Buy These DVDs - Buyer's Guide

As I've posted recently, I added direct links for many of the anime series and films discussed on this blog. I think the list is just about complete, as it fills out everything not already covered by domestic DVD releases or fansubs. So now I'd like to give you a short "buyer's guide" that you can use as a handy reference.

I'm not going to recite plots or commentaries. If you want to know more about them, check the Conversations on Ghibli blog archives or my lengthy reviews. Yadda yadda. You know the score.

Buy These DVDs - Buyer's Guide

Heidi, Girl of the Alps - Taiwan box set, no subtitles. Box set of the entire 52-episode series from 1974. Buy this or hand in your Ghibli card.

3000 Leagues in Search of Mother - Taiwan box set, English subtitles. Box set of the entire 52-episode series from 1976. Buy this or I'll come to your house and trample your garden.

Panda Kopanda - R2 DVD, English subtitles. Includes both Panda Kopanda short films, 1972 and 1973. There's also a long television interview with Takahata and Miyazaki.

Jarinko Chie - R2 DVD. No subs, obviously, but the picture quality is fantastic on a big screen. Miles better than youtube. Oh, and the DVD cover looks terrific.

Gauche the Cellist - R2 DVD, English subtitles. This is the new Ghibli ga Ippai release, with two discs and improved picture quality. Over 80 minutes of bonus interviews with all the guilty parties. Buy this or you hate your kids (you probably vote Republican).

Castle in the Sky - R2 DVD, English subtitles. There's no shitty Disney dub (the worst anime dub ever, kids), and the picture quality is vastly improved from the R1 disc. A short making-of video is included, which was buried on the US version. And the box art is super-cool.

Story of Yanagawa Waterways - R2 DVD, English subtitles. This is Takahata's sole live-action film, a three-hour documentary on the history and culture of the waterways of Japan's Yanagawa region. It's a terrific documentary. Oh, and there's an English-language soundtrack that perfectly matches the original Japanese dialog.

Omohide Poro Poro - R2 DVD, English subtitles. Sorry, never heard of this movie. It might be alright. A 45-minute making-of video is included on disc two. This film is also available in Australia and the UK, so if you live there, you have options. We yanks don't.

Umi Ga Kikoeru - R2 DVD, English subtitles. I Can Hear the Sea, aka Ocean Waves. A great documentary with the production team is included. We'll not be seeing this here in the US anytime soon, so here's your real chance to watch on your television.

Princess Mononoke - R2 DVD, English subtitles. Why include the Japanese Mononoke Hime DVD? Because it completely destroys the shitty Disney/Miramax disc here in the States. The picture quality is vastly superior, with the proper colors and lighting. Audio tracks in eight languages are included, including the Miramax dub.

The Cat Returns/Ghiblies Ep 2 - R2 DVD, English subtitles. Did you know the Japanese DVD for Cat Returns includes Ghiblies Episode 2 on a second disc? Did you know that Disney sucks eggs? The cover features the original movie poster, which is infinitely better than that lousy R1 disc.

Yasuo Otsuka's Joy in Motion - R2 DVD, English subtitles. This is the Otsuka documentary that I wrote about some months ago. It's a terrific look into the history of post-war Japanese animation and one of anime's founding fathers. Absolutely essential viewing for all animation lovers.

Ghibli Ga Ippai Short Short - R2 DVD. There are no English subtitles, but subtitles are entirely unnecessary. This is Ghibli's 40-minute collection of short animations, music videos, commercials, and all things in between. Miyazaki's On Your Mark is here, btw. A fantastic 34-page color booklet is included, and more extras.

Winter Days - R2 DVD, no subtitles. 2003 animation anthology, featuring a buffet of styles and techniques. Yuri Norstein leads off with another masterpiece. Others include Takahata, Kotabe and Okuyama, Alexander Petrov, and animators around the world. The best bonus? Lengthy interviews with all of the animators. Not having subtitles royally sucks.

Happy buying!

7 comments:

Chris Sobieniak said...

Some thoughts on the DVDs...

Heidi, Girl of the Alps - Taiwan box set, no subtitles.

I know I definately have to get this!

3000 Leagues in Search of Mother - Taiwan box set, English subtitles.

Ditto! I'm only glad to see they're being sold at a decent price for once.

Panda Kopanda - R2 DVD, English subtitles. Includes both Panda Kopanda short films, 1972 and 1973. There's also a long television interview with Takahata and Miyazaki.

Probably the best reason over the old Pioneer DVD. I'm only surprised TMS bothered sticking the English dub on it too (if that's the Pioneer one I've mentioned). My big complaint with that obviously is the original BGM score being ditched in favor of some newer arrangement, does not fit at all. Still seems kinda interesting it gets to have that along with English subs.

Jarinko Chie - R2 DVD. No subs, obviously, but the picture quality is fantastic on a big screen. Miles better than youtube. Oh, and the DVD cover looks terrific.

Bet no one'll license it in a million years!

Gauche the Cellist - R2 DVD, English subtitles. This is the new Ghibli ga Ippai release, with two discs and improved picture quality. Over 80 minutes of bonus interviews with all the guilty parties. Buy this or you hate your kids (you probably vote Republican).

Heh, might have to give this a shot too.

Castle in the Sky - R2 DVD, English subtitles. There's no shitty Disney dub (the worst anime dub ever, kids), and the picture quality is vastly improved from the R1 disc. A short making-of video is included, which was buried on the US version. And the box art is super-cool.

Would this be the JAL dub then I've heard of? And yes, Disney screwed the pooch big time on that release (I also would rather call it "Laputa" than "Castle in the Sky", but that's just me). Seemed even dumb they stuck the "making-of" in anyway like that (removing it would've gave them a higher bitrate on the movie instead).

Story of Yanagawa Waterways - R2 DVD, English subtitles. This is Takahata's sole live-action film, a three-hour documentary on the history and culture of the waterways of Japan's Yanagawa region. It's a terrific documentary. Oh, and there's an English-language soundtrack that perfectly matches the original Japanese dialog.

That sounds interesting, even as a documentary.

Omohide Poro Poro - R2 DVD, English subtitles. Sorry, never heard of this movie. It might be alright. A 45-minute making-of video is included on disc two. This film is also available in Australia and the UK, so if you live there, you have options. We yanks don't.

Sad really. This was an excellent film.

Princess Mononoke - R2 DVD, English subtitles. Why include the Japanese Mononoke Hime DVD? Because it completely destroys the shitty Disney/Miramax disc here in the States. The picture quality is vastly superior, with the proper colors and lighting. Audio tracks in eight languages are included, including the Miramax dub.

Really, the 8 language tracks alone makes this the PERFECT RELEASE!

The Cat Returns/Ghiblies Ep 2 - R2 DVD, English subtitles. Did you know the Japanese DVD for Cat Returns includes Ghiblies Episode 2 on a second disc? Did you know that Disney sucks eggs? The cover features the original movie poster, which is infinitely better than that lousy R1 disc.

You'd think they could've gave us the Ghilblies anyway (let alone the extra mile they take to dub over the Japanese audio in those "making-of" videos when they could just sub 'em instead). They don't know how to market these correctly (the original Japanese DVD covers themselves would've been easy to adapt without much trouble themselves).

J.R.D.S. said...

1stly - don't use simply 'R2' when referring to Japanese DVDs. Europe is R2 as well, and in everything except Ghibli we're no-where as well off as you (need I mention the complete shorts of Jan Švankmajer, for one example? Or Princess Tutu and Gankutsuô? Unmassacred Cardaptor Sakura? You're lucky to even get Panda Kopanda, and little right to complain that's not as god as the Japanese version, considering that USA DVDs are about a quarter of the price or less. Still, we can be thankful that we don't like in Norway, where they the worst of both of those worlds.

But back on topic - it is worth mentioning, that as with Only Yesterday, the reissued UK and Australian DVDs of Laputa are almost as good as the Japanese version. They may not have the documentary, and are tainted by the dub, but are better quality than the old Disney releases and still much cheaper than getting it from Japan.

J.R.D.S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.R.D.S. said...

I just showed this post to friend of mine, who found it rather ironic that you're accusing Disney of being the single scapegoat for all these things, when Disney, or rather Buena Vista is also responsible, though their local branches, for the Japanese (and also French) DVDs which you praise so highly. I thought it was an interesting complication, which I hadn't yet considered myself. My conclusion would be that it's less specifically to do with Disney, and more to do with cultural differences, the American desire to treat a finished work of art as a first draft and to make some impact of their own upon it, and Ghibli having so much less of a control over their own products as they do in Japan.

Reading over my two posts now, they seem overly cynical - I don't want to think for one moment that I'm bashing your blog - I love it and will still recommend it to people even if it's occasionally (and unintentionally) USA-centric. The part of your essay about Hols was really interesting and useful, for one example, and I really appreciate how who view it from the perspective of animation, or even film and culture at large, and that's so indescribably refreshing in the light of so many bogs and sites which are just about "anime".

Anonymous said...

I disagree completely about the CASTLE IN THE SKY dub. It's not flawless, but the worst dub ever? Please. I've heard far worse dubs around. I thought it was very good, especially Mark Hamill and Cloris Leachman, although the kids did sound a little too mature and the extra dialogue was a bit overdone. Still, I'd rather hear that than the older dub of LAPUTA, which, by the way, is not all that good--the voices are worse there, and the scripting doesn't sound any better.

Also, any post where Daniel Thomas rants about Disney or their dubs is the last source I consider reliable.

Michael said...

Europe is R2 as well, and in everything except Ghibli we're no-where as well off as you (need I mention the complete shorts of Jan Švankmajer, for one example?)

I think you'll find the R2 Švankmajer shorts situation has changed somewhat in the last fortnight...

Anonymous said...

i've got all ghibli movies, but those old serials are so hard to find! got- anne of green gables,
perrine's story, the trapp family and soon: marco (3000 leagues)- all bought from uk2usa for about £30. naturally i've still to complete my collection but the likes of heidi are so expensive! and no subtitles? will this ever change? and is there a translate kanji to english button on this damn jsdvd site?

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