Well, well, it appears that Italy is getting a kick-ass Ponyo DVD, too. This package includes the two-disc DVD, along with the Ponyo plushie that we all know and love. Disney dipped their toes in the Ghibli merchandising waters last year with the American DVD release, but it's been impossible to find ever since. This might prove to be a compelling alternative.
One thing that really impresses me with this release is the packaging. There's a considerable effort to use as little plastic as possible, and the cardboard box and disc booklet is very attractive. It reminds me a lot of the early days of disc-based media like CD-ROM. Cardboard covers were dismissed as cheap, low-grade junk, and the sturdier plasic cases were far more popular. Today, however, I think we're well enough aware of the greater costs of adding mountains of indestructible plastics to this planet. Frankly, I'm happy to see CD cases go extinct...those things were sooo incredibly fragile.
No doubt reducing costs is a primary concern for DVD and Blu-Ray publishers, and doubly so for anime publishers. If they can cut costs where it counts, while still offering a compelling product - say hello to more merchandise, kids - I'm more than willing to sign up. It will be interesting to see how this competes against the rise of non-physical digital media and platforms like the iPad. I want to be able to watch movies on my TV, desktop computer, laptop, iPod, iPad...the consumer market is diversifying rapidly, and this is going to become the major challenge for physical media.
Here are some more photos of the Italian Ponyo DVD box from all sides. Enjoy: