Important Notice for The Ninja Panda

Sorry for not checking in for a week (or 8 days really) again. To be honest, it will start happening more frequently. With new releases slowing down, I think I need a bit of a break, so in lieu of my weekly update, I’m giving this notice. Managing the site has become tiring for me, and people who paid attention to my anime site might start worrying that I’ll quit. I don’t think it’ll come to that because, unlike with my anime rips, I do want to continue doing rips for myself if nothing else (and I’ll still upload them because why not?). It’s more like a mix of changes in my life over the past year or so and getting behind on everything I had hoped to do for this site has made it, to be quite honest, stressful. I already have enough of that from work (and I probably need a vacation too…).

I also let the scope of this site get a bit out of hand back when I had both more time and motivation. Now that I have less of both, I’m pretty much overwhelmed by all of that. I’ll have to also seriously consider narrowing the scope of what I do for this site. What that will entail, I’m not sure. I’ve somewhat (not actually seriously) thought about seeing if anyone wanted to contribute to the site management while I mostly stick to doing rips. I figure that it would be just better to contribute to one of the various other fan sites instead, especially since my username is kind of attached to this one (would be a bit weird to have someone else managing a site with my username). I don’t think either will happen anytime soon. It’s more just one of many ideas that I’ve had that I quickly dismissed.

So I’m going to slow down and just release things at my own pace until more new stuff comes out. To everyone who has requested stuff and I mentioned that I’d put it on my list of things to do, well, first, I apologize. Second, I do still have that list on my computer. It’s just the list has gotten really long, and, realistically, I won’t get around to doing that stuff on the list anytime soon. As in, I wouldn’t actually count on it happening, but I also won’t guarantee that I won’t eventually get around to it on a whim.

Anyway, I guess I still do have the audio rips for the UTAFUMI Blu-ray. I guess that’ll be my first project on this slow and not-so-steady pace that I’ve somewhat been taking already but am now making “official”. I haven’t started them yet. Again, I should emphasize the slow part of this process. After that, well, I did mention a while back that I never did the menu videos and FLAC audio for PERSUASIO. I’m not sure if anyone cares about that, and I usually don’t bother keeping the FLAC tracks in my main media folder, so unless someone specifically requests it, it’ll be at the very bottom of my to do list. I did also mention h.265 tests, but I think those will be cancelled for now.

Also, did anyone still want any torrents for recently released stuff? I had mentioned that I would do torrents, but if no one is interested anymore, I’ll probably skip them.

And just in case anyone wonders, no, this has nothing to do with any legal pressure or anything along those lines. It really is about my mental state, lack of time, and all of that.

So, again, I’m sorry for disappointing everyone and not following up on stuff that I’d said that I’d do. I’m not going to bother reiterating my excuses since I know they won’t really mean anything. I’m disappointed in myself, but I felt it was best to just be honest and not drag it out. As I mentioned, this won’t be an end for this site, even though it might sound like the beginning of the end. I may end up seriously reducing the scope of this site, but I do want to continue doing rips, just at my own pace. Will I get back to a faster pace in the future? Maybe, but I wouldn’t count on it, barring me suddenly getting rich and being able to retire early…

The Ninja Panda

Weekly Update (Sep. 11, 2016 – Sep. 17, 2016)

Well, I just made a few posts right before this, so I’ll go ahead and sum those up. First, I did finally release my rips for the Blu-ray from UTAFUMI. Look a few posts back for that. Then I posted about a couple of announcements from the band. They announced the UROBOROS leg for their TOUR16-17 series of tours. Also, they announced a Twitter project to select songs from VULGAR and DUM SPIRO SPERO for the previously announced BEST ALBUM. See the past couple of posts for more details.

As for what’s upcoming, well, I do still need to do the audio rips for the live feature from the UTAFUMI Blu-ray. I just need to find the time to sit down and do that. Then I think I’ll take a break from new releases and try to catch up on the site maintenance. I need to create download pages for “recent” releases, re-upload some stuff, etc. With how little time I’ve been dedicating to this site lately, I think that’ll actually take a while…

The Ninja Panda

BEST ALBUM Twitter Project Announced

It looks like DIR EN GREY is allowing fans to have a say into the song selection for the upcoming BEST ALBUM. In particular, they’re asking you to tweet the title of one song from either VULGAR or DUM SPIRO SPERO with a short explanation. The way they phrase it, you’re supposed to pick one from the 29 songs from the albums combined, not one from each. I don’t know if there’s anything to stop you though. This is currently live and will go through Oct. 3.

EDIT: Per the comments, it’s actually one per album.

I should point out that they mention that this is the first step, so it’s likely there will be more parts to this later. Maybe they’ll continue to ask for songs from other albums based on the albums they’re covering with the TOUR16-17 tours. VULGAR and DUM SPIRO SPERO are the first two there as well after all. I guess that would mean that KISOU and UROBOROS are next.

With VULGAR being included, it does appear that the BEST ALBUM will include stuff from all of their albums, not just since the release of the DECADE albums.

Source post:


The Ninja Panda


Well, these were done this past week, but there were issues uploading them, and then I got kind of busy at the end of the week. Anyway, here are my rips for the Blu-ray from UTAFUMI. The features include 10 song performances from their Feb. 12, 2016, show and a “Scenes From Recording” mini-documentary covering the recording of the title track “Utafumi”. I also went ahead and threw in the main menu video. This one actually has the menu text on the background unlike other recent Blu-rays.

As normal, I have three resolutions, though they used wider aspect ratios, so there was some vertical cropping. Again, as usual, I used Opus audio for the highest resolution and AAC for the lower resolutions. I also have the FLAC tracks as separate files.

I feel like I should point out one thing about the live feature. It looks like they used some cameras with rolling shutters that manage to make the flashing lights appear even more erratic than normal live videos as parts of the screen will flash at different times. I don’t know if this has any affect on people with epilepsy, as I honestly don’t know much about it. If nothing else, it does serve to make these segments more confusing to look at (parts of “Uroko” are especially bad).

Both mirrors should have all of the files.

Mirror 1:!Dd102bTT!VxqtE564orqZH7TBZ7TaBQ

Mirror 2:!IwsWxJpB!pYq8C71MMu-hnXGUZDPgaw

Now to get to the technical details and the video in particular. The live feature and the main menu just used my normal Gradfun3 debanding, resizing, and encoding. The recording feature required some deshimmering, which I did in the form of edge-masked QTGMC. There’s still a decent amount of shimmering from apparent interlacing though. I’m not entirely sure why, since it seems like they used ~23.976fps cameras, which should be progressive-framed and, thus, not have interlacing artifacts. I didn’t see any obvious frame skipping or blending that would suggest they used an interlaced ~29.970fps camera and reduced the framerate. Either way, I reduced the shimmering as much as I could without feeling like I was drastically altering the video. As mentioned above, the two main features also were cropped.

I should also note that the bitrates for the full resolution videos for both main features ended up quite high. Both of them seem to have a lot of fine grain, which increases bitrate requirements but also softens significantly upon downscaling. The lower resolution videos ended up having just a little higher bitrates than normal. I do wonder if they’re using different cameras than they have been. Then again, I don’t know if the studio actually owns the cameras or just rents them or a bit of both. That does make be wonder about UHD footage and if they’ll start releasing UHD Blu-rays anytime soon, which I’d be woefully unprepared for, not that I have any evidence to suggest that they will.

As there really aren’t any more relevant details to point out about the audio, I’ll just make a quick comment on the chapters. I didn’t add any additional chapters for the live feature, but I did retime them to my normal about 0.5 seconds before the beginning of a song with “Chain repulsion” being a bit of an exception. The Blu-ray didn’t actually have chapters for the recording feature, so I added some. I just stuck to having a chapter at the introduction, beginning of each members section (minus Kyo since he didn’t have a dedicated section), and the conclusion.

The Ninja Panda

Weekly Update (Sep. 4, 2016 – Sep. 10, 2016)

Another week has passed. There were a couple of posts just now. First, Seelentau uploaded some scans for the MACABRE booklet and allowed me to share the link. Then there was an update on sukekiyo’s upcoming MUTANS live Blu-ray.

On my end, I’ve been working on my rips for the UTAFUMI Blu-ray, and I’ll start uploading those soon. I’ve been a bit sick (nothing serious), so I’ve been a bit slow getting anything done, but, well, it should be done unless I suddenly find something wrong.

After that, I’ll have the audio rips for the live part. Then I’ll get to the other stuff I mentioned in my last weekly update.

The Ninja Panda

sukekiyo MUTANS Update

Thanks again to Seelentau for alerting me to this and linking the kyotaku translation. sukekiyo will be selling early copies of their upcoming live Blu-ray MUTANS at their December 21st show at SHIBUYA WWW X. They’ll also have a venue limited present for people who order their copies at that concert and subsequent concerts. See the following links for more details.

sukekiyo Official Site:

kyotaku Translation:

The Ninja Panda