Spirited Away (Blu-ray) (2001)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Behind the Microphone
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Hayao Miyazaki|
David Ogden Stiers
|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|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
After a wait that sometimes seemed interminable, Spirited Away, for many the most artistically successful film from director Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, has finally arrived on Blu-ray. Its release coincides with the comprehensive box set of Miyazaki films which is an essential purchase for those with an underlying devotion to the Japanese director and a little money in their pocket.
Perhaps Spirited Away has been left to last like an encore at a rock concert. Certainly it is probably the work which introduced the world to the beautiful, simple yet complex world of Miyazaki. Earlier titles had been successful in limited release but Spirited Away, aided by the support and admiration of John Lasseter of Pixar, captured the spirit of Westerners, both old and young, and earned the Academy award for Best Animated Feature in a year that featured popular titles like Ice Age and Lilo & Stitch. It would be the first of three nominations for Miyazaki but his only win. The 2000's were the era of Pixar with their films picking up most of the accolades.
Spirited Away has been comprehensively reviewed on this site before and it is to those extensive and informative reviews (of the Standard Edition and Limited Edition) to which newcomers to the film should turn. Essentially it is a film about a young girl finding strength and maturity in herself when trapped in a sometimes frightening spirit world. There are indeed some scary moments for youngsters. This was the first Miyazaki film I saw at the cinema and it was an interrupted viewing, as I escorted disturbed youngsters out of the movie house for a short walk until they had steeled themselves to return. That is part of the power of Miyazaki films, to introduce kids to some difficult and frightening situations and moral choices to strengthen them for the world.
Anyone who likes Miyazaki, or even just well told fantasy stories, but hasn't seen the film should buy it now.
Spirited Away comes to Blu-ray in the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
The film already looked pretty decent on DVD. Still, this is a mighty step up. The sharpness of the image makes familiar moments seem fresh and new.
The colours are strong and bright and the hand painted animation is spectacular to look at. The lines are clear and crisp. At the same time, nothing in this film is done for pure dazzle factor - every scene has a touch of the painters’ eye.
There are subtitles in English, and Descriptive Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired.
Spirited Away contains two audio tracks. The original Japanese track is a 6.1 DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack. There is also an English DTS HD Master Audio track.
Both have been extensively reviewed and analysed for their merits, comparing the original track to the English track.
The DVD of Spirited Away was already strongly presented in terms of sound. This has been added to and expanded by the high-definition soundtracks. The dialogue is clear and crisp throughout. The surround track features a good deal of interesting facts and ambience, particularly in the noises of the bathhouse and the breezes that blow across the landscape.
The sub-woofer is used to strong effect in some of the dramatic scenes particularly when the cursed Haku returns to the bathhouse in dragon form.
The wonderful score from Joe Hisiashi is given the room to breathe.
All in all a wonderful sonic experience.
|Surround Channel Use|
As with the other entries in the Studio Ghibli transitions to Blu-ray the extras are limited.
The Standard Edition DVD described above had no extras whereas the Limited Edition had the following:
This release largely replicates the extras on the limited edition DVD. They are:
The Making of featurette is the same as the DVD. I previously owned the Region 1 DVD of the film which was on two discs. The Behind the Microphone featurette was on that edition. It is fairly brief though worth a watch. For those who have already seen the Making of special it is quite lengthy and interesting. It is important to note that, as with previous Studio Ghibli releases on Blu-ray, the extras are by and large not in high-definition.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This Blu-ray is yet to be released in Region A, though there is a Japanese version floating about. Buy local.
Spirited Away is one of the great animated features. It can be watched time and again with more and more nuances emerging. The Blu-ray presentation is excellent and is an essential purchase for fans of the film or Miyazaki.
|DVD||Cambridge Audio 752BD All Region Blu-ray, using HDMI output|
|Display||JVC DLX 700 with 4K e-shift on 140" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Pioneer SC -LX 78K 9.2 Channel|
|Speakers||Aaron ATS-5 7.1|