More Miyazaki on US Blu Ray

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Re: More Miyazaki on US Blu Ray November 14th

Post by GeorgeC » December 2nd, 2014, 3:39 pm

I think this is coming before the next wave of Disney/Miyazaki Ghibli Blu ray releases...

From the DigitalBits.com, Monday => "In addition to Studio Ghibli’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya (officially due on Blu-ray and DVD this coming Spring), GKids is planning to release the Ghibli documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness on DVD on 1/27."

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I guess nobody should be surprised about the DVD-only release of many documentaries.

(I'm getting the Ghibli documentary... Ghibli has at least as interesting a history as the Disney Company...)

There probably isn't a big enough market for most home video companies to go the Blu ray route for many documentaries. The manufacturing costs for Blu ray discs are probably not much different from standard DVD. I've heard that the Blu ray authoring is not cheap partly because the anti-copy protection scheme for Blu ray is constantly evolving...
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Re: More Miyazaki on US Blu Ray November 14th

Post by Randall » December 2nd, 2014, 10:10 pm

Yes, a Blu-ray release for the doc would have been nice, but a DVD should suffice.

Interesting that Disney passed on The Tale of Princess Kaguya... you'd think that any movie with "Princess" in the title would be a slam dunk for them. ;)

But they also passed on Poppy Hill, which I really liked.
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Re: More Miyazaki on US Blu Ray November 14th

Post by GeorgeC » December 3rd, 2014, 1:01 am

I think Disney passed on Poppy Hill because A) the main characters had an implied familial relationship that was a huge part of the film's plot and that goes into 'icky' territory Disney's family divisions won't touch; B) it's NOT a Hayao Miyazaki film and the H. Miyazaki features have probably sold better than than the Isao Takahata/other Ghibli directors; and C) I don't think the recent non-Hayao Miyazaki films have done all that well.

I've liked a number of the non-Miyazaki films myself. Pom Poko is very unusual, My Neighbors the Yamadas has an interesting graphic style that I haven't seen used in many animated films, and Whisper of the Heart is a film with great heart to it. Whisper of the Heart 'feels' sort of like a Miyazaki film (I think he worked on the storyline and/or screenplay) but it wasn't directed by Hayao Miyazaki. I have mixed feelings about Grave of the Fireflies... it's an ultra-depressing film that I suppose is great if you need to have an emotional enema.

Princess Kaguya may also be perceived as being TOO Japanese for the US by Disney. I think that as dumb as that may sound to many people that there may be a point to that line of thinking. Unless you're Asian -- or Japanese more-to-the-point --, you're probably not familiar with the Princess Kaguya storyline to begin with and people tend to gravitate towards what's familiar in their culture. That's just how things are.

Princess Kaguya as it stands isn't getting great theatrical distribution in North America. I live in the most populated area of Ohio and we're not getting the film into art theater until December 12th! The film is maybe playing at 30-40 theaters tops in the US at any point in time... Most people that will eventually see this film will either rent it or buy it on home video when it gets released on Blu ray/DVD.
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Re: More Miyazaki on US Blu Ray November 14th

Post by Ben » December 3rd, 2014, 6:59 am

I *think* Kingdom Of Dreams And Madness is available on Blu in the Japanese and UK Miyazaki BD sets, but I may be wrong there.

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Re: More Miyazaki on US Blu Ray November 14th

Post by EricJ » December 3rd, 2014, 8:59 pm

I think Disney passed on Poppy Hill because A) the main characters had an implied familial relationship that was a huge part of the film's plot and that goes into 'icky' territory Disney's family divisions won't touch; B) it's NOT a Hayao Miyazaki film and the H. Miyazaki features have probably sold better than than the Isao Takahata/other Ghibli directors; and C) I don't think the recent non-Hayao Miyazaki films have done all that well.

I've liked a number of the non-Miyazaki films myself. Pom Poko is very unusual, My Neighbors the Yamadas has an interesting graphic style that I haven't seen used in many animated films, and Whisper of the Heart is a film with great heart to it. Whisper of the Heart 'feels' sort of like a Miyazaki film (I think he worked on the storyline and/or screenplay) but it wasn't directed by Hayao Miyazaki
That's pretty much the reason--A Takahata film has to be pret-ty marketable with mainstream audiences before Disney will touch it again, and only Pom Poko and Yamadas fit that description.
Princess Kaguya was promoted as an "art" film, and Takahata's reputation with mainstream Ghibli fans was already painfully "artsy" enough without it.

Essentially, Disney's channeling the audience's own opinion that they'd need one darn good reason to watch a Ghibli film that Hayao didn't direct, and whether Kaguya is that film, the jury's still out.

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Re: More Miyazaki on US Blu Ray November 14th

Post by GeorgeC » December 4th, 2014, 6:44 pm

Ben wrote:I *think* Kingdom Of Dreams And Madness is available on Blu in the Japanese and UK Miyazaki BD sets, but I may be wrong there.
There's a very good chance of that, Ben.
click to reveal content
I know you already know a lot of this information, but let's just carry this conversation on for the benefit of people who DON'T know or understand the licensing situation.
The Ghibli/Disney agreement only covers Japan and the US. Disney IS distributing the Ghibli films in the US AND Japan. The European and UK licensing/distribution agreements are with different non-Disney companies. That's also why different English dubs exist for many anime feature films, too. (I've always been curious to see Project A-ko with an alternate English dub. I think I read somewhat that the film MIGHT have a UK dub... it was optioned by a UK-based video company many years ago.) There are more Ghibli films available on Blu ray in Europe/UK than the US at the moment... Virtually everything that's been released on Blu ray in Japan is out in Europe. The US is lagging only because of the Ghibli/Disney licensing agreement. The Japanese do NOT want reverse importation of cheaper, virtually identical American releases flooding their home video market. I think there were a number of older simultaneous DVD releases where they saw video sales in Japan affected by reverse importation. They don't sell a bunch of copies of many TV series and movies in Japan so even a few hundred imported discs can seriously hurt the Japanese market. Unlike the US, the Japanese companies ARE more dependent on their domestic market home video sales and DO plan to at least break even on production costs based on Japanese sales. The licensing money they get from abroad is generally not that much by my understanding. The Ghibli/Disney deal worked out very well for Ghibli in the end because of the added production funds that Disney provided for those Japanese films... I don't think this was ever about them selling millions of copies of their movies in the US market because realistically that problem won't happen. If any Ghibli film was going to sell near 1 million copies in the US market, it probably would be My Neighbor Totoro and that's only because it's been available in multiple formats on home video in the US for over 20 years.

I'm still curious to hear how different the UK dub of Secret of Arriety is from what Disney produced for the US market but in all honesty but I haven't gotten around to that because of A) money and B) time. I haven't even seen the US edition of Arriety yet, period! There IS a Japanese Blu ray release of Arriety that has both the English dubs on it. It's just that the Blu ray releases in Japan generally start at around $60 and I frankly don't want pay that for a disc unless it's something that I absolutely want and isn't available in the US. If more UK/European Blu ray releases were multi-region AND reasonably priced, I'd probably buy some of those online. (The good news here is that everybody shares the SAME hi-def video standard... None of that business like with the PAL/NTSC incompatibilities.) With the Japanese/US situation, the BD releases are at least the same region coding all the time so I don't have to worry about those restrictions like I had to with DVD's. I've never bought a Japanese DVD because of different region coding on that video format.

For instance, I bought the American Blu ray release of Space Battleship Yamato (the live-action movie) this past weekend for $15. The standard Japanese edition, without English subtitles, probably would have been at least $50 if not $60. I'm at a point where I just don't care about getting all the pack-in goodies in limited editions all the time and just want to enjoy a film at a reasonable price-point.

There have been a small number of licensed Japanese Blu ray and DVD releases (released in the US) with alternate English dubs on them, too. I don't know that it costs that much extra to get those alternate audio tracks -- this is mostly old stuff that's 20 years or older that's already paid for itself so the licensing fees are probably not outrageous -- many of them are most likely mixed and don't have isolated vocal tracks available. (The whole mixed audio business with no isolated tracks is why SOME anime never got English dubs to begin with! Most of the domestic US companies won't bother to hire foley artists to recreate entire sound effects tracks. It's an added expense that they don't think they'll make back with an already low profit margin.) Companies get the old audio tracks based on what older fans of TV shows and movies want. That's why Castle of Cagliostro, an older Miyazaki fan, is getting a new DVD and Blu ray release with the 1990s English dub. There are people who prefer the older Cagliostro English dub just like there are people that like the 1988 Akira English dub better than the newer English dub recorded in 2000/2001(?). I dunno... I rarely listen to many dubs unless it's a film I saw in English first. I always listen to the Japanese audio tracks with subs, though, and occasionally flip back and forth to hear the differences in interpretation of the stories.

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Re: More Miyazaki on US Blu Ray November 14th

Post by Ben » December 4th, 2014, 8:26 pm

GeorgeC wrote:The Ghibli/Disney deal worked out very well for Ghibli in the end because of the added production funds that Disney provided for those Japanese films... I don't think this was ever about them selling millions of copies of their movies in the US market because realistically that problem won't happen.
Originally, in the Miramax days, it was about Harvey and Bob bringing Japanese animation to the US, like they had done with love-action, as well as a way for Miramax to have a bit of an animation identity of their own.

I'm not sure when Disney started ploughing funds into their films, but it did seem to be when John Lasseter professed his big interest in Miyazaki's films. I think not only was this a way to take Ghibli releases away from Miramax, but also provided Disney with another bit of kudos, both to audiences who could see ther were giving exposure to an admired foreign studio, and to critics and Oscar voters who could then champion Disney's efforts, while also keeping their friend Mr Lasseter happy.

You'll notice, though, that just as the Ghibli films have started to lose their lustre and box-office pull (down to Miyazaki's involvement or not), Disney have begun to pull back on those releases. I personally don't think it's just about subject matter, but it IS about being able to put "from the Academy Award winning director of Spirited Away" on the poster.

Personally, I wish Disney would either jump in partnership fully with Ghibli and basically act as their US distributor on all titles, or pick and choose films from other international studios too and create a "Disney Presents" label that promotes Disney-like films from around the world, like they used to do with Asterix,mLucky Luke and others in the LaserDisc days (there was even a Fleischer compilation LD put out by Buena Vista Home Video!).

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Re: More Miyazaki on US Blu Ray November 14th

Post by EricJ » December 5th, 2014, 12:58 am

Ben wrote:
GeorgeC wrote:The Ghibli/Disney deal worked out very well for Ghibli in the end because of the added production funds that Disney provided for those Japanese films... I don't think this was ever about them selling millions of copies of their movies in the US market because realistically that problem won't happen.
Originally, in the Miramax days, it was about Harvey and Bob bringing Japanese animation to the US, like they had done with love-action, as well as a way for Miramax to have a bit of an animation identity of their own.
Umm, noooo...
Tokuma's insistence on Disney putting Princess Mononoke in theaters was partly bragging rights over the deal at the time (Japan was gushing over "what Americans would think" of PM, just like we gush over Japan's Frozen-mania), and partly because the movie had only recently came out on VHS and LD at home, and they didn't want to negotiate DVD rights right away--DVD was slower to take off in Japan, and one of the reasons Disney was so "mean" as to originally put out a dub-only disk was that Toho had throttled the disk rights to the original JP soundtrack, to avoid competition from foreign disks.
After they got a good look at it, Disney let Miramax handle the distribution, to sell it to the arthouse audiences, and keep the PG-13 rating away from their own label.

Miramax didn't start seeking animation films until they snapped up Hoodwinked and Doogal, trying to get their own "family" label to compete with Dreamworks...If Ella Enchanted wasn't a subtle enough hint at the particular reasons they had in mind.
I'm not sure when Disney started ploughing funds into their films, but it did seem to be when John Lasseter professed his big interest in Miyazaki's films.
They'd already started ploughing funds into the films as part of goodwill over the deal, but didn't have much plans to do anything with them until news reports started to spring up about Spirited Away being the new lines-around-the-block box-office champ in Japan.
After their "embargo" of Ghibli films after PM, those news stories got them interested again REAL fast.
You'll notice, though, that just as the Ghibli films have started to lose their lustre and box-office pull (down to Miyazaki's involvement or not), Disney have begun to pull back on those releases. I personally don't think it's just about subject matter, but it IS about being able to put "from the Academy Award winning director of Spirited Away" on the poster.
They were able to sell Yamadas on the strength of Jim Belushi and family-sitcom humor, and Cat Returns as a wonderful fantasy cartoon, but Whisper of the Heart, as good as it was, was a harder sell.
Most people think Ghibli IS Miyazaki, end of story, and Disney knows they don't lose much by letting their audience believe that.

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Re: More Miyazaki on US Blu Ray November 14th

Post by Ben » December 5th, 2014, 4:42 pm

Um, no. You have no idea about the Miramax deal. Bob and Harvey were well into animation before they were kicked out of Miramax and founded The Weinstein Company, from where Hoodwinked and Doogal emerged.

You're about ten years out of date.

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Re: More Miyazaki on US Blu Ray November 14th

Post by GeorgeC » March 5th, 2015, 6:44 pm

There's finally a date for the US Blu ray release of Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro...

From the DigitalBits.com:

"Discotek Media has also finally set 4/28 as the U.S. release date for Hayao Miyazaki’s Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro – Collection’s Edition on Blu-ray (SRP $29.95)."

NOTE: The company name for the licensor of this movie IS Discotek but they are releasing it under their Eastern Star label. If you order the disc through Amazon.com, Eastern Star will most likely be listed as the studio/releasor of the disc. Eastern Star handles the anime and Asian live-action films Discotek licenses for the US market.

I have seen Eastern Star's Cagliostro DVD multiple times in-store and at the last anime/cosplay I attended. It's VERY available. The main reason to buy the Eastern Star DVD/Blu ray releases of Cagliostro is for the upgraded video (haven't seen it, can't comment) and the multiple audio tracks. This is the first domestic release that has all the American English dubs of the movie on it.

Multiple English dubs seem to be a theme for re-releases of classic anime features this past year. The Akira DVD/Blu ray release from Funimation also had both English dubs (1988, 2000) on it as well in addition to the remastered 5.1 mix of the original Japanese audio.
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Re: More Miyazaki on US Blu Ray November 14th

Post by Ben » March 5th, 2015, 8:05 pm

Yes! Only Cagliostro and Spirited Away to nab and I'll be happy with my Ghibli (yeah, I know) titles on BD.

Well, I should update my Grave Of The Fireflies to Blu, and I should get the new Akira too, having only Pioneer's SE DVD from a ways back.

But then I'm done. ;)

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Re: More Miyazaki on US Blu Ray November 14th

Post by Randall » March 5th, 2015, 10:26 pm

Cagliostro is a must-buy, after having sold my previous DVD editions for good money while waiting for this Blu-ray. It'll be great to see it in HD.

I haven't picked up the BD of Grave. No bonus features (unlike the 2-disc DVD I have), and not a film I'm likely to watch often.

Disney is really keeping us waiting for Spirited Away! Seriously, they returned to Tales from Earthsea, but have withheld Spirited Away? I suppose it'll be out this coming fall.

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Re: More Miyazaki on US Blu Ray November 14th

Post by Ben » March 6th, 2015, 6:11 am

Are you sure the Blu doesn't have any extras? The one I was looking at touts two English dubs, original Japanese, storyboards for the feature, deleted scene storyboards and a trailer...about the usual selection for these titles, no?

The DVD I have is barebones, I think with a trailer, maybe, but just one English and original Japanese tracks, so it would be a step up from that. So it sounds like I missed on a really decent two disc set that, while I'm guess is now OOP, I can't find any old copies of on Amazon.

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Re: More Miyazaki on US Blu Ray November 14th

Post by Randall » March 6th, 2015, 7:53 am

OK, you're correct--- I'd forgotten that the Blu of Grave of the Fireflies does have some extras (including full storyboards), but that's virtually nothing compared to the 2-disc DVD set. Here's a nice comparison chart, with links to Amazon. Copies can still be had cheaply.

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/reviews/g ... eflies.htm

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Re: More Miyazaki on US Blu Ray November 14th

Post by GeorgeC » March 6th, 2015, 5:33 pm

Be aware of a few facts with "Grave of the Fireflies."

1) That film has been licensed by two different companies. First, CPM/US Manga Corps had the rights to that film for a long time... They released it across laserdisc, VHS, and DVD. (I still have the LD in addition to the DVD release.) Their original DVD release was a two-disc version. They had a later DVD release that was a single-disc release.

I have the original two-disc CPM edition. It might be that the later licensee negotiated for these extras but I really don't remember and listing for older DVD releases frequently disappear. Amazon.com only lists what they have available and they're not always right.

(UPDATE: I saw that Section 23 did in fact release a two-disc DVD set. Probably the same stuff as the CPM release but with upgraded video. I wouldn't bother with the new DVD if you have the two-disc CPM edition. The Blu ray is the one to get. One of the articles I read was mistaken in the belief that ADV had previously licensed the film. Only two companies have licensed it in the US... One was CPM which is dead, and the other is Section23, the successor company to reorganized version of ADV Films depending on what you read online.)

2) The company that currently has the North American license to "Grave of the Fireflies" is Section23 (formerly known as ADV Films). The current DVD and Blu ray editions in print are through them.

3) Extras often have to be negotiated for separate from a feature film. The country of origin is generally going to have the video edition that's loaded with extras. CPM went the extra mile to get the extras for Grave of the Fireflies because the CPM president/owner felt it was a prestige movie and that it was worth obtaining the rights for the extras. I honestly don't know that it was worth it. CPM had more popular releases and honestly who watches extra features more than once for any film?!?!?

4) It's far from the most popular Studio Ghibli movie. This is the film known as the one where
click to reveal content
"two kids die over the course of two hours"
or "the downer/the depressing film paired with 'My Neighbor Totoro'" in the original theatrical release. Gee, which of those two films is the more popular one? Hint: it's the one with the character that became the Studio Ghibli mascot!

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There are at least two unreleased (for North America home video) Studio Ghibli features left.
One is "Only Yesterday" which Disney refuses to release in the US. (I wish they would let go of the license or let it be sub-licensed by another company like a few of Disney's old features were.)
The other is "When Marnie Was There."

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/20 ... ast/.85665

"When Marnie Was There" is being screened in North America starting May 22nd. The dub producer is the same guy who produced the dub for "From Up on Poppy Hill." The director of this film is one of Ghibli's younger guys -- this film was NOT directed by Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata (director of "Princess Kaguya," "Grave of the Fireflies," "Pom Poko," and "My Neighbors the Yamadas." "Marnie's" director is Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the fellow who directed "The Secret World of Arriety" which was the last Ghibli film Disney distributed theatrically in the US.

"Marnie" is going to show in far fewer theaters than most of the Disney/Ghibli theatrical releases did. My area was very lucky to get the last two GKids/Ghibli licenses shown in local art theaters ("Poppy Hill" and "Princess Kaguya"). This is an art theater film... you won't see it at the twenty-screen metroplex.
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