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Robert Harris

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I'm a huge fan of the works of Hayao Miyazaki, and Studio Ghibli in Japan.

I've owned this series of films in several different incarnations, but haven't been as pleased with the
overall presentation since Shout Factory announced their Steelbook series via their GKIDS line.

Some may believe that the series is being over-published - it was with Disney for awhile. And of course,
there are all of the plush toys, costumes, T-shirts, book bags, comics, books and other merchandising tie-ins.

But during a time when virtually all animation was being pushed through computers, the Studio
Ghibli films were still (for the most part) hand-drawn art, with Princess Mononoke (1997) being the first
to include a serious portion of CGI.

I have my favorites, and two of them are just being released in Shout's new Steelbook format - Castle in the Sky (1986), and Spirited Away (2001). At 79, he's still at work, and if anyone isn't familiar with his later works, take a look at The Wind Rises (2013).

In a similar style, also consider Weathering with You, which I recently reviewed in 4k, directed by Makoto Shinkai.

What caught my attention in these new (actually re) releases, is simply their new packaging, which caught my eye as pure animation art.

I hate to sound as if I'm hawking these films, but I love them, and with families spending a bit more time indoors, and the Holidays approaching, the series makes wonderful gifts. It also allows Shout to publish more of them, as there are a handful yet to come to complete the series in Steel. Not that there's anything wrong with the myriad of Disney princesses, and Pixar wonders, but these are just special.

As someone who normally tosses any but the most interesting slipcases into recycling, this is a series that looks far better with the face of the artwork exposed, as opposed to the spine. That small Renoir can go in the back closet.

And for those unaware, don't for a moment equate these with Saturday morning limited animation fair.

Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Very Highly Recommended

RAH

 

dpippel

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I love Miyazaki's work as much as you do Mr. Harris! Do you happen to know if any of these Shout Factory steelbook releases are new transfers, or are they the same as the previous Blu-rays, albeit with nicer packaging?
 

jayembee

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Big Miyazaki fan here. I got into anime in general back in the late 80s/early 90s, but lost interest in a lot of it after a few years. Miyazaki, and Ghibli in general, though, I can't get enough of. I confess that I had gotten the Disney editions on Blu-ray, and then after GKids acquired them, I replaced the Disney ones (I'm a sucker for a uniform set). The SteelBooks are tempting, but...I just can't bring myself to re-buy these titles. There are too many other things out there to get.

But for anyone who hasn't delved into Ghibli yet, yeah, don't hesitate.

The two titles you're pushing here, Robert, are two of my favorites. But I have to say that my #1 favorite is My Neighbor Totoro.
 

JoshZ

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Unless RAH can confirm otherwise, I would imagine these are the same discs GKIDS released previously (distributed by Shout! Factory), just repackaged into SteelBooks.
 

jayembee

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That's been my impression (hence the not wanting to re-re-re-re-buy).
 
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Paul Penna

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Good to see these getting renewed attention via these new issues. Big issue for me on these is how subtitle translations fare; only having ones that are based on the English dub tracks (“dubtitles“) is a deal-breaker. Be interesting to see what the deal is with these. What I've seen of other GKIDS Japanese animation releases seem pretty good with this.
 
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JoshZ

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Good to see these getting renewed attention via these new issues. Big issue for me on these is how subtitle translations fare; only having ones that are based on the English dub tracks (“dubtitles“) is a deal-breaker. Be interesting to see what the deal is with these. What I've seen of other GKIDS Japanese animation releases seem pretty good with this.

I haven't seen them all, but most of GKIDS' Ghibli releases have proper English subtitles that fix the "dubtitles" issue that plagued previous editions.
 

AnthonyClarke

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I'm also a fan of Miyazaki's work, especially 'Laputa;, 'Nausicaa', 'Kiki' (not to be confused with Almodovar's slightly different 'Kika' and many others.
And of course, the rending 'Grave of the Fireflies', one of the finest anti-war movies extant.
 

Johnny Angell

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You're showing your age, Mr. Harris. Saturday morning cartoons have long disappeared from the broadcast networks.
:)
What, no Saturday morning cartoons? I grew up on those back when. Of course when I watched them the animation was being done on stone tablets.
 

B-ROLL

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What, no Saturday morning cartoons? I grew up on those back when. Of course when I watched them the animation was being done on stone tablets.
I remember those days ...
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:D!
 

B-ROLL

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It would be nice to see some of these released in 4K/HDR.
I'm not sure HDR would do well with the cel dirt that was built in to the cartoons. Besides Jonny Quest, The Jetsons, The Flinstones and Scooby Doo Where Are You all have blu-ray releases
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Tino

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Big fan of Miyazaki’s films. Especially Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. However Grave Of The Fireflies is in a class by itself. It is my favorite anime film by a long shot.
 

Jake Lipson

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Do you happen to know if any of these Shout Factory steelbook releases are new transfers, or are they the same as the previous Blu-rays, albeit with nicer packaging?

They are the same discs as GKIDS previously released. They have done this a few different times this year with other titles as well. I bought several Gibli titles on DVD back when the rights were with Disney. Then I upgraded them to Blu-rays which also came from Disney. Then I upgraded them again when GKIDS got the rights and released them in standard packaging. I absolutely think the GKIDS editions are fantastic and were worth the triple dip, but I think I'm done. It would take something pretty special to get me to do a fourth dip on one of these titles, and these steelbooks are not it.
 

Lord Dalek

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The only thing 4k would possible add to the Ghibli catalog is HDR and possibly a ton of DNR if that disastrous Akira disc is any indication of where Japan is leaning.

...as for Spirited Away and above, they're going to be upscales no matter what.
 

Ejanss

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I always like to check in on Ghibli-fan discussions to see how many of them have even HEARD of "Lupin III & the Castle of Cagliostro" (now on Discotek and coming to 4K)--
The one Miyazaki that Disney DIDN'T touch, since it was pre-Ghibli:
 

dpippel

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Even though traditional animation can be a tough nut in 4K, there are plenty of 2K upscales out there that look simply marvelous, and noticeably better than their 1080p counterparts.
 

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