Gallery: The Complete Studio Ghibli Collection (UK)
Here's a look at an impressive fan collection of Studio Ghibli and pre-Ghibli movies released in the UK. I believe these photos show all the titles released across the pond. Very impressive.
StudioCanal are the home to nearly all Miyazaki/Takahata titles in the UK, and they have always done an excellent job. Their branding and cover designs are visually lush, stylized and nearly always superior to the Disney titles released here in the US (not to knock Disney, of course, they did a very good job). In the case of Arrietty, the British release is notably superior to ours, largely thanks to the excellent dub soundtrack that was exclusive to that region.
UK Ghibli Freaks, of course, have been enjoying movies such as Only Yesterday, Ocean Waves and My Neighbors the Yamadas for several years. We are only now just getting caught up, thanks to the efforts of GKIDS. Believe me when I say that we have been jealous for many a season.
"The Little Norse Prince" is now out-of-print, and was a lazy, bare-bones release of Horus, Prince of the Sun. The Discotek version smashes it into tiny bits. But, of course, I would say that, wouldn't I?
The Castle of Cagliostro, likewise, has seen a vastly superior Discotek release in the States, thanks to the hard work of Lupin expert Reed Nelson. I think he did a better job than my work on Horus, to be perfectly honest.
Panda Go Panda (the Westernized title of the two Panda Kopanda short films) is pretty basic, which is the same on both sides of the Atlantic. This remains an obscure title and needlessly so; fans of My Neighbor Totoro should become great fans of Papa and Baby Panda. Something seems to be missing; personally, I think a new dub soundtrack would greatly help, as the old dub just sounds terribly childish and outdated. The inclusion of some quality bonus material would also help.
Finally, it's great to see the Hayao Miyazaki BD box set is available in the UK. It's a spectacular set with the finest picture and audio quality of any releases anywhere, with bitrates significantly higher than the standard releases. Mind you, this comes as a result of removing all bonus material, so Ghibli Freaks would be wise to not throw anything away. This limited-run release will become frightfully expensive in the coming years, so remember what Janis Joplin said: "Get it while you can."
Much thanks to dedicated Ghibli Freak "2-J" on the Blu-Ray.com forums.