My Neighbors the Yamadas (Hôhokekyo tonari no Yamada-kun) (Blu-ray) (1999)

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Released 20-Apr-2011

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Storyboards
Featurette-Making Of-
TV Spots-
Reversible Cover
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 103:37
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Isao Takahata
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Yukiji Asaoka
Toru Masuoka
Masako Araki
Naomi Uno
Akiko Yano
Chocho Miyako
Tamao Nakamura
Yasuko Tomita
Akiko Yano
Hiroyuki Morita
James Belushi
Molly Shannon
Case Amaray-Opaque-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Akiko Yano
Hiroyuki Morita


Video Audio
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
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

    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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu included motion.

Storyboards

    As with the DVD, the entire set of storyboards is included here on 344 pages for you to flick through. For enthusiasts only.

NTV Special (45:25) 

    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.

Behind the Microphone (5:30) 

    Featurette about the US voice cast, James Belushi and Molly Shannon amongst others. Not bad.

TV Spots (2:03) 

    Spots from Japanese TV.

Japanese Theatrical Trailers (13:13)

    Lots of trailers for the film.

Other Ghibli Trailers

R4 vs R1

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

    This set is available in the same format in the UK.

Summary

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 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 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

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