- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English
- Classification: PG
- Region: B (Region-Locked)
- Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
- Studio: Optimum Home Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: May 9, 2011
- RRP: £24.99
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[R[Rating:4/5]r> The Film
[R[Rating:4/5]r> Supplemental Materials
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
From Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation equivalent of Walt Disney Studios, comes this quaint, humorous, and beautifully animated film, My Neighbors the Yamadas. Directed by Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies), My Neighbors the Yamadas is based on a four-panel manga about a normal middle class Japanese family. It follows them through the ups and downs of their daily lives. The Stern, hardworking father Takashi, his well-meaning, but peculiar housewife Matsuko, their son, daughter, and outspoken grandmother all live together. They may not always get along, but in the end, it’s all about family.
The film progresses through a series of small vignettes, each of those separated into themed “chapters.” It’s fun to watch, touching, and beautifully animated. The film looks like it comes right out of a storybook or a Japanese pastel.
The English voice cast includes Jim Belushi and Molly Shannon.
The look of the Yamadas won’t leap out at you, it’s a reserved, soft color palette with pastels on mostly light or white backgrounds, but this 1080p AVC encodement from Optimum is up to the usually high standards of Studio Ghibli works that we have seen up to this point on Blu-ray. It is clean, free from artifacts, and very detailed, in a word, it’s flawless.
Both the original Japanese and English language soundtracks are available in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mixes. Despite the big names voicing the characters on the English mix, I stuck with the Japanese language track and English subtitles. Both are quite strong, with clean dialogue and beautifully open sounding Classically-based score performed by the Czech Philharmonic. Motion and spread across the front is possibly a bit more and wider in the English track, and overall dynamic range is not very wide overall, but it is pleasant nevertheless.
There are two good behind-the-scenes/making of featurettes and a cool storyboards picture-in-picture feature included alongside some promotional materials.
The supplements included with this release are:
- Storyboards – Picture-in-picture storyboard sketches of the animation.
- NTV Special Program Super TV “15 Months Exclusive Coverage: Secrets of My Neighbors the Yamadas” (45 mins.; New) – This nearly hour-long making of special is actually rather insightful and gives an in-depth look at the various levels of production.
- Behind the Microphone – A look behind the scenes at the English voice cast. (68 mins.; New) – A behind-the-scenes look at the English voice cast complete with interviews.
- TV Spots – Japanese TV Spots
- Original Japanese Theatrical Trailers
- Studio Ghibli Collection Trailers
The Definitive Word
Another endearing film in the Studio Ghibli canon, My Neighbors the Yamadas is a must for any fan of animation and it is served well by this stellar release from Optimum releasing.
Additional Screen Captures
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[Rat[Rating:4/5] The Film
[Rat[Rating:4/5] Supplemental Materials