Thanks Nick. I've been interested in the differences between releases so I picked it up today.https://www.jbhifi.com.au/movies-tv-sho ... es/638807/
It's AU$29.98, and is stocked in the Cartoons section rather than Anime. The product details are wrong - it is indeed NTSC 29.97fps 4:3, although it's region 4. There's no actual region lock or content protection.
Disc 1 - episodes 1-10, 768MB VOBs.
Disc 2 - episodes 11-23, 590MB VOBs.
Disc 3 - episodes 24-36, 590MB VOBs.
Disc 4 - episodes 37-50, 552MB VOBs.
It's almost like they intended it to be 5 discs like the US release, then started cramming it down to 4. The 4:3 aspect ratio means the picture is cropped. There are no ads, trailers, special features, subtitles, or extra audio tracks. There's a menu for selecting Play All/Episode and an episode menu. There are chapter marks on OP/ED boundaries and one in the middle. This is a super generic cheap edition. It says "limited edition" on the cover, which means nothing. I really cannot understand why they chose to release this cropped version. Who has 4:3 screens these days? I don't think I've seen one in shops for a decade. What Australian with an ancient 4:3 screen can play NTSC discs anyway? The 25fps widescreen PAL version exists, why not re-encode that down to 4 discs?
(these are raw screenshots, I'm not going to correct them to exactly 4:3)
For comparison, this is the widescreen Australian release from around 2005 scaled to the same proportion:
I wanted to show a screenshot from the US version but my player is set to the wrong region at the moment.
The original Australian widescreen version was a Sony release, and this new one is a joint Sony / ViaVision / Madman release according to the logos on the back. So I guess Madman got some kind of rights to it? Except Madman are usually so good with the quality of their releases. It's not listed on their web site so maybe they're ashamed of this one, haha.