Hey all, my boy Quazza and I have been working with ESRGAN for a while now, building AI models for film cleaning and remastery purposes. After several months of us just talking about how cool a project it would be, we're happy to finally bring you the Sonic CD Opening, cleaned and upscaled (MKV). Now by popular demand: Youtube. Before I go further, we get it. AI upscaling is controversial, especially in a communities that pride themselves on archiving the genuine article. But the thing to consider here is that it's extremely unlikely we'll ever get a proper rescan of Sonic CD's animation ever (Seriously SEGA, hit me up! We can scan and clean using the latest methods, no AI needed!). The 25th Anniversary DVD release and Mega Collection versions are what they are, and this isn't intended to replace those, but the dot crawl, coloration issues, compression... There were always issues with the opening animation that made us feel we could do it justice with a little ESRGAN love. And thanks to a some new model training techniques and a little effort we've finally been able to achieve this. We stuck to our proprietary models for most of the frame cleaning and scaling, using the film cels SEGA released not too long ago as a guide post. Some of the darker scenes needed some extra support and it's thanks to the recently released celframes model we were able to fill in some gaps. As for the discovery I mentioned in the title? Well, while inspecting a near-final draft frame-by-frame, Quazza noticed Sonic does a flip just prior to his famous one-armed boulder pose in the video. While we hesitate to call it a true "animation error", it's pretty clear the original intention was for Sonic to front flip cleanly into a drop versus a middair pivot. See Quazza's tweet for a comparison video. It's just speculation, but it could have been an artistic choice on the part of the animation team to make it Sonic appear more active in that scene. Personally, it does seem to change the flow of things, looking back the intended frame order. We opted to use this frame order in our release. So what about the Sonic CD ending? Well sadly, despite being equally as amazing as the intro, the Mega Collection ending suffers heavily from temporal scanline blending, essentially ghosting and blending frames throughout the video. Gems might be a good candidate, but it suffers from its own issues, albeit less ghosting. Generally, from what we can tell, outside of the SEGA CD release, every release of the Sonic CD animations use the same, poorly scanned, digital source, from Sonic Jam onward. Now I'm not ruling out work being done on it (there's a chance we can salvage it depending on what tools we bring in) but truth be told the most ideal solution would be a rescan of the original film master by SEGA/Toei. As a consolation prize, I took the time to run our method on a few choice frames from the ending (scaled 4x, prior to scaledown for quality preservation) so we can at least dream for now. Anyway, here's hoping SEGA is willing to revisit Sonic CD's animations one day. Film doesn't last forever and this is a piece of animation history near and dear to me. I'd love to see Sonic CD rescanned, even if it makes this work obsolete.