By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Fans of Hayao Miyazaki can rejoice! The next title in GKIDs and Shout! Factory‘s Studio Ghibli Collector’s Edition release is Mononoke Hime. This film is one of this filmmaker’s finest. An all new essay in this package explains the themes so everyone can enjoy this work as this director intended. Included in this box set is a 38-page booklet, the soundtrack and images from the Art of publication.
As a lifelong fan of this studio’s works, I have no problems buying this title again. Perhaps, in the future, a digital code can be offered so we can enjoy both the movie and music on the go.
This bookshelf packaging is terrific. When I saw a 30th Anniversary My Neighbour Totoro Collector’s Edition at my local video outlet years ago, I picked it up without hesitation. Despite having older editions–LDs, DVDs and Blurays–they are tough to part with as advances in video technology improves every few years. Part of it is because I do not wish to miss not having access to the bonus content from an older release that the newest doesn’t offer. It happens from time to time with a few movies. This work contains most, if not all the same material the Region 2 disc had–storyboards and a handful of featurettes–compressed into all in one package. The older dub from Disney is used for this release and the print is mint. Despite having a huge knowledge of Japanese folklore which I learned from other sources after discovering Totoro, I wanted to read what essayist Lauren Wilford had to say about this breakout hit.
Film critic, Glenn Kenny‘s look into the roles/meaning behind some of the characters in Princess Mononoke helps guide viewers into a deeper appreciation of this film. Like him, we both come from similar times and found some anime titles expressed sociological (or ecological) concerns relevant when it first debuted. The rich backstory expressed in Mononoke showed these entities are not willing to be left behind. Like Spirited Away, not everyone desires to be whisked away into magical wonder. There’s a part of us which is a glutton for punishment, and others who wish escape for simpler reasons.
The poems Miyazaki-san wrote to convey his ideas to musical composer Joe Hisaishi speaks volumes in what he wanted to emotionally express. They are only a sampling of all the poems found in the The Art of Princess Mononoke by Viz Media. These books offer more visual insight into the production process than be solid reading, however, for new fans it’s worth looking through for inspiration (especially for artists).
Owners of the complete works of Studio Ghibli need not pick up this edition. However, for those who are just jumping in and cannot afford the mega-pack, buying these Collector’s editions are a must. Plus, they are great display pieces! No official news have been made for the next release because there’s no schedule. Technically, My Neighbors the Yamadas is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and Whisper of the Heart will be in its 25th in 2020, but I’m hoping for either Pon Poko or Spirited Away.
4 Stars out of 5