My Neighbors the Yamadas (Hôhokekyo tonari no Yamada-kun) (Blu-ray) (1999)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||1999|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Isao Takahata|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Japanese DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Well, much as I love the work of Studio Ghibli, I couldn't help but be somewhat disappointed by My Neighbors the Yamadas. It's very different from most others in the Ghibli canon, and therefore may not be everyone's cup of tea. That does not mean that it's a bad film. It's just quite unlike most of this famous studio's other projects. It lacks the elements of great adventure and fantasy which make films like Ponyo, Laputa, Naussica or even Pom Poko the special films that they are.
The story here is much more prosaic, set as it is in a normal Japanese family. Also, it is told by way of vignettes rather than an overriding narrative. There is a very interesting featurette on the disc from Japanese Television, where it becomes clear that Hayao Miyazaki is not a big fan of this film, either. Anyway, My Neighbors The Yamadas has lots of wonderful elements, such as the great characters, some amusing scenes, and moments of emotional resonance. My favourite scene was where the parents, Takashi and Matsuko, were fighting over what show to watch on TV. Their skirmish develops into a martial arts contest.
It was previously released in Region 4 on DVD, which we reviewed here. This new edition is certainly a big step up from the DVD, as that release was an NTSC to PAL conversion, with all the requisite issues. Fans of the film who are Blu-ray capable should certianly consider an upgrade, although it is not a film with which to show off your home theatre.
The film was directed by Isao Takahata, who also directed Pom Poko. It was made in 1999.
In summary, this is a cute film but fans of the normal Ghibli style might find themselves somewhat disappointed.
The video quality is excellent, however, this style of animation does not have a 'wow' factor on Blu-ray due to its simple hand drawn style.
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 colour was excellent, beautifully conveying the palette of the animation.
There were no obvious compression or film-to-video artefacts.
Subtitles are available in English. They are clear and easy to read, and were based on the Japanese language version rather than the English dub.
There are no obvious layer changes during playback.
The audio quality is very good.
This disc contains both a Japanese soundtrack and English dub soundtrack in DTS-HD MA 5.1. The English dub is a quality track here, unlike the bad dubs included on many home video Asian film releases.
Dialogue was very clear and easy to hear and understand.
The music by Akiko Yano was beautiful and a major addition to the film.
The surround speakers were used for some mild atmosphere such as rain noises and music.
The subwoofer was used to support the music but this is a not a film that requires a lot of LFE.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu included motion.
As with the DVD, the entire set of storyboards is included here on 344 pages for you to flick through. For enthusiasts only.
An interesting special from Japanese Television which has the usual Japanese TV annoyance of writing all over the acreen in Japanese and English (two set of English subtitles!). Once you get past the writing, there is some very interesting material here, including interviews with the director and Miyazaki about the project. The voice acting, schedule, music and other topics are also covered. Very worthwhile and it was not on the DVD.
Featurette about the US voice cast, James Belushi and Molly Shannon amongst others. Not bad.
Spots from Japanese TV.
Lots of trailers for the film.
This set is available in the same format in the UK.
A fun but lesser project from Studio Ghibli.
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is very good.
A decent set of extras is present on the disc.
|DVD||SONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|