The New Grave of the Fireflies DVD

When Central Park Media went under, we feared Grave of the Fireflies would be lost and become unavailable here in the US. Thankfully, ADV quickly picked it up, and they have recently released the DVD.

I am very happy to report that all of the excellent features from the Central Park version are present on ADV's release. The only change is the DVD cover, which, frankly, looks much better with its bold lines and dark colors.

Grave of the Fireflies is available on store shelves once again! If you haven't bought it yet, you owe it to yourself to add Isao Takahata's masterful film to your library. It will grip you and shake your emotions to the core; and I can think of no other movie that will shatter your Western assumptions and expectations of animation. If you've never been exposed to Takahata, you are about to be experienced. Bring Kleenex.


Anonymous said...

I cry often at movies, but Grave of the Fireflies is the only movie that has ever made me cry every time I watched it.
I have a question though: If Disney has distribution rights to all the other Ghibli films, how come they don't sell this one too?

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

At the time of the Disney distribution contract with Studio Ghibli, Grave of the Fireflies was already held by Central Park Media in the US. The DVD rights in Japan were held by another company; in fact, it was only last year, in 2008, that Takahata's film was released under the Ghibli ga Ippai banner.

Besides that, there simply is now way Disney would consent to a movie like Grave of the Fireflies. They would never touch it with a ten-foot pole. You will notice that they continue to refuse Omohide Poro Poro, and it's deeply unlikely that we will ever see that film released here. There just ain't no way.

We should be grateful to Central Park Media, and now ADV, for securing the rights to Grave of the Fireflies. If the Disney Corporation had its way, this film would be buried alive, and paved over to make way for more Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers shows.

Doug said...

I have the Central Park version. Is there anything that should be compelling me to get the new one? Better picture? Or more features? Thanks.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

This is exactly the same version. The only change is the cover design. If might want to get this if you're a diehard fan who must have everything, I suppose.

The bottom line is that CPM's old Fireflies DVD is now available again. Nothing more, nothing less.

James said...

That's good and the cover is nicer. But they should've made it a blu-ray release! ADV needs to get with the times.

I'll never rid of my Central Park Collector's Edition because I got Takahata's autograph on it. :)

There's really no reason why Disney can't release Omohide. If they can release Princess Mononoke, Omohide is tame. Just put it under their Miramax label.

Malik Ming said...

The only change is the DVD cover, which, frankly, looks much better with its bold lines and dark colors.

Agreed! I'm so happy they used my favorite promotional cover for the film, but I still think the VHS cover is better. Same thing, really, except with an all black background and more saturated colors.

Can't wait to get this and Starting Point tomorrow.

Sean L. said...

I was thrilled to unexpectedly discover this re-release the very week it came out, when I was casually looking around at anime stores this summer. I bought it from Best Buy as soon as I could (only $15--WHAT?). So excited.

BUT now I've gotta chime in here about a problem with the DVD. Well, first let me note some positives: (1) I agree that the cover art is a great improvement on the old CPM DVD--the contrast, the glow of the logo, and the overall simplicity evoke the haunting tone of the film (plus the design reflects the classic poster from which the image is derived). (2) It's a 2-disc set, with all the same great bonus features from the old DVD. (3) The list price is only $20-- it's $15 at Best Buy! Sweet bargain.

Okay, now here's the problem: **The video quality and audio quality have been noticeably compromised.**

This irked me just enough to spoil the viewing experience, and I know there are other people who would be even more upset by the, um, technical inferiority of this DVD. Now, I'm not a video tech expert--not even close--but I am a perfectionist with an eye/ear for details like this, so I'll just describe the specifics of the problem to the best of my ability.

The picture quality at first glance appears the same as the old DVD (which would make sense considering ADV Films clearly would not have obtained a new master or anything for such an inexpensive release). BUT, as the movie went on I noticed what could best be described as "ghosting," although I'm not sure if that's the correct technical term in this case. This unfortunate effect occurs only sporadically: when characters are in rapid motion (such as running) and/or the camera pans at a certain speed, the picture “trails” itself, causing a sort of jerky smearing effect. I’m not sure how else to describe it. For me, it’s enough to be bothersome and disappointing. I don’t remember noticing this at all on the old DVD, which I’ve viewed three times. I think it’s likely that somebody at ADV messed up a little bit in the transferring process. Again, I’m no expert so I don’t know what the technical issue/term is, but from the ghosting effect it almost looks like the frame rate has been decreased. I’d really be interested to get a comparison/analysis from a video technology expert.

It’s the audio that’s the major problem with the DVD, though. I listened only to the Japanese audio track (because I don’t care to ever hear the inferior English dub ever again) and the poor quality was even more noticeable than that of the video. Like the video problem, the audio problem is especially noticeable at particular instances: when a character’s voice becomes louder, specifically when Setsuko is crying out, the audio becomes annoyingly fuzzy, making it sound as if the voice was recorded with a crappy microphone. Again, there was no issue like this on the old DVD. The stereo sound was quite crisp.

So. It’s a shame that we finally got a pretty-looking DVD re-release of Grave of the Fireflies and it’s one with a not-so-pretty video presentation. It’s probably best to search the internet for a copy of the discontinued Central Park Media DVD, or buy a Japanese region 2 DVD if you have a compatible player. But if you don’t really care about optimum picture and sound quality, then hey, the price is right for this ADV release.

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