Tale of Princess Kaguya, The (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 6-May-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Featurette
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 137:04
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Isao Takahata
Isao Takahata
Isao Takahata
Riko Sakaguchi

Madman Entertainment

Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
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
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    I have reviewed quite a few films from Studio Ghibli, however I can certainly say that my favourites are those under the guiding hand, in one form or other, of Hayao Miyazaki. Other directors' work from the studio has never interested me as much, despite enjoying some of the films. This film seemingly will be the swan song of the other founder of the studio Isao Takahata, the man behind films like My Neighbours the Yamadas, Grave of the Fireflies & Pom Poko. I find his work interesting but generally speaking not as engaging as Miyazaki's films. This film was a similar experience for me. Whilst I realise that this film was Oscar nominated for Best Animated Feature, for me it was beautiful and wonderfully animated in a hard drawn and artistic style but lacked entertainment value and emotional engagement. The storytelling was ponderous at times and despite the beautiful animation, I found it difficult to get through.

    The story is based on a very old Japanese folktale, called 'The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter'. The story involves an old bamboo cutter, who is cutting bamboo in the forest one day when he find a tiny girl inside a bamboo pole. He raises her with his wife referring to her as princess. One day he find gold in another bamboo pole which enables him to move her to the capital and raise her as a princess. This attracts the attention of noble suitors who ask for her hand in marriage. Will any of the suitors be acceptable to her? And what will her ultimate fate be?

    As I mentioned above from an animation perspective this is a very artistic film, with beautiful ink pen based animation. There is a stunning sequence where she runs away that really shows off the artistic merits of the film. Fans of the art of animation will love this film due to this. Unfortunately, the story can be quite hard to watch, it goes on too long (over 2 hours) and never really engages its audience fully, at least the four people who watched the film with me. To my mind, it is more of an academic experience rather than an entertaining one.

    Recommended for fans of the art of animation, however, broader Ghibli or animation audiences will probably be disappointed.

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Transfer Quality


    This video transfer is excellent with no issues at all to report. The colour and clarity are wonderful, all in pristine 1080p. The film is presented in the OAR of 1.85:1. The Blu-ray really shows off the marvellous animation.

    Subtitles are available in English for the Japanese dialogue and English for the hearing impaired for the English dub which are both clear and easy to read.

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


    The soundtrack is delicate and beautiful highlighted by a wonderful score from Ghibli regular, Joe Hisaishi. technically, there are two options both in DTS HD-MA 5.1. The options are either the original Japanese or a quality English dub. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The music fills the sound field, however, there is little other surround activity except some minor atmosphere. The subwoofer has little to do except support the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    A small set of extras.


    The menu is pretty, featuring sound and motion.

Film Completion Announcement (40:08)

    A very formal and quite dry press conference featuring the producer, director and cast and crew answering questions from the press.

Japanese Trailers (10:59)

    Various trailers for the film.

Japanese TV Spots (2:22)

    More promos.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region A version includes a separate DVD with a feature length documentary about the making of the film. Region A wins.


    An artistically beautiful animated film which lacks somewhat in entertainment value.

    The video quality is exceptional.

    The audio quality is exceptional.

    The extras are minor.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMR-PWT500, 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 amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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