Now as you can see, the cover art and name is different. In Japan, the name was shortened to "JM" for one reason or another, and the DVD case resembles an audio CD case in shape and size.
The DVD content itself is much meatier than the US counterpart. The US DVD menu simply has a "Play All," "Languages," "Subtitles," and "Scene Selections" options, none of which contain even a shred of video or audio elements. The Japan DVD starts out with a cyberspace animation going to a menu that has a "Resume/Scene Select/Digital Pamphlet/Set Up/Play Movie" set of buttons. The menus feature cyberspace animations to bridge their changes. The menus also feature original artwork meant to tie in with the movies visual aesthetic of technology (the setup menu, for example, is based off of Johnny's download rig from the beginning of the movie). The Digital Pamphlet section contains a large weath of special features. A news article about William Gibson, a Gibson Bibliography, the Japanese trailer, poster art, a photo gallery. Two of the options offer definitions of objects, concepts and places from the movie.
You can see this all for yourself, as I have included a .zip file containing screen captures of the entire menu system, as well as over 80 screen captures from the various new/alternate scenes found in the Japanese edition. You can download this .zip file here.
The soundtrack is completely different. What we seem to get is grunge metal instrumentals. This sets the mood completely differently. It all feels a bit more dirty and industrial, which fits the movie much better than the US version's soundtrack. It really goes to show that soundtracks have a very strong affect on the way that a movie feels.
I should also mention that the majority of the new scenes revolve around the character of Takahashi. Thus, using this particular edit of the movie in Japan makes sense from a marketing point of view, as the actor (Beat Takashi) is apparently quite a popular actor in crime drama movies over there.
To the left, you will also see images taken from the Japanese release.
Below you will find a YouTube clip I have prepared with many of the scenes:
For those that want something more detailed than the above video:
First off, the opening is different. We get the whole text scrolling down
the screen, but there is not that stupid looking laser lines behind it,
it is just white scrolling text. Looks much better. Plus, there are no opening
cast credits until the scene with Johnny crossing over the protesters.
We get a slightly extended
scene with Johnny and the hooker at the
a different take of her saying her lines, as the voice inflection is
quite different. This time around she sounds a bit more natural.
Also, in the US version she says, "Johnny?" and he says, "Yeah?"
and she replies, "nothing." from off camera (obviously dubbed in). In
the Japanese version she says "Johnny? <pause> where you going
this time?", Johnny says "I travel. It's how I make my living, data
the hotel, we get to watch the news show that he stands in front of
longer, as they talk about protests
against NAS legislation.
through the fishbowl. In this scene, Johnny meets with with some guy
to get the memory doubler. The guy informs Johnny that he could not
get the double Johnny wanted, only a crappy knock off. Johnny is
disappointed by it and says "Not
even close." in English. Funny to hear
leaves, Takahashi goes to turn on his little terminal, and is greeted by
one of J-Bone's pirate broadcasts.
New scene where Takahashi is watching a video of his dead daughter
and the woman's face pops on and talks to him. In this version she
says "How sad. So very sad Mr. Takahashi. The loss of a child.
Where I am Takahashi, there is only memory. Memory of the play of
conscience. An endless reckoning of the score. But I see you there, I
know you. Your purpose is lost. At the very core of all your power; there's
only an emptiness, hollowness, carved in the shape of the absent child".
Upon seeing her start talking, he looks visibly shaken, and promptly reaches
into his pocket and starts popping some pills...
Nice allusion to the whole sex change thing.
After the scene with Takahashi showing off his tattoo to the camera,
Takahashi says "Twice you tried to capture the courier. Twice you have
failed...and you didn't inform me. Don't let that happen again. Locate him.
Inform me. I will supervise
his capture. Understood?"
sewer/subway/whatever-it-is after Johnny wakes up from his bad trip and
she is putting away her stuff. She names off certain things as she puts
them away, but the list is different. And she refers to her grenade as a
In the scene where she throws the grenade while in the computer shop,
her line as she throws it is changed to, "Just a beer opener..."
Scene with the street preacher in his church preaching to a rows of people
twitching from NAS and looking generally bad-off. He says, "I too was
stricken by the sickness that devours the silver pathways of the soul.
But the lord came to me and I was HEALED and made POST-HUMAN! The
darkness lays upon you now, but I am come...to lead you into the light."
At this point, he disrobes, showing off his "upgrades", little metal bumps all
over his skin. In the background, he notices, Takahashi's men arrive
with the liquid nitrogen container for Johnny's head. He then says, "My
children, I sense a need for meditation, I must leave you now. The sermon
In the scene in which the street preacher breaks into the doctor's office when
Spider is checking Johnny's implants out, he yells something that I can't
understand before yelling "The cure is mine!"
the rocket launcher person to only launch if they lose the element of
surprise. Also the scenes of fighting inside of heaven are extended to
include more things. The lines by the guy who 'drops a bug on spider'
are extended a bit.
After Johnny has been introduced to Jones and calls him a fish, and
gets 'corrected' (by the EMP attack), J-Bone says, "Not only is he a
mammal, but he's a junkie," and he gives him a big injection of something,
"navy got him all addicted to this to make him work for them. I just give
it to him to so he thinks he's still swimmin."
While the street preacher is pinning Jane against the wall he says "Jesus is
waiting.". As he fight with Johnny he says "God's holy cure must come to
me, I am his servant." And as Johnny starts to lose the fight, he says, "The
cure, the holiest of communions, and when I hold God's cure I envy God."
There is no 'wave' effect as the EMP weapon is shooting at the Street Preacher.
Right before Johnny hacks his brain, J-Bone explains what needs to
happen. He says, "One problem, if we do it the easy way, we get garbage because
of the seepage. Now if I loop it through Jones, it will save the cure...it will probably
kill you." Johnny waits
a moment and then chooses, "loop it".
explain. Its more confusing. Quite different, and the context of events changed
around quite a bit. You see him ride in on the underside of the first image. You
hear the computer say, "Intruder alert, intruder alert. Unauthorized interface
attempt," and then "Lethal neural feedback now in effect." The computer than
says, in a more civilized, human voice, "Final warning, do not attempt interface."
Johnny does his Zen, mind doubling thing. The virus then starts to attack Johnny,
but he is able to dodge most of the attacks, and withstand the few that hit him. Jones'
avatar comes sweeping in. He reaches into the virus shooting thing, and pulls out the
blurry image. He says, "loop it." He smashes the image into his head, and as he
does this, his body falls apart and shatters as the computer voice repeats, "Code
Accepted. Code Accepted," and the download starts. Cue really cheesy music as
the download commences in pretty much the same way as it does in the US version.
After the download is complete, Johnny slips out of the chair, seemingly dead. There
is no restoration of his childhood memories as there is in the US version.