Studio Ghibli Blu-Rays (Japan) - 2012 Holiday Edition

This month in Japan, the two latest Studio Ghibli feature film Blu-Rays arrived on store shelves: Kiki's Delivery Service and Omohide Poro Poro.  This would be a good time to take stock at the total collection, what has been released, and what has yet to arrive.

First, here are the Ghibli movies available on Japanese Blu-Ray:

Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind
Laputa: Castle in the Sky
Grave of the Fireflies
My Neighbor Totoro
Kiki's Delivery Service
Omohide Poro Poro
Mimi wo Sumaseba
My Neighbors the Yamadas
Howl's Moving Castle
Gedo Senki (Tales From Earthsea)
Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea
The Borrower Arrietty
From Up on Poppy Hill

Next, here are the remaining films for Japanese BD:

Porco Rosso
Umi ga Kikoeru
Heisei Tanuki Gassan Pom Poko
Princess Mononoke
The Spiriting Away of Sen and Chihiro
The Cat Returns the Favor (+ Ghiblies Episode 2)
Kaze Tachinu (theaters 2013)
Kaguya Hime no Monogatari (theaters 2013)

In Japan, three or four movies are released on BD every year, split between summer and winter.  At this rate, the feature film catalog will be completed by 2014.  Ghibli is also releasing its movies in chronological order, although their two biggest titles - Mononoke and Spirited Away - may be held for maximum impact.  In addition, summer 2013 will see the release of the new Miyazaki and Takahata films.  I'd expect to see one of their catalog titles arrive on BD.  My money says the next round of Studio Ghibli BDs will be Porco Rosso and Pom Poko.

There's still the question of releasing the larger titles in the Studio Ghibli catalog, like the 2006 Short Short DVD.  Will that be released on high-definition?  What about Isao Takahata's 1987 documentary movie, The Story of Yanagawa Canals?  Will we see the pre-Ghibli movies like Gauche the Cellist?  Panda Kopanda?  Will they ever get their hands on the Toei Doga classics?  Questions, questions.

Oh, and for everyone keeping score, here's the complete list of Studio Ghibli Blu-Rays released by Disney here in the USA:

Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind
Castle in the Sky
Whisper of the Heart (Mimi wo Sumaseba)
The Secret World of Arrietty

Five. Freakin'. Movies.  And Sentai Filmworks makes it six with Grave of the Fireflies.  Impressive....not.  The Disney people are just like my immigration attorney: do the absolute required minimum, and nothing else.  It's an embarrassment, and it's time to put up or shut up.  If Disney refuses to support Studio Ghibli, then let GKids handle the home video distribution rights.

Update: I added Howl's Moving Castle to the US Blu-Ray list by mistake.  It's still not available here.)


BionicVapourDude said...

Any suggestions on the cheapest place to pickup the Japanese Blu Rays? I love Miyazaki but don't have that much extra cash lying around.

CuauCG said...

Howl's Moving Castle is not available in the US yet. So it's 6 movies only, counting Grave.

Hayley Harrison said...

Man, I wish I had the money for those gorgeous Japanese blurays. Especially since the US's selection is so idiotically small.

Thomas said...

Howl´s Moving Castle is released on Blu-Ray by Studiocanal in England. As is Totoro, but that one has yellow subs for some strange reason. Quite cheap on Amazon.

Unknown said...

You would think Ghibli would have been handled with more care and attention, knowing that John La$$eter is a big fan of Miyazaki.

Oh well, let's see how well GKids can do the job...

Jay said...

Makes me glad that I live in the UK as most of the Japanese Blu's have been released here. Grave of the fireflies hasn't yet materialised in the UK which is odd as it was announced to be released at the same time as Totoro?

Dennis said...

I have collected all Studio Ghibli bluray. Can't wait for Spirited Away, Porco Rosso and Princess Mononoke. Looking forward to the new title too in 2013!

wrowe said...

To say that The Secret World of Arrietty was released to the US (with Disney's American voice cast) ignores the fact that the US is denied a most excellent UK voice cast - both become available on a single disc to Japan on BD in the near future.

My Neighbors the Yamadas shipped with Castle in the Sky in the UK in summer '11. If we don't see this shortly, one can assume Disney doesn't care, and we must hope another attempts to license it.

Howl's Moving Castle and Tales From Earthsea were released in the UK this past summer, the US will likely see these within a few months.

Castle of Cagliostro and My Neighbour Totoro were released in the UK early this winter, and hopefully we see both in the US within the next 18 mos... but I am not holding my breath for Lupin from Disney.

In very very interesting and good news, GKids obtained all of the rights to From Up On Poppy Hill in the US (not simply the Theatrical rights) and will release the DVD/BD in March, as rumour has it. It is good to see the likes of GKids and Sentai willing to step in, where Disney feigns contempt.

Here is my favourite reference thread; - and thank you for a great post!

JMS said...

I just hoping this year we can get Princess Mononoke and Pom Poko on BD.

BTW - Nice photo, Ha! it's mine :P
Don't worry, just add who is from. ;) (you surely take it from the blu-ray forums - )

Unknown said...

I still can't understand why Only Yesterday has never been released over here. It's not the sort of subject material that American animated films normally cover, but Disney released Pom Poko. (You would think that if any Ghibli movie were not released over here it would be that one.)

Unknown said...

I've given up waiting for Disney to issue blu rays for many of the Ghibli films they licensed so I decided to start the expensive process of buying the Japanese blu rays. I do have a few questions for those who have the Japanese Blu rays.

1. I know some people dislike a few of the English dubs. I actually like them for those moments I want to just take the images in completely. Which movies have an English dub on them? Obviously "Omohide Poro Poro" and "From Up on poppy hill" don't but do the others? It's confusing because "Laputa, castle in the sky" and "Ponyo" both have product descriptions saying English subtitles only but certain forums say the English dubbed films are on the special features disc with hard Japanese subs.

2. Does anyone recommend a certain film to buy first? For example one which may be going out of print soon or something? I plan on starting with "only yesterday" and "totoro" first and then buy 2 a month until caught up.


I Make Comments said...

Hey, I was just wondering why there hasn't been any posts about Ni No Kuni on's been out in North America for a few weeks now...are you intent on playing it? Not only is the artwork beautiful, but it seems to be hearkening back to the days of classic SNES RPGs. As a Ghibli fan, you aught to at least give the game a rental. But if you don't have a PS3, that's understandable.

Lorikeet said...

I just read this yesterday on AnimeNewsNetwork: Howl and Totoro are coming to Blu-Ray in the US!

Unknown said...

The reason why it takes so long for Ghibli films to be released in the US is because the US and Japan share the same region code -- Region A.

The US blu-rays are pretty expensive considering they're through Disney, basically staying above $20, and usually sitting closer to $30. However they're very, very cheap compared to the Japanese releases which are like $80 each.

Now, if the US was to release theirs around or on the same date as the Japanese releases, what do you think Ghibli fans will do? Plenty will just buy the local releases, but those would also be the people who aren't aware of the US releases, don't check out forums regularly to find out release dates and don't do online shopping. Die hard Ghibli fans will know better, and there's a lot of them.

What would happen if the US released theirs around the same time is all those die hard Ghibli fans would order the US releases for more than half the price of their local releases.

Part of the deal with Disney would be that they've got to wait a substantial amount of time to release theirs so that anyone in Japan who REALLY wants these Ghibli movies on blu-ray will just bite the bullet and order their local releases. Some will wait, but most won't bother considering just how long it's taking the US with some titles.

That's why Europe and Australia are getting all the Ghibli films MUCH faster, because we're in Region B territory and part of the deal these studio's who handle the rights in these countries (Studio Canal (England), Madman (Australia) etc struck up with Studio Ghibli would be that they've got to lock these discs to Region B.

The transfers these studios use are also not ports of the Japanese transfers approved by Studio Ghibli. They're different transfers altogether. The older Ghibli films that feature noticeable film grain throughout the film get plenty of DNR applied to scrub away the grain (and unfortunately by doing so, also detail in the image) to give a cleaner image.

Hayao Miyazaki has gone on record and said that he prefers them grainy and to not look like all these Disney Classics being restored on blu-ray that have also been scrubbed of grain.

By doing THIS, you not only cancel out most people in the US and Japan importing them, but most purists who do own a region free blu-ray player still won't order the Studio Canal transfers as they're not the Ghibli transfers approved by the filmmakers themselves.

The region coding and time differences allowed between distributing the blu-rays according to the deals Disney, Studio Canal and other studios have agree'd to means that there's not actually a real shortage of Ghibli films being released on blu-ray, there's just an extreme shortage of Ghibli approved transfers (the Disney releases use direct ports of the Japanese Ghibli transfers but use a lower bitrate which lessens the harshness of the film grain).

People with a region free blu-ray player CAN get more Ghibli films on blu-ray but most of them just won't bother unless they live in England or other European countries where it's very convenient to get a copy.

It's all just so Studio Ghibli can ensure most fans will buy their native Japanese blu-ray releases, most americans will buy the Disney releases, The English and Australians will buy the Studio Canal and Madman releases and anyone extremely impatient or just plain indifferent to the filmmakers preference and intended appearence who own region free blu-ray players will just get whatever is in their budget or is coming out the quickest.

It's called business. It really does suck just how long they're taking to release these wonderful movies though, especially in the US.

Unknown said...

Amazon has a pre-order for Disney's US release of Howl's Moving Castle:

Coming May 21

Unknown said...

Hi! I'm italian and i eould like to say where it's possible to buy these fantastic versions in blu ray. I await your news! 6thank you very much!!

ItchyScratchyUrr said...

totoro/laputa/wisper,oth/nausicca/poppy/howl/ponyo, plus lupin.coc.
will get porko and pretty much the lot in general. the ultimate thrill would be if the master piece theater serials got the hd treatment (i have near all in one form or other) the price of heidi makes me wish i was still at uni- i could have asked for a money pool at the anime club and the highest contributor could keep the original set, the others could have rips, just an idea...

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