Even after all of the negative reviews, I couldn't resist the great J&R BD sale that included this title. I had misgivings, of course, but figured in the end I'd be out $10.99 at worse.
Boy, am I glad I purchased this.
I took a lot of time last night comparing this to my R3 Edko, and the Blu-ray release positively trounces the Edko in picture quality. It's not even a close call. The image is far superior.
Which is not to say it doesn't come up short compared to other BDs. The artifacts that are apparent (like the "interlaced" looking line shifts in the very first longshot of Mei) appear in both versions. But the image is otherwise greatly superior on the BD. I cannot stress this enough: there is simply no comparison.
I can't adequately compare the audio as I'm not set up for lossless. I think the full bitrate track on the Edko disc is superior to the lossy one on the BD, but not nearly as much as I was expecting. Hearing them back-to-back, however, gave me some pause about the Edko track - it didn't seem to prioritize and place the sounds quite as well as the BD track in some instances. I didn't spend a lot of time comparing audio as I'm unable to playback the lossless track on the BD, but the differences between the lossy BD track and the full bitrate Edko DTS track are more minor than I expected.
In short, perhaps a remaster could improve things considerably, but IMO the BD trounces the Edko disc in image quality and for that alone is worth a purchase. I'm disappointed that this is the edited version, as I'm among that cadre of viewers who finds the more graphic images to be both somewhat jarring in the context of this film, but also much more effective (particularly in the final scene). But this drawback seems to me to be greatly outweighed by the far superior image quality, making the BD version a much more satisfying viewing experience.
EDIT: I should add that I was watching these discs with the following equipment:
-Edko: upscaled to 1080i via HDMI from Oppo 981HD
-BD: output at 1080i via component from Panny BD-30 (so I wasn't even viewing the highest resolution this disc is capable of, suggesting it might look even better in comparison on your equipment).
EDIT2: I should also clarify that the comparison was with the remastered 2-disc Edko release (superior to their first release)