(Originally posted in another, related forum.)
Greetings, all. Excellent, excellent work keeping up with One Piece on the cutting edge of episode availability. Episode 273 was so good that the series as a whole finally knocks Hunter X Hunter off the spot as the best anime I've ever seen. Too bad I now have to return to enduring week-long waits between episodes.
The topic of this post is "high-definition". As everyone knows, starting somewhere in the 200s (episode 207, apparently), One Piece started appearing in widescreen format, and indeed almost every fansub of episodes 207+ are presented in this format. I think it's important to take a moment to differentiate between "widescreen" and "high definition" so I can put my question into perspective.
Widescreen: In this case, it refers to the aspect ratio of 16:9, which is horizontally wider than what you get with standard TVs or PC monitors. It has nothing to do with resolution.
High-definition: The most relevant definition of this term is that its vertical resolution exceeds that of normal NTSC. In other words, a vertical resolution exceeding 480. And more specifically, a vertical resolution of either 720 or 1080. This doesn't necessarily have any bearing on whether the aspect ratio is widescreen or not. (Though it's usually safe to assume that if it's high-def, it's also widescreen.)
This is probably very basic knowledge to most people, and I intend it only as a quick reference for anyone who didn't know.
The two main fansubbers of One Piece episodes 207+ (GeruSama and ADC-Elites) have both, thus far, utilized a widescreen resolution of 704x396. This resolution is roughly spot-on for DVD-sourced NTSC (though it's obvious the source is a digital broadcast). It is certainly widescreen. It is not known to me whether this resolution is used because the source raws are 704x396, or instead are purposefully downsized renditions of the high-definition originals. The point is.. 704x396 is not high-definition. And more particularly, true high-definition raws of One Piece, in pristine 1280x720 resolution, are available.
Hunt for the torrent of the latest episode, 273, as a raw provided by somebody called D-CX. Watch it on your PC. If you haven't experienced One Piece in high-definition before, I recommend it. Try an A/B comparison.
So my question is, predictably: Does ADC-Elites have plans to provide high-definition versions of their fansubs?
It would be particularly great if already-released episodes could see the high-def treatment, though this would probably be pushing things.
There are only two barriers to this task that I can think of. First, the subtitles themselves would need to be rendered in a higher resolution before being superimposed. But after all of the main challenges are already done (translating, timing, specialized animated fonts, etc.), such a consideration has to be trivial. Second, the filesize of a fansubbed episode of anime in 720p will probably clock in at over 400mb. This second item should only be a worry to the sort of people for whom quality isn't a concern. There are probably plenty of people out there who would happily download 50mb versions of fansubs with postage-stamp resolutions, yet nobody releases anything of such low quality anymore. So there's my case in point: People do care about quality, especially the fansubbers themselves, for whom the entire operation is an exercise in craftmanship.
Anyway, after episode 273, which was, to me, a landmark in my history of watching anime, I felt compelled to see if I couldn't give this possibility a push in a positive direction. I am fortunate in that my understanding of the Japanese language is decent, so I can enjoy watching the 1280x720 raw of episode 273 without really missing the subtitles, which I have done at least a dozen times. But it would be great if future subtitling efforts were to take advantage of the availability of high-definition raws, and I am impressed enough with ADC-Elite's perfectionism that I feel confident that my plea isn't wasted breath.