daniel thomas Categories: blu-ray, dvd, my neighbor totoro, screenshots
Studio Ghibli's latest Blu-Ray discs, My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies, has been released this week in Japan. Each movie is available in a separate package, or joined together in a deluxe set (mirroring the films' double billing in 1988). The retail prices are, unfortunately, slightly horrifying, at over $80 apiece, but worth it to diehard collectors who want the very best Ghibli BDs.
The cases continue Ghibli's cover design, with thick cardboard with magnet lock. A small booklet is included which includes short notes and the Japanese movie posters. The striking green looks wonderful; I really enjoy the rainbow style of these Blu-Ray covers, much nicer than the standard blue plastic casing.
Now to the screenshots/ Let's take a look and see how Totoro BD compares to its DVD cousin. I think you'll be impressed by the results:
As you can see, My Neighbor Totoro looks stunning on BD. It's a significant improvement on the DVD release. After years of study, I don't think DVD was a very good medium for animation. The digital artifacts, pixelation, over-use of edge enhancement, and MPEG-2 colors are all notable distractions. All of these compromises are thankfully no longer necessary, as Blu-Ray delivers stunning clarity, detail and smoothness. The painterly quality of the artwork shines as never before. Now if I could only get my hands on the LaserDisc... :P
Much thanks to Hayao Miyazaki for insisting on the preservation of film grain for these movies. I'm really not a fan of Disney's style of hyper-smooth digital look to their animated films on DVD and BD. I know it's largely a matter of personal taste and differing goals (Disney aims to recapture the look of the animation cels, while Ghibli aims for the look of 35mm film), so I don't expect everyone to share my love of film grain. I'm happily retro-tech these days.
In any case, My Neighbor Totoro on Blu-Ray looks stunning. I'll leave more DVD/Blu-Ray comparisons below the fold: