The wait is finally over. One of Studio Ghibli’s most beloved masterpieces, Spirited Away, is finally on Blu-ray. While the wait wasn’t quite worth it in terms of bonus features, the fact that we get the film in HD for the first time was.
The Film ✮✮✮✮✮
Spirited Away tells the story of the of a young girl named Chihiro, who takes a wrong turn when traveling with her parents and ends up in a magical world of spirits. Her parents get turned into pigs and in the chaos she ventures into a bathhouse that caters to earth spirits. She encounters a young boy named Haku who comforts her and helps her secure a job in the bathhouse. In a world far from her own, it’s up to Chihiro to try and save her parents and turn them back.
Spirited Away has everything you have come to love and expect from a Studio Ghibli film: a magical setting, strong characters, beautiful animation, and intriguing plot. With all the unique characters and odd settings, it has the potential to be a total flop. But, in Hayao Miyazaki’s masterful hands, the film works so well and will win over even the most passionate skeptics.
To see the film in HD is truly spectacular and breathtaking. Every line, every color, and every frame is perfection. It’s a shame that we don’t get a digital copy of the film to enjoy also, but to have it on Blu-ray (finally) is more than good enough.
Bonus Features ✮✮✮1/2
The bonus features are nothing new, as they were released on previous home media releases. However, their inclusion is welcome nonetheless. But, since they were created years, ago they are not in HD (which is a bummer). However, it doesn’t take away too much from the actual content.
The first bonus feature is an Introduction by John Lasseter in which he describes his adoration for Miyazaki and his role in bringing this film to America. Next up is The Art of Spirited Away, which is basically your typical “making of” featurette. It is long, detailed, and all-encompassing. Any animation fan will take much away from the piece.
Behind The Microphone gives us a look at the English dub of the film. We get the typical interviews with the voice actors, but what’s even more fascinating is the behind-the-scenes glimpse at the writing process for the translation. Seeing the team involved in the English dub and all the intricacies involved in bringing a Japanese work to an American audience is a real treat.
Next up, we get a Studio Ghibli classic bonus feature in the Original Japanese Storyboards, which basically lets the viewer see the entire film in storyboard form. Considering Miyazaki storyboarded the entire movie himself, this featurette is a must-view for any aspiring animator or artist.
The Nippon Television Special is much like a “The Art of Spirited Away” above, but it gives yet another rare glimpse of Miyazaki at work. By far, this is one of the best bonus features on the set. The Original Japanese Trailers and TV Spots are a comprehensive list and feel a bit redundant. But, nonetheless, their inclusion is great for anyone who is interested in how film marketing is done in Japan.
Spirited Away is a beautiful film and a Miyazaki masterpiece, so let’s cut to the chase: Buy Spirited Away on Blu-ray. You won’t regret it.
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes