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Blue Giant (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Story
The Animation
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements

SUMMARY

A young trio of jazz musicians, motivated by the passionate tenor saxophonist Dai, thrive to be the best in the world and the youngest ever to play at the famous Japanese jazz club So Blue.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Blue Giant Blu-ray (GKIDS/Shout!)
Blue Giant Blu-ray (GKIDS/Shout!)

Blue Giant is an anime film based on the manga written and illustrated by Ishizuka Shinichi. The film is directed by Tachikawa Yuzuru and written by Number 8 with a jazz score by HIROMI.

Miyamoto Dai’s life was changed when he discovered jazz music. It touched his soul, so at the age of fourteen he picked up a tenor saxophone and started learning how to play, even taking some lessons, with the goal of becoming the greatest musician in the world. Dai meets the exceptionally talented pianist Yukinori and convinces him to start a band together. They get friend Shunji, who also catches the jazz bug, to play drums, but as a beginner, he has to prove his dedication to learn and improve. The trio call themselves JASS and begin to rehearse at a local bar run by a jazz enthusiast with a massive collection of jazz records and a piano in her bar. When they finally start playing live, they quickly start gaining word of mouth acclaim, which helps their hopes for becoming the youngest band to play at the mecca of Jazz in Japan, the club called So Blue.

This is one of the best anime films based on music to come along in a long time. Many anime films put their focus on J-pop or rock music, but this one delves into the intricacies of jazz. But one need not be a fan of the musical genre to enjoy Blue Giant. The screenplay is so powerful that is not a prerequisite. The relationship between Dai and Yukinori is the main driver, but also the dedication of each character to their instrument and music, and the strive for greatness creates a palpable drama and tension. What also elevates the film is the wonderful use of animation to add energy and that sense of spiritual awakening to the scenes of live performances.

Finally, the score from HIROMI, an imaginative journey through modern bop with some influences from the likes of John Coltrane (the title of the manga and film an obvious nod to the Coltrane albums Blue Train and Giant Steps), Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner, and Keith Jarrett, is the undeniable glue and emotional core of the film. This is an anime film that hits a complex chord and sustains it long after the last credit fades.

Purchase Blue Giant Blu-ray on Amazon.com

  • Blue Giant (2023)
  • Blue Giant (2023)
  • Blue Giant (2023)
  • Blue Giant (2023)
  • Blue Giant (2023)
  • Blue Giant (2023)
  • Blue Giant Blu-ray (GKIDS/Shout!)
  • Blue Giant Blu-ray (GKIDS/Shout!)
  • Blue Giant Blu-ray (GKIDS/Shout!)
  • Blue Giant Blu-ray (GKIDS/Shout!)

The Video

The digital animation for Blue Giant is presented on Blu-ray in a 1.78:1 AVC 1080p encodement from GKIDS and Shout! Studios. This is a flawless presentation that is crisp, free from stairstepping and compression noise. The fills are clean, the line art is clean and detailed, and the colors can really look vibrant when need be. Blacks and blues are dark and moody, setting the atmosphere for this wonderful film.

The Audio

Blue Giant is magnificently mixed and mastered on Blu-ray with three reference quality lossless or uncompressed options in the original Japanese. There is Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 5.1, and LPCM 2.0 stereo. The Atmos mix is wonderfully spacious, with some height awareness for the jazz score and live performance sequences, wide panning of sound effects on the base channels, and deep, round bass. The 5.1 mix sounds remarkably similar, but a little bit louder and more upfront, and, obviously, without the added benefit of the overhead effects to make it sound quite as spacious. This 5.1 mix shows a Dialog Normalization setting of +4 versus a +2 for the Atmos mix. Meanwhile, the LPCM 2.0 stereo mix has wide stereo imaging and an excellent sense of dynamics and musicality for the score.

The Supplements

There is not much included with this release, but the interview with jazz composer and musician HIROMI who scored the film is insightful and enjoyable, with the composer revealing that she wrote much of the music after reading the manga, years before the film was produced.

Bonus Features:

  • Q&A with HIROMI (1080i; 00:15:56)
  • Trailers and Teasers (1080p; 00:04:29)

The Final Assessment

A wonderful anime film that deals with hopes, dreams, friendship, loyalty – and jazz! A magnificent film that hits a high note. Highly recommended.


Blue Giant is out April 30, 2024 on Blu-ray from GKIDS/Shout! Studios

Purchase Blue Giant Blu-ray on Amazon.com


  • Rating Certificate: Not Rated
  • Animation Studio: NUT
  • Distributors: GKIDS | Shout! Studios
  • Director: Tachikawa Yuzuru
  • Written By: Number 8
  • Run Time: 119 Mins.
  • Street Date: 30 April 2024
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: Japanese Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible)
  • Secondary Audio: Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 | Japanese LPCM 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English | English SDH | Spanish
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A young trio of jazz musicians, motivated by the passionate tenor saxophonist Dai, thrive to be the best in the world and the youngest ever to play at the famous Japanese jazz club So Blue.Blue Giant (Blu-ray Review)