Tales from Earthsea (Gedo senki) (Blu-ray) (2006)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 23-May-2012

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Storyboards-Feature Length (Alternate Angle)
Featurette-Making Of-NTV Special (43:53)
Featurette-Making Of-Behind the Microphone (47:33)
Theatrical Trailer-Japanese (2:51)
Trailer-Studio Ghibli Collection
Featurette-Making Of-Soundtrack Documentary
Featurette-Making Of
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 115:27
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Goro Miyazaki

Madman Entertainment
Starring Junichi Okada
Aoi Teshima
Bunta Sugawara
Yko Tanaka
Teruyuki Kagawa
Jun Fubuki
Takashi Nait
Mitsuko Baisho
Yui Natsukawa
Kaoru Kobayashi
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $34.95 Music Tamiya Terajima
Yji Takeshige
Naoya Fujimaki

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Japanese DTS HD Master Audio 6.1 ES Discrete
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Tales From Earthsea (Gedo Senki) is another Studio Ghibli title to get a Blu-ray upgrade from Madman Entertainment. Our review of the original DVD release from 2007 can be found here. Rob gave a great explanation of the plot and the history of the film in that review and it is well worth reading.

This film marked the directorial debut of Goro Miyazaki, son of the master Hayao Miyazaki. This film had a very difficult genesis with Hayao disagreeing with his son being put in charge of the production and the author of the Earthsea books, Ursula K. Le Guin publicly criticising the film. This is quite a dark and violent film compared to other Studio Ghibli fare and the plot is very talky and difficult to follow sometimes and is not really a direct adaptation of the books, being a story loosely based on the third book, but using bits of the other ones. Goro was also responsible for the screenplay. I found this film disappointing as a fan of Studio Ghibli because it lacked the sweetness and plot clarity of other films from this marvellous animation studio. Goro has obviously been forgiven as he has gone on to direct two more films for the studio in the last year or so, both of which we are yet to see in Australia. It is still quite a good film just not up to the usual standard of the studio.

On a positive note, the animation and music are magnificent, bursting to life on this new Blu-ray release. One particular scene which sticks in the memory is Sparrowhawk riding towards Cob's castle with his staff alight, across the darkened plain. The animation is marvellous in this piece as is the accompanying music.

The big question for fans of the film is whether or not the problems mentioned by Rob in his review have been resolved on this new release and whether an upgrade is advisable. The answer is a clear 'Yes' but read on for details of the transfers and improved extras.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


The video quality is excellent.

The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080p encoded using AVC.

The picture was very clear and sharp throughout. The shadow detail was excellent.

The colour was truly magnificent bursting out of the screen in a vivid rainbow of colours especially the sunsets.

The only very minor artefact I noticed was that some thin lines shimmer a little during movement, however this is very minor and the MPEG compression problems mentioned by Rob are gone.

There are subtitles available in English. They are clear and easy to read, following the Japanese dialogue rather than the English version.

There are no obvious layer changes during playback.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


The audio quality is excellent.

This disc contains the original Japanese soundtrack in DTS HD-MA 6.1 and the English dub in DTS HD-MA 5.1. There does not seem to be a whole lot of difference between them (except the language spoken).

Dialogue was clear and easy to hear and understand.

The music by Tamiya Terashima is fantastic adding so much drama and tension to the film that it is a shame it is let down somewhat by the screenplay. It sounds marvellous on the Blu-ray.

The surround speakers were used a lot throughout, with the action scenes filling the speakers. The opening of the storm and the dragons fighting was fantastic.

The subwoofer was used throughout as well, adding bass to action scenes, storms and the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


A couple of new extras compared to the DVD but nothing to blow your socks off.


The menu included sounds and pictures from the film. Like Ponyo it has an interesting lively design and is well worth watching through its cycle.


The full Hayao Miyazaki designed storyboard reel is available as a picture-in-picture extra as you watch the film. These appeared on the DVD version.

The Birth Story of the film soundtrack (60:10) **NEW**

A really looooong documentary about the soundtrack of the movie and the process by which it came about. It includes interviews with the composer and producer, a music video of the pop song, details of the instrumentation and much more. 4X3 in Japanese with burned in subtitles (over Japanese onscreen text at times).

NTV Special (43:49)

Repeated from the DVD, this is a Japanese television special about the making of the movie including interviews, behind the scenes footage and details of how the rights were obtained.

Behind the Microphone (47:30)

Another very looong featurette about the Japanese voice cast including recording session footage and their thoughts about their characters. Also repeated from the DVD.

Behind the Studio : Origins of Earthsea (4:00) **NEW**

A succinct featurette seemingly made for English speaking audiences. Includes an interview with the producer.

TV Spots (1:29) **NEW**

Original Japanese TV advertisements for the film.

Theatrical Trailer (9:30) **NEW**

Original Japanese Trailers in HD.

Other Trailers

Reversible Slick


R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

This Blu-ray is available in the same format in the UK but has not been released in Region A yet.


A wonderfully animated film from Studio Ghibli that doesn't quite match up to the best the studio has to offer.

The video quality is excellent.

The audio quality is excellent.

The extras are huge in quantity and quite interesting to see.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE