As an attempt to recoup some of heavy losses taken by the original's copyright change debacle, it's an admirable attempt with admirable intentions, despite ultimately collapsing at the box office. Isn't it funny just how unbankable the walking dead were before their resurgence a few years ago? The biggest alteration is the character of Barbara being taken from catatonic shambles with female genitalia to strong, self-actualized woman reflective of the cultural shift in the years since the original. However, the greatest achievement is how the same situation plays out with nearly no change in how the living have to deal with their surroundings and others even with over twenty years since Romero's classic (before cell phones and Wi-fi, that is). It almost hurts to say this, but this one stands as a far more complementary and thoughtful off-shoot to the "...of the Dead" series than George's own Document and Survival.
This Japanese VHS is no different compared to the MPAA "R" version released everywhere. The contrast is noticeably darker, like many of the country's tapes, than Columbia's U.S. presentation. The only explaination I can think of for this phenomena is Japan's NTSC video standard being set at a different black level (0 IRE) than North America's NTSC (7.5 IRE). So if the equipment in Japan used in creating the video master and VHS duplication is set to this unique standard, maybe the picture appears darker when played back though American VCRs and TVs? At least that's my theory...