I was in Tokyo over the new year and took the opportunity to pick this up – the blu-ray for Miyazaki Hayao’s animated masterpiece Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke), my favourite Ghibli film.
The original price for this is 7140 yen (waay overpriced in my opinion), but you can get it at almost 30% off from Amazon Japan at 5109 yen (about 48 USD). This is still significantly pricier than most US blu-rays, but at the time of writing this Mononoke Hime is no longer licensed for distribution in North America, so a US version of the blu-ray is unlikely to come soon.
The blu-ray disc is housed in a sturdy and hard cardboard slipcase held together by embedded magnets in the covers, and comes with a 4 page booklet with a short message from producer Suzuki Toshio. For a more detailed breakdown of the contents of the disc, read this older post.
Video quality – This is a massive improvement from the dvd version. Images are crisp and clean, the colors vibrant and dynamic. I was able to pick up details I never saw in the dvd (and I’ve seen it quite alot of times) and the high definition video really shows off Kazuo Oga’s gorgeously painted backgrounds to great effect.
The vista shot of Ashitaka riding, with the mountains in the background and some of the wide panning shots of the Shishigami Forest are especially spectacular in HD.
The high price tag and scant supplement materials make this a less than perfect release, but the exceptional video quality of the disc provides for an invigorating viewing experience of Miyazaki Hayao’s magnum opus. Very highly recommended.
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