think it's some sport of digital tape they store them on now.


It depends on what you're talking about.

If you're talking about movies, major studios will keep the original 35mm film elements for as long as they can. Film elements will eventually degrade which is why it is VERY important to scan as many historically-significant (ie, $$$-moneymaking) films as possible at high resolution. (4K is a reasonable limit; you go much above that, you're basically recording "noise" and it doesn't do much. There are many films that have to be rescanned and quite a few scanned at 2K for earlier Blu ray releases.) These films, especially more chemically volatile rolls, are stored in salt mines deep underground because the air temperature and humidity is more constant there.

As far as restored/scanned film material is concerned, a lot of it is actually saved on hard drives.

Yep, the same device your computer STILL uses.
We may be using solid state drives (SSD's) for the main OS and production software (Photoshop, video editing), but good old magnetic hard drives are still cheaper and more plentiful with HIGHER capacity than SSD's. Those are more viable for high-capacity storage than SSD at this point and more captures are archived on magnetic drives.
The companies that do film restoration periodically turn over those hard drives and recopy those digitized films to new hard drives about every 5 years. At least that's the plan unless they have to rescan films. They have specially set-up scanners that actually scan in 35mm film prints (or higher if the scanner is set up for IMAX, 70mm, etc.) one frame at a time. Very, very expensive equipment as you can imagine that takes the job as delicately as possible to reduce the wear on film stock.
At least that's what one company involved with the film industry in the US is doing. There was a feature about their restoration work for the James Bond films on the Blu ray release of Dr. No... Very, very interesting documentary that dovetails with what Justin was talking about in this article.
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SolHerald



Joined: 07 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:23 pm Reply with quote
After reading several articles with similar subjects I've come to the conclusion that the Japanese were, and maybe still are, terrible with preservation.

I remember reading rumors that Nintendo had to download roms online for their NES virtual console because they lost/discarded the original code. I'm sure the same can be said for a bunch of anime.
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Cutiebunny



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:40 am Reply with quote
Brainchild129 wrote:
I've read interviews with old shojo mangaka (we're talking women working in the 50s & 60s) who can't rerelease old works because their publishers:

a. Threw away the original manuscripts (most common)


Read: Sold/gave them away to friends and well heeled sponsors

The publisher just merely tells the mangaka that the originals were discarded. Saves everyone face.

This was pretty evident at the Cardcaptor Sakura exhibition in Roppongi. There were reproductions (hi-res Xerox copies) next to originals, often with the repros being in the same manga chapter as the originals on display. The original magazine the series ran in, Nakayoshi, didn't give manga pages as prizes in the 1990s.

I've bought manga/anime production artwork before where the stipulation has been that I can't publicly show them online or elsewhere. I imagine the same applies to the owners of the missing pages.

SolHerald wrote:
After reading several articles with similar subjects I've come to the conclusion that the Japanese were, and maybe still are, terrible with preservation.


Are. You ever watch some of the YouTube videos where Japanese collectors take you inside their storage closet where they have cels packed in boxes together? Cel fumes notwithstanding, keeping cels in the same bag for years on end is a spectacular way to ruin a collection.

That's partially why there was a bill last year where the Japanese government wanted to declare anime/manga production artwork as being national treasures to prevent 'all the good stuff' from going abroad. I'm sure whomever sponsored the bill was aware of the collections that some foreign collectors publicly display online (I'm guilty here) and didn't like that all the 'good stuff' was overseas.

It's like trying to shut the barn doors after the horses have already left. The artwork is gone. Very few people are going to willingly send it back to Japan, especially if there is little or no compensation. After seeing how the original artwork at the CCS and Tezuka exhibition that toured around the world several years ago, I am inclined to never let Japan touch them again until they can demonstrate better care for the original materials.
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Brand



Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 1012
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:20 pm Reply with quote
In terms of video game stuff it isn't just Japan. A lot of American companies have long lost the files for many early video games. A lot of this stuff (video games, anime, cartoons, etc) were considered disposable entertainment and so was treated that way. It really has been in the last decade or so that serious preservation of this stuff has been happening.
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Moonsaber
Space CowboySpace Cowboy


Joined: 16 Jan 2007
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Location: USA
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:25 pm Reply with quote
Justin, thank you very much for your unique insight on this question. I am certain your.. umm... view... of the hobbyist community helped with this. =)

You now have be very curious if the new release of KOR on Blu Ray will be using any part of AnimEigo's subs, or material. I feel pretty certain that Robert Woodhead archives his stuff, so it's out there, and it's a very loving adaption. I guess I will be doing some comparisons with my LD/DVDs.
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lys



Joined: 24 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:29 am Reply with quote
Lord Geo wrote:
TokyoPop must have started saving its work in some digital form that the Japanese licensors held on to, though, because everything Viz released under the digital-only Viz Selects label were simply TokyoPop rescues that were the same exact content, only with the TP logos replaced with Viz logos; they also never released more than what TokyoPop originally did, but that's another story.

Hmm, yeah—I lettered one series that Yen Press took over from TP not long after its demise, and for the volumes TP had published, we got their working files to copy the text from (we used new art files and different fonts and made plenty of revisions, but it saved some time to have the text in roughly the correct spots on the pages for a starting point). But I can guess there've been multiple programs and methods used for lettering and retouching the artwork over the years. I was fortunate not to work in the whiteout and film years Justing refers to, but I know some letterers still did the typesetting in Photoshop for several years after I started (which is super tedious and inefficient), while InDesign (which I started out with) has become the standard for most if not all publishers, both here and in Japan. (Photoshop is still used for retouching the artwork itself, of course.)
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Ashley Hakker



Joined: 31 Aug 2016
Posts: 96
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:55 pm Reply with quote
MarshalBanana wrote:
I think it's some sport of digital tape they store them on now


Hi, I work in the film industry, everything is just files now. The formats can vary, from mjpeg to prores to dnxhd or image formats like dpx or exr, but it's all just files. LTO tape is one common option for archiving but any other days storage is popular too. I've seen houses with just lockers of cold storage hard drives. Even for data transmission, while we often use the internet, a tonne of data is just shipped on HDDs shipped by courier and ingested at it's destination.
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Zalis116
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Joined: 31 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:56 pm Reply with quote
Posts Sometimes wrote:
Quote:
DVD subtitle tracks have to be turned back into timed text scripts (using optical character recognition software that was originally developed for... shall we say, the hobbyist community). This can introduce typos and other formatting problems

Interesting. I wonder if this is why some newer "fansub" releases of old shows have a bunch of minor issues despite otherwise being copies of official releases.
It's certainly possible for downloaded rips to have added mistakes that weren't in the official subs. While the available OCR software has improved quite a bit over the last 15+ years, there's still a chance to get confusion between similar characters like l and I, or to have punctuation mishaps like extra periods being added before ? or !. Using a simple format like .srt can cause problems, as .srt doesn't support different colors, fonts, positioning, or formatting beyond bold/italic/underline. For some rips, like from Media-Blasters DVDs, that was fine, as they never did anything fancy with their subtitles. But for discs from companies like ADV or Nozomi, with a ton of text all over the screen in shows like His and Her Circumstances or Best Student Council, .srt was disastrous.

To use different fonts/colors/positions/etc., ripping groups had to use the .ass format that fansubbers used. But in the traditional scene, the ripping groups were mainly the people with encoding expertise -- the people experienced at working with subtitles worked on the actual fansubs of airing/unlicensed shows. So the ripping groups didn't put in more than the minimal attention required for subtitles, and just ran them through OCR software without bothering to look at or correct the results.

In some ways, it was an improvement when some ripping groups started keeping the original imagesubs in their files, either instead of or in addition to text subs. While pirates always curiously hated the white or yellow subs with black outlines (though only from official subs, not from fansubs), at least the untouched DVD subs preserved any colors/formatting without introducing new mistakes.

Moonsaber wrote:
You now have be very curious if the new release of KOR on Blu Ray will be using any part of AnimEigo's subs, or material. I feel pretty certain that Robert Woodhead archives his stuff, so it's out there, and it's a very loving adaption. I guess I will be doing some comparisons with my LD/DVDs.
I can't find it atm, but IIRC Discotek said on Twitter that they were using AE's subs with some light revisions. Even if AE hadn't preserved those subs, I guarantee you they're out there in the Internet ether, fully converted from DVD imagesubs extracted from rips that left them intact. (And with saner linebreaks too, instead of AE's practice of turning 4-word sentences into two subtitle lines.) I think I've seen a screenshot or two of them from some of the "old guard" fandom, as well.
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IanKen



Joined: 16 Mar 2018
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:09 pm Reply with quote
Damn, and I thought the BBC was bad at archiving their old stuff.
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GeorgeC



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:27 pm Reply with quote
Moonsaber wrote:
Justin, thank you very much for your unique insight on this question. I am certain your.. umm... view... of the hobbyist community helped with this. =)

You now have be very curious if the new release of KOR on Blu Ray will be using any part of AnimEigo's subs, or material. I feel pretty certain that Robert Woodhead archives his stuff, so it's out there, and it's a very loving adaption. I guess I will be doing some comparisons with my LD/DVDs.


Yep, they've done that!

There have a been a few license rescues of anime titles formerly distributed by AnimEigo and Discotek has acknowledged this. They reused both the subtitles and English dub created for Lupin III: The Fuma Conspiracy by AnimEigo.

They also reused the AnimEigo subs for Lupin III: The Legend of the Gold of Babylon. The dub for Gold of Babylon was commissioned by Discotek, however, since AnimEigo never got around to dubbing that movie. AnimEigo released Babylon on VHS and laserdisc but lost the license before they could do their DVD release.

The AnimEigo production crew was acknowledged in the credits for the Discotek releases of these Lupin III movies.

How do I know this? I'm one of those nuts who actually watches the credits for most movies that I watch!

I've pre-ordered my copy of KOR on Blu ray. I still have the AnimEigo DVDs but am looking forward to the upgrade. I, unfortunately, have only watched through the entirety of KOR once! I've got all the DVDs but only watched the original pressing (and got the corrected DVDs later) on DVD, the movie and OVAs on laserdisc (which I still have). I think AnimEigo did laserdisc releases of the TV series and a lot of us sent back in our old LDs for the "DVD upgrade." They did a similar DVD upgrade exchange for the UY TV LD releases they did (which wasn't that many; maybe 10 volumes before they quit when they release they weren't going to do a 49-LD release of the series!). Yeah, that's the way a company should reward its customers but AnimEigo was never as popular as ADV or even CPM in their heyday (although AnimEigo also NEVER went into deep debt like the other two companies, either!).

I wish Discotek had gone ahead and licensed the second animated KOR film. It's really not that bad and while it's not essential to the overall storyline it's still an interesting chapter in the love triangle. I've got the ADV DVD release and never thought it was a horrible film...
The fact that Discotek isn't getting the original KOR TV special/pilot isn't surprising. It's owned by a different company and has never been released/licensed outside of Japan to my knowledge.
It's one of those cases where the license issue bites the foot of another company. The much better-known TV show is more widely appreciated. I've seen the original TV special and it's "okay."
You might still be able to find it online... I saw it close to 10 years ago...
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