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Children Who Chase Lost Voices Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Japanese & English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: Yellow/White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: TV-PG
  • Run Time: 116 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Studio: Sentai Filmworks
  • Blu-ray Release Date: November 13, 2012
  • List Price: $39.98

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

If one didn’t know any better, one would think that Children Who Chase Lost Voices (星を追う子ども; lit. Children Who Chase Stars) aka Journey to Agartha in the UK was the work of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Written and directed by Makoto Shinkai with character designs by Takayo Nishimura and art direction by Takumi Tanji, the films fantastical look and feel coupled with its coming of age story centered around an adolescent girl who ends up on the adventure of a lifetime. It’s not surprising, however, when one finds out that Shinkai lists his favorite anime as Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky.

Children Who Chase Lost Voices immediately throws you into a gorgeously detailed world of beauty and fantasy where no detail is left to chance – the whoosh of the trees, the color of a butterfly or the cicadas rattling in the distance. We are brought into the world of Asuna, a young girl of 11 or 12, who spends much or her time outside of school alone listening in to strange sounds she picks up on a radio left to her by her late father. Using a strange crystal rather than a diode, she picks up mysterious song one day that lingers on in her heart. Little does she know that that song will be the beginning of a dangerous and wonderful new chapter in her life. When a strange bear-like creature accosts her on her path back home the next day, a boy, Shun, leaps to her rescue. With a shimmering crystal around his neck that lights up brightly, he kills the beast. Shun is from an ancient world beneath the Earth known as Agartha and the beast was one of the gatekeepers between worlds. Shun is found dead the next day, but that isn’t the end of the story only the beginning. Shin, Shun’s younger brother, returns topside looking for the crystal and Asuna finds herself transported to the Agartha, this strange world of immense beauty and danger, along with her new substitute teacher who has his own plans for traveling to the other side. Together, Asuna and her teacher, Mr. Morisaki, make their way through the hazards of Agartha, each one with the weight of the past on their shoulders and hopes for the future, but what cost will disturbing the balance between these worlds have? And will Shin help them, or stop them?

The film is nearly flawless, even of one can’t shake the feeling while watching it that it is a two-hour-long tribute to Hayao Miyazaki, some scenes seemingly lifted, or at least heavily inspired by, such films as Castle in the Sky or Howl’s Moving Castle. It’s impossible not to be drawn into the majesty and heartfelt story of Children Who Chase Lost Voices, however, and the beauty of the animation along with perfectly fit, lush orchestral score from Tenmon make it all the more infectious.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

Children Who Chase Lost Voices gets a fantastic rendering of its digital animation on Blu-ray from Sentai Filmworks. I can’t really find anything to complain about at all in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement. The image is clean, the animation is detailed and colors are vibrant. I see no noise or aliasing and color banding isn’t an issue.

Audio Quality

[Rating:5/5]

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack in the original Japanese or the English dub is absolutely reference material. Whether it is surrounding you in the delicate sound of a rain shower or the thunderous hooves of horses at full gallop, this one is thoroughly engaging and astoundingly dynamic. Dialogue moves around across the front, off to the sides, toward the back, or even behind you. The slightest sound is picked up by the lossless codec, cicadas or birds chirping, and then the sound gets into an uproar and rattles the floorboards. Everything is clean with no distortion. For those who prefer to listen to the English dub, you’ll be glad to know that the script stays rather close to the literal English subtitles, with only some slight variation here and there, one assumes for lip syncing purposes.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

There is a strong slate of extras included here, including two HD featurettes that offer interviews with the Japanese voice cast and crew, a making-of, and an interview with the director. It’s all worth going through and rather lengthy to boot.

The supplements:

  • Japanese Audio Commentary w/ English Subtitles
  • Interviews with the Staff & Cast (Japanese) (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:55:40)
  • A Brief Interview with Makoto Shinkai (Text)
  • The Making of Children Who Chase Lost Voices (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:45:18)
  • The Works of Mokoto Shinkai (1.33:1; SD; 00:07:26)
  • Japanese Promotional Video (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:04)
  • Japanese Teasers (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:02:26)
  • English Disc Credits
  • Also Available from Sentai Filmworks

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

A coming of age adventure/fantasy heavily influenced by the works of Hayao Miyazaki, with Makoto Shinkai’s Children Who Chase Lost Voices we may be witnessing the passing of the torch to the next generation of great anime filmmakers. From start to finish, this one makes you feel good inside, and that’s a rare talent for any filmmaker.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Children Who Chase Lost Voices on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B008XEZXXE[/amazon-product]

Purchase Children Who Chase Lost Voices on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]


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