Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: A-
- Video Rating: A+
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: A
- Age Rating: All
- Region: 2 - Japan
- Released By: Buena Vista Home Entertainment Japan
- MSRP: �4700
- Running time: 104
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: My Neighbors the Yamadas
My Neighbors the Yamadas
By Chris Beveridge
My Neighbors the Yamadas
What They SayThe Review!
© Buena Vista Home Entertainment Japan
To say I loved this movie is an understatement. To say I loved this DVD is an understatement. If future Ghibli movies on DVD look this good, then the future looks great.
The movie itself definitely isn't typical Ghibli fare. There's no broad sweeping story, no gorgeously drawn vistas or any philosophical ramblings. The story is about a modern Japanese family just trying to get by, told in a variety of short stories and clips.
It's also very non-standard Ghibli animation. At first look, it seems like rough sketches with some dashes of color thrown onto it. Upon closer examination, this looks to be a really beautifully crafted film with a real eye for detail and a chance taken on something that isn't proven, especially after releasing Mononoke Hime.
How much you enjoy this movie may really depend on where you are in your life and your perceptions. For myself and my wife, this movie was something beautiful to watch. With its focus on the family and the day to day cultural life in Japan, we found it very fascinating, very funny and very heartwarming.
The opening sequence, from when the child Nonoko draws the sun and the moon, which turns into her grandmother, we were hooked. The toast given by the grandmother on her son and daughter-in-law's wedding day about the hardships that they must face and overcome during their marriage is indeed spot on, and quite universal in fact. Just watching the opening ten minutes made me feel both happy and sad and gave me something of a different perspective to go through life with regards to both my wife and daughter. Very touching indeed.
The series of stories throughout alternate between outright hilarious, such as the mother conning her son, Noboru, into cleaning the dishes or the fight with the remote between the mother and father. Others fall into the mildly amusing category while the ending sequence, which alternates between the animation seen throughout or a mix of more adult pieces is very poignant for those getting older and doing the "salaryman" route and just trying to look out for their family.
Buena Vista Japan truly did an exceptional job with this disc. The transfer is simply gorgeous and really shines, more so because of the animation style than the kind we usually see from Ghibli. The white and pastel colors are beautifully rendered and look very sharp. The audio tracks, while not benefiting hugely from 5.1 in both DD and DTS, definitely make out good in the music department. I only did a spot check between the two, but I definitely prefer the warmer feeling of the DTS track.
As others have said, the subtitle track is definitely slightly Americanized, which is typical of several domestic studios tracks as well. The only real obvious places are where they talk about money ($?) and a reference to calling 911. These are easily forgivable, especially when I otherwise would not even get a subtitle track. I truly wish I had an email address so I could send my sincere thanks for providing this subtitle track.
The Yamada's, which I believe was not a hit in any form in Japan, isn't something that will go over wildly here either. There will be a crowd who will definitely adore it, much like myself. If you've got the ability to play region two discs, this is a shining example of just how gorgeous things can be.
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround,Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround,Japanese DTS 5.1 Surround,English Subtitles,French Subtitles,Japanese Subtitles,Storyboard Development,Animated Pencil Sketches,Trailers (theatrical and TV),Ghibli Collection Preview,Castle of Cagliostro Trailer,Yamada's Manga Booklet
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers