SPIRITED AWAY Recasts Its Spell with a new SHOUT! FACTORY Blu-ray

Studio Ghibli’s Classics return to Blu-ray in partnership with Gkids and Shout! Factory

Fans of Studio Ghibli rejoice. Long only available on home video in limited, or pricey editions, the animators in partnership with GKIDS and Shout! Factory, are re-issuing their classics on Blu-ray in a series of affordable, and handsomely produced packages. Long one of their most cherished features, and winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away is one of the more enticing releases, in a wonderful collection.

Spirited Away Synopsis:

Chihiro’s family is moving to a new house, but when they stop on the way to explore an abandoned village, her parents undergo a mysterious transformation and Chihiro is whisked into a world of fantastic spirits ruled over by the sorceress, Yubaba. Put to work in a magical bathhouse for spirits and demons, Chihiro must use all her wits to survive in this strange new place, find a way to free her parents and return to the normal world. Overflowing with imaginative creatures and thrilling storytelling, Spirited Away became a worldwide smash hit, and is one of the most critically-acclaimed films of all time.

Being blunt, if you’re a fan of the film and don’t own it, this is perhaps one of the best opportunities to own it. Never seen it, grab a copy, there is little chance you’ll regret it once Spirited Away has won you over with its creativity and charm.

Long considered Miyazaki’s masterpiece, Spirited Away is a magical fairytale blended with a coming of age story that embraces many darker themes. Aspects of religion, a critique of greed, in all its forms, as well as a message on environmental sensitivity, something that often permeates Miyazaki’s work. As ever, he deftly working in other social themes, particularly those pertaining to family and culture in Japan. This human core is rooted in Chihiro’s journey, not only to survive but also save her parents, in a land of fantastical creatures and happenings. It’s a world given life through exquisite hand-drawn animation, with vibrant color and characters. The approach makes it feels old school and yet, with its impact still revelatory. Aided by some wonderful native vocal talents (none of this dubbed nonsense thank you) and a delightful score by Joe Hisaishi, the whole endeavor is imbued with a sense of mystery and awe.

Miyazaki has a golden touch, a way of captivating the senses and lighting up your mind. Spirited Away is the epitome of this and it’s difficult to argue with those who deem it the highlight of his illustrious career. A curiously enthralling tale that is imbued with oodles of charm, thrills, and oddities.

The Package

The release offers up a transfer of truly impressive quality. Crisp detail, colors that pop, it’s a beauty to behold. For those curious what you’ll be hearing/reading, the release includes dubbed English and French, a Japanese version with English dubtitles, as well as the original English and French subtitle translations from the original Japanese version.

The package contains both Blu-ray and DVD copies of the film and comes within a card slipcase. It’s also worth noting the retail price of these releases is FAR more competitive than past efforts, including the recent Disney releases. Special features include:

Feature-Length Storyboards: The whole film in storyboard format. A fascinating watch, especially illuminating for those budding artists
• Original Theatrical Trailers: Self explanitory
 • TV Spots: 10 short trailers from Japanese TV
 • Behind the Microphone: Running just over 5 minutes, a number of interviews with the American actors who lent their talents to the dubbed version…if you’re into that sort of thing
 • 12-page Booklet w/ statements from Producer (Toshio Suzuki) and Director (Hayao Miyazaki): A nicely produced booklet, showing images from the film itself, interspersed with comments on the film and its legacy by these two creative talents

The Bottom Line

The magic of Spirited Away has not lessened over time. An irrefutable classic given a fine release, one with a solid array of extras as well as a visual presentation that does the wonderful work of Miyazaki justice. An essential purchase from Shout! Factory.

Spirited Away is available via Shout Factory from October 17th

GKIDS Is Releasing Acclaimed Studio Ghilbli Films Press Release:

Studio Ghibli and GKIDS, with distribution by Shout! Factory, will release several titles from the famed Studio Ghibli library of films! These movies will have significant upgrades. We can’t wait to watch them all! Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Princess Mononoke come out today and Castle In The Sky and Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind will be released on October 31. The Secret World Of Arrietty and Porco Rosso will follow on November 21.

Previous post MANSFIELD 66/67 is the Perfect Halloween Treat for Cinephiles!
Next post WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES Battles For Caesar’s Soul