As some people may already be aware, YouTube quietly added a new “HD-like” streaming format some time ago that is much better than the “high quality” version that’s publicly available. Two days ago, they added their new widescreen player to the site, which makes excellent use of this new format. To help illustrate the improvement, please see the video of the Gundam 00 S2 opening sequence above. The quality pretty much speaks for itself, but notice how sharp the text is at fullscreen — it even looks crisp when blown up to 1920×1200. Now compare this to the “high quality” version that came out long ago of the same video (which some people have this new HD-like version confused as):
Show High Quality version ▼
Similar to how the “high quality” format can be viewed by appending “&fmt=18” to the end of any video URL, this new HD-like format can be viewed by appending “&fmt=22“. However, there are some nuances, which I’ve noticed in my preliminary testing of this higher resolution/bitrate version.
So what does this have to do with the anime world? Well for one, it allows us to post some pretty high quality videos here on RC (albeit YouTube’s copyright infringement is pretty stingy about OP/ED sequences). More importantly though, anime that’s licensed to be streamed with official subtitles should benefit drastically, provided that the studio chooses to upload a 720p copy of the episode. With GONZO leading the forefront in this area, it’ll be interesting to see what they decide to do for The Tower of Druaga ~the Sword of URUK~, sequel to ~the Aegis of URUK~, when it airs in January 2009. In addition, Viz Media has announced that they will be streaming Naruto Shippuuden with official subtitles a week after it airs in Japan — a move that is supported by longtime fansubbers of the series, Dattebayo, who has decided to drop the series in light of this.
With users permitted to upload files up to 1GB now and no apparent cap in terms of length (previously capped at 100MB and 10 minutes), I can only imagine what licensed accounts are allowed to upload. An entire episode of an anime in high definition doesn’t take up more than 400MB using DivX, with the video above only taking a meager 22MB using x264, so it seems like users can already upload complete episodes without re-encoding. Of course, this is assuming that YouTube has removed the 10 minute cap on the length, which I have yet to confirm myself. In any case, length restrictions never applied to the accounts of studios, who will undoubtedly want to save something for DVD/Blu-ray sales. As such, I don’t expect GONZO to upload 720p streaming episodes, especially with all those YouTube downloader applications/sites out there, but we’ll have to wait and see.
To get your eyes popping out of your head some more, I’ve included some additional videos for your viewing pleasure. First up is the opening to one of my favorite series this season, GA-REI -zero-, featuring “Paradise Lost” by Chihara Minori (茅原 美里). As a prequel endorsed by the manga’s creator, GA-REI -zero- started off with a purposely misleading story, cast, and official website, but quickly turned into an awesome series that has far exceeded my expectations (…especially as of late).
Show GA-REI -zero- OP ▼
Next up is Rosario + Vampire CAPU2’s opening, “DISCOTHEQUE” by Mizuki Nana (水樹 奈々):
Show Rosario + Vampire CAPU2 OP ▼
Then the ever-so-popular Toradora!’s opening, “Pre-Parade” by Kugimiya Rie (釘宮 理恵), Horie Yui (堀江 由衣), Kitamura Eri (喜多村 英梨):
Show Toradora! OP ▼
Gundam 00 S2’s ending, “Prototype” by Ishikawa Chiaki (石川 智晶):
Show Gundam 00 S2 ED ▼
And finally, excellent use of HD with SOUL EATER’s second opening, “PAPERMOON” by Tommy heavenly6:
Show SOUL EATER OP2 ▼
Like the new quality of YouTube? Let me know what you think.
While I’d like to divert attention away from myself, I guess this post warrants a re-introduction of some sort. As most regular readers are probably aware, I was contributing here on a regular basis for the greater portion of this year, but had to part ways for “personal reasons”. This was mainly due to a shift in priorities after I realized that I was spending too much of my free time on this site (i.e. basically all of it). However, Omni expressed an interest in having me around as someone who posts about “cool anime-related things” such as the above. Given how this entails a much looser blogging schedule, how it was fun working with him, and how I still wanted to contribute in some way for the readers, this seemed ideal for me. It also gives me more time and freedom to post about other anime-related things, such as the Strike Witches shooting game and their uncensored DVDs. Since I’m following a fair amount of series this season, thoughts constantly pop up in my head, many of which are inspiring enough to say a few words about. There are always new PVs coming out all the time too.
Will I go back to covering series regularly? To be honest, I’m not sure at this point. Ideally, I’d like to stay clear of that path and use the Snapshot format at best, leaving the detailed coverage to Omni and Trillian. The two of them are doing a great job in that department, so I don’t feel like there’s any pressing need for me to join in.
…would like to thank all the supportive readers for their encouraging remarks in the past.