In Japan, Studio Ghibli has completed their long task of releasing all of their feature animated films to Blu-Ray, informally known as the "silhouette series." These packages come in thick cardboard, with magnets underneath the cover. Booklets and postcards of the movie posters are also included in each package. Prices are rather expensive, roughly $70-$80 USD, but each movie includes English subtitles (and in some cases, the US dubs), and the packaging is absolutely wonderful.
Is it necessary to buy these import discs in 2016? With a few exceptions, probably not. Most of the Ghibli features are now available in the US on Blu-Ray, either by Disney, GKIDS Films or Sentai Filmworks. Umi ga Kikoeru (Ocean Waves) and My Neighbors the Yamadas have yet to be released on our shores. Omohide Poro Poro (Only Yesterday) is currently playing in select US theaters, and will arrive on home video later this year.
In addition, a number of Disney-released Ghibli titles were released with "dubtitles," transcriptions of the dubbed script instead of the original Japanese. This list includes Castle in the Sky, Kiki's Delivery Service, Pom Poko and Princess Mononoke. Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind has an issue with US credits burned onto the film image, regardless of language selection. And Ponyo uses lossy audio on the Japanese soundtrack. All of these issues are resolved, aside from Kiki, on the Japanese BDs, and all issues have been resolved on The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki box set.
Personally, I would either save for the spectacular BD box set (which also features new film transfers and a number of key extras) or import the above-mentioned titles. I would be thrilled to collect the entire set, but that's a very expensive proposition, so I'm not losing sleep over it right now. I am also happy to support smaller distributors like GKIDS or Sentai, who do excellent work with the Ghibli catalog. I still have bitter memories over the collapse of the retail anime market at the turn of the century. We need to support these companies so that they can continue to give us great movies.
If I had the money to burn, absolutely I'd buy the Ghibli silhouette series. Heck, yeah. But grownups have this thing called money.
These excellent photos come from Ghibli Collector, Tumblr fan site that is loaded with photos and .gifs for all the Ghibli films, and a few prior works, including Future Boy Conan, Lupin the 3rd: Castle of Cagliostro and Gauche the Cellist. I recommend adding this site to your bookmarks. Much thanks for the great photos.