Sometimes, gifting that pop culture enthusiast in the family is tough, and we got our top new release picks (from this year) on what to give that person!
Anyone searching for a holiday home video gift guide of the godzilla sized home box sets of beloved franchises released this year are in luck! In this year’s edition on what to give that nerd in the family, what I offer is a list of works which I think are must own over others. Most of these major releases are available to purchase now.
There’s only two which will be out very soon, so they should arrive in time for the holiday. What’s offered looks amazing for genre fans and although a few of them are repackaged material, that’s okay since I’m considering anniversary releases too.
To note, each entry is separated out into its own page (please scroll further down to find the next page markers). Presented in alphabetical order are:
ALF: The Complete Series (Deluxe Edition) + Bundle
Love him or hate him, Alf was part of 80s pop culture!
Everyone’s favourite wise-cracking alien from Melmac, Gordon Shumway — better known to Earthlings as ALF crash-lands onto DVD in this definitive 24-disc collection. The collection includes every episode of this interstellar hit series, restored to their original broadcast length for the first time in 30 years. It also includes the 1996 film Project: ALF starring Martin Sheen, and all 47 episodes of Saturday morning’s ALF: The Animated Series and ALF Tales! Never has a collection been so out of this world!
This ShoutFactory.com Exclusive includes the NEW DVD release of ALF, an exclusive 18” x 24” rolled poster featuring new artwork, a retro prism sticker, a 7″ vinyl, an enamel pin set, a lunch box, and an authentic Melmac rock.
Out of all the many adaptations of Oscar Wilde‘s humorous supernatural short story The Canterville Ghost that I’ve seen, I still can’t decide which version is best. Upon visiting the animated take, there are bits to really like. Here, Virginia (Emily Carey) is a very confident young lady whom I’ve seen before. That’s because I’ve seen it in The Amazing Maurice. Robert Chandler produced that film along with this latest, and I’m sure Malicia and Virginia come from the same mould. Both aren’t afraid of no ghosts.
In the credits, Kim Burdon is also the co-director, and it’s tough to say how much of a contribution he made. As a newcomer to the field, maybe he handled the additions to the story, namely the running gag with Algernean Van Finchley (Merinda Hart) a wannabe Ghostbuster, complete with a Victorian age proton pack and trap. Thankfully, that isn’t overplayed and I’m fairly sure she doesn’t exist in Wilde’s tale. I’ll have to reread it to verify. If I’m wrong, I’m going to behave like Sir Simon de Canterville (Stephen Fry), bemoaning this add.
If you haven’t seen this visionary’s films, then this package coming at the end of the year is for you! Masaaki Yuasa: Five Films is coming soon!
Release Date: Decr 19, 2023
Best known for his trademark blends of inventive visual artistry and emotion-packed, sharp narrative, the visionary animator and director Masaaki Yuasa boasts a captivating library of films that is beloved and acclaimed all over the world. Now from the ingenious filmmaker comes the exquisite collection Masaaki Yuasa: Five Films, by GKIDS with distribution from Shout! Studios.
Widely regarded as one of the most imaginative and influential filmmakers working in animation, Masaaki Yuasa’s energetic style has been compared to Tex Avery and Max Fleischer. He is one of contemporary anime’s most prolific auteurs and has lent his humour and dynamism to genres as diverse as psychedelic thrillers, transcendent rock-operas and sweetly subversive teen romances.
Had this home video release included a featurette interviewing directors Keiichi Hara and Takakazu Nagatomo explaining the film, I’d appreciate Lonely Castle in the Mirror a lot more.
Now Available on Home Video Shout! Studios & GKIDS
Fans of Mizuki Tsujimura‘s Japanese fantasy book are more likely to purchase the animated adaptation of Lonely Castle in the Mirror than others, and honestly, I feel it shouldn’t be avoided. It deals with a difficult narrative in how to deal with life when it deals you lemons. It’s not just about bullying. And what’s taught here is that there are ways to find empowerment.
Although what’s shown doesn’t get deep into self-improvement, perhaps I should look at Tomo Taketomi’s manga instead. This movie follows the misery Kokoro (Ami Tôma) faces daily. She’s been teased, intimidated and perhaps more. With nowhere to retreat, how she manages at home is equally isolating, and it’s a shame.
There’s a lot more going on in Mavka, The Forest Song than just be an adaptation of the poem by Lesya Ukrainka.
Shout! Studios Release Date: Aug 15, 2023
Available to order on Amazon USA
It seems opinions about the Russian invasion into the Ukraine have filtered into children’s entertainment. When it hits that hard, that’s because one side doesn’t want the fighting, and prefers that all countries get along. When the conflict in Mavka, The Forest Song rears its ugly head, just how this title character can be a protector depends on faith.
Although the commentary was most likely not Lesya Ukrainka’s intent in her original 1911 play The Forest Song, what’s modified for this animated treatment certainly makes callbacks to other similar works, like Fern Gully than anything Disney would produce.