Saturday, 15 July 2017

Unboxing [UK]: Belladonna of Sadness - Collector's Edition (Blu-ray) [NSFW]

Amazon recently lowered the prices for some of the anime titles and this particular one was at its lowest in recent months. I've been interested in checking it out so I picked it up.

Also due to the nature of this film and the contents of this release, please be advised that this post is Not Safe For Work.

Belladonna of Sadness (Kanashimi no Belladonna) is a 1973 avant-garde adult film from director Eiichi Yamamoto as part of a trilogy of adult anime movies called Animerama, produced by Osamu Tezuka. Tezuka was not involved with Belladonna of Sadness but he did take part with the other two movies Cleopatra and Senya Ichiya Monogatari alongside Yamamoto. This is a unique title to bring up because it's a psychedelic adult film that has content which is questionable, had this been released decades ago in the UK it would have been butchered by the British Board of Film Classification.

Regardless, the film managed to reach the UK in its entirety with no cuts or censorship as the BBFC have become more relaxed on anime (numerous ecchi titles earned a 15 & 18 uncut with no issues). I personally picked it up as it's also the oldest anime film I'll be able to watch (until Momotaro comes out) and it's animation as well as the soundtrack have been well-received. Despite MAL noting this down as a hentai film, it's for the most part more of an adult oriented anime film as you're not supposed to enjoy the H-scenes in this.

In fact the film was reported to be lost until Cinelicious Pics stepped in to restore the master, giving it a 4K restoration treatment. The film isn't out on Ultra 4K Blu-ray but has been scaled to 1080p for normal Blu-ray. Anime Limited have shared the masters with the US distributor for this release. The film is also in Japanese audio with English subtitles only as there are no English dubs produced. There is also no DVD version for this title across both English zones. The Blu-ray disc is also region free, just like the Cinelicious Pics release (A & B have been tested at the very least).

The Collector's Edition offers a standard Blu-ray case rather than the usual digipack packaging, and my guess is because it's just a single disc. Personally I felt that a one disc digipack doesn't really work that well after seeing Kill la Kill Part 3's set. Alongside the Blu-ray case are a couple artcards and a booklet housed inside a chipboard box. The box itself is clean with no text or logos aside from the film's name. Exclusive to the UK release is a special article commissioned by Anime Limited included in the booklet.

You can order the collector's edition release on AllTheAnime and Amazon UK.

Blu-ray Specs:
Languages: Japanese
Audio: DTS-MA 1.0 Mono, DTS-MA 2.0
Video: 1080p HD Native 16:9
Region: A B
Subtitles: English
Subtitles Locked: No
Discs: 1

Plot Synopsis (via Anime Limited):
"One of the great lost masterpieces of Japanese animation, never before officially released in the U.K., BELLADONNA OF SADNESS is a mad, swirling, psychedelic light-show of medieval tarot-card imagery with horned demons, haunted forests and La Belle Dame Sans Merci with J.R.R. Tolkien influences. The last film in the Animerama trilogy produced by the godfather of Japanese anime & manga, Osamu Tezuka and directed by his longtime collaborator Eiichi Yamamoto (ASTRO BOY and KIMBA THE WHITE LION), BELLADONNA unfolds as a series of spectacular still watercolor paintings that bleed and twist together. A young woman, Jeanne (voiced by Aiko Nagayama) is assaulted by the local lord on her wedding night. To take revenge, she makes a pact with the Devil himself (voiced by Tatsuya Nakadai, from Akira Kurosawa's RAN) who appears as a sprite and transforms her into a black-robed vision of madness and desire."

On-Disc Extra Content:
Interviews with Director Eiichi Yamamoto, Art Director Kuni Fukai, and Composer Masahiko Satoh.
Green Band Trailer
Red Band Trailer
Original Trailer

Collector's Edition Extras:
Chipboard rigid box packaging with a single Blu-ray case
20 page Booklet
6 Artcards

Belladonna of Sadness is available only on Blu-ray from Anime Limited.

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Member of the Anime UK News forum, and also once part of the Sheffield Hallam Visual Arts society throughout 2013-2017. Been collecting anime since 2012 and supported the anime distributors ever since. Also been hanging around on the Blu-ray forum and Fandom Post forums.

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