|Location||Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan|
|Operational Status||LaserDisc Replication Off-Line|
Mitsubishi Plastics began manufacturing LaserDiscs as early as 1985. At that time, they were pressing discs under the name of Herald Pony and several others. Most of the early Mitsubishi product was confined to Japanese releases, most notably several MGM/UA Japanese editions of domestic films like Electric Dreams.
As with most new manufacturers introduced to the market, Image Entertainment began using Mitsubishi in the late 1980s to supplement their increasing need for replication space. With initial quality judged very good, Image presented more and more of their product to Mitsubishi for replication. Splitting the mastering of many titles with Pioneer Japan, Mitshbishi continued to produce quality products. This was further fueled by newly introduced THX® LaserDisc Program, which certified the facility for replication, making it the 3rd facility to receive that status. This alone, however, whould not protect them from the horror yet to come.
Image continued to press more and more titles at this Japanese facility, including may Disney titles. Such classic, and now out of print titles like The Rescuers Down Under, The Great Mouse Detective and Beauty and the Beast: A Work in Progress were produced. This is when bad things started to happen. Laserrot began to appear on several recient titles from the facility. Beauty and the Beast: WIP faired poorly, suffering a staggering failure rate. Not all discs were affected, and still others waited several years before showing any signs of failure. Even titles issued under the THX banner began failing, including The Star Wars Trilogy: The Definitive Collection and The Abyss: Special Edition.
Basic panic insued in the industry as folks began claiming LaserRot affected every Mitsubishi disc ever made. This just isn't the case. While several discs did develope troubles, the problem was much more isolated than some would have us believe. In my personal collection, only Beauty and the Beast: Work in Progress developed any troubles. Image Entertainment had the title repressed, at Mitsubishi, and has been very good about replacing defective copies. Other titles which have been known to have failed have been repressed as existing stock is deplentished. Titles which were put on moritorium, such as the Star Wars box set did not receive a special repressing to account for sets which were lost. Mitsubishi has cleared all the problems with their facility and current product is again some of the best in the industry.
Mint markings for Mitsubishi discs are very unique in their presentation. In addition to the catalog number being included, the stamper numbers are very large, unmistakable and completely unique to Mitsubishi. The image on the left is a full Mitsubishi mastered and replicated disc. Note the style the catalog number has, with the etching effect on the inner mirror. This scan was taken from the 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Widescreen release of "Silver Streak". The image to the right, taken from the Miramax Home Entertainment release of "Pulp Fiction", is the other variation of Mitsubishi discs. This is always seen on discs which are Mastered by Pioneer Japan, but pressed at Mitsubishi. Titles which currently fall into this catagory are any which feature Dolby Digital (AC-3) audio. It also appears that Pioneer masteres very long sides for replication at Mitsubishi. While it isn't always the case, it has been seen that Mitsubishi will master side 1, Pioneer will master side 2 and the complete set will be replicated by Mitsubishi.
Use of the Mitsubishi facility seems to have dropped off during 1997. While Image Entertainment still uses the facility to a certain degree, the number of discs appearing on US shores has dropped markedly. Their quality continues to be high, however many have complained about the disc labels being used. Discs tend to skid inside many Pioneer built LaserDisc players.
Overall, Mitsubishi manufactures some of the best discs available. While they did have some quality problems in the late 80s and early 90s, these issues have been resolved and their product is once again of high quality.