Castle of Cagliostro (Mania.com)
By:Edwin De La Cruz
Review Date: Thursday, February 07, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2000
Wow! Throw out your old Streamline VHS copy of this film, because the newly remastered version contained in Manga Entertainment's reissue of Hayao Miyazaki's directorial feature debut, Castle of Cagliostro, will simply blow you away. It looks as if it was made last year. The colors are vibrant and the image is quite clean, free of any pixellation artifacts, surpassing the film's previous incarnation a few years ago as a deluxe Laserdisc bilingual edition from Toho. Castle of Cagliostro is presented in its original 1.85.1 theatrical aspect ratio.
The disc contains an adequate menu system, nothing out of this world. The menus highlight a scene index, language set-up, web links and Manga product information. A Lupin or FAQ would've made a nice addition to those who may not know much behind the wacky thief and his sidekicks. This is no setback, as the film stands firm on its own, thanks to Hayao Miyazaki's masterful direction. What's incredible is how well the film has stood the test of time, considering the other anime films from that era look today. There are more than enough excellent animation sequences in the 20 year-old film. Although the image is incredible, purists will sorely miss the lack of an anamorphic transfer.
The dubbed version used for that LD edition and its American VHS counterpart has been scrapped by Manga and replaced with an all-new dub. The voices of the new dub are very good, fitting each character appropriately. The all-new English version's Lupin and Clarice are great and will please the average viewer. Die-hard Lupin fans will scream "He sounds too young!!" while others will scream "How many different ways have they said the word Cagliostro?!"
Beyond that flaw/distraction, the sound has been exceptionally cleaned up and is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 in both English and Japanese. But it is the English language track that shines bright. The subwoofer gets an extensive workout during action scenes and the climactic clock tower scene; the front speakers offer some adequate directional effects with the film's score and sound effects (I heard cute birds chirping around!). The Japanese Dolby track, sadly, is lower than the English and makes extensive use of the center channel. It's almost mono. But considering the quality of the print and the low cost of the disc compared to the $100+ Japanese LD, I'm quite happy with Manga's offering of Castle of Cagliostro.
Lastly, the only thing that I found wrong with the release is its cover art. Not only is the image fuzzy, but I think Manga's trying too hard market the film as an action-packed title (which it is) but why couldn't Manga use the film's original key art as used in Streamline's release and subsequently in the Japanese LD re-issue? From the cover art, it seems like Manga's going for the theme portrayed in the Cagliostro's first American incarnation as "Cliffhanger", the laserdisc videogame of the early '80s in the hopes of catching the eye of those who may be old enough to remember the game. In the end however, it really is no surprise why Castle of Cagliostro is an anime staple, beloved by so many. Get this disc!
Sony 32" Trinitron TV, Sony DVP S330 DVD Player, Technics SAX-730 Receiver, Technics SHC-500D Dolby Digital/DTS Processor. Cambridge Soundworks Front and Surround Speakers, Yamaha Center Channel Speaker. JBL PSW 112 Powered Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: A+
Audio Rating: A+
Video Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: C
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Manga Entertainment
Running time: 109
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Lupin the 3rd