Anne of Green Gables Blu-Ray Box Set - March 26 (Japan)
Anne of Green Gables (Akage no An), the 1979 World Masterpiece Theater series directed by Isao Takahata, is arriving in a spectacular Blu-Ray box set on March 26 in Japan. The entire 50-episode series will run across eight discs, and a wealth of extras include storyboards and background artwork. The box comes with two thick booklets and some spectacular artwork. Like the Heidi, Girl of the Alps Blu-Ray, this is a must-have for all animation lovers.
Two unfortunate downsides for Western fans: One, there are no English subtitles, an odd decision, given that fan translations have existed for years. Two, the retail price is 31,080 Yen, or just over $300 USD. Ouch!! Somebody will have to explain to me why these DVD and BD box sets are so outrageously expensive in that country.
I have argued for many years that the three 1970s television dramas - Heidi, Girl of the Alps; 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother (aka Marco); Anne of Green Gables - are the true masterpieces by Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki. Yoichi Kotabe (Heidi, Marco) and Yoshifumi Kondo (Anne) were also equal contributors, and they should be remembered as such. If you've watched all the Studio Ghibli feature films and are feeling bummed because there's nothing left to watch - you haven't seen anything yet. You're just getting started.
In a perfect world, Heidi-Marco-Anne would all see Blu-Ray releases in the West; unfortunately, the high costs of localization and production of new soundtracks are too high for all but the largest media companies. And what are the odds that Disney would want one of these series? Even these cherished childrens programs are too intense, too emotionally pure and honest, for the Disney Ken-and-Barbie Doll factory. Oh, well, maybe that could change someday.