Studio Ghibli Blu-Ray "Silhouette Series"

Studio Ghibli Blu-Ray
Studio Ghibli Blu-Ray
Studio Ghibli Blu-Ray

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.


NegativeZero said...

I collected them over time as they were coming out in Japan and they were definitely worth it. Very striking look.

Not sure where that Arrietty copy at the end of the images comes from though? Did they re-release? The original JP release is the fluoro-green one right in the center, which is the one I have. It came out before the US & UK dubs of the film were made so it's the most bare-bones of them, though the upside was I got to watch the film in the comfort of my own home before it was at cinemas locally.

I have them in my shelf in release-order rather than a rainbow like this. Might be worth re-arranging instead of having all those random colors.

I was a bit disappointed that the earlier Takahata material weren't released on BD in the same packaging, though the bigger disappointment with those is the lack of any English subtitles.

Oniros said...

If I were rich, probably my first purchase would be to get all of these. Last year I was really close to import Porco Rosso but after the Miyazaki BD collection was announced. I decided to put the money towards that instead.

John Diaz said...

So the Japanese blu-ray release of Kiki's Delivery Service doesn't have properly translated english subtitles for the Japanese audio?

John Diaz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kyle Gardner said...

I have to ask - you mention that the Collected set has new transfers over the individual releases. This is the only place I have personally heard of that. Does that mean that both the JP and NA Collected sets have new transfers? And if so, do they each have proper subtitles, not dubtitles for the NA release? I'm very curious, because I want to pick it up now that I know this, but there are too many unknown factors for me to pull the trigger as it were. I would appreciate any help you could give me on this matter.

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