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Whisper of the Heart [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 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
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certification: U
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Studio: StudioCanal
  • Run Time: 111 Mins.
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 9, 2012
  • RRP: £24.99

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Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating: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 thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:5/5]

A charming and endearing film about young romance, coming of age, and personal growth, Whisper of the Heart was the first and only full-length feature by Hayao Miyazaki’s protégé Yoshifumi Kondo before his sudden death at the young age of 47.

It’s the last summer before high school and the inquisitive young Shizuku has been spending her time cramming for high school entrance exams, translating English songs into Japanese for her friends, and with her nose stuck in as many novels as she can read before school opens again. That’s when she notices something, it’s the name “Seji” listed in all of the library books she checked out. Who could this Seiji be?

As fate would have it, Shizuku follows a strange cat riding the train by itself right into a shop run by an old man. She is drawn to an odd statue of a cat in a top hat with cane that the man says is called “The Baron.” The old man’s grandson just happens to be the very same Seiji whose name appeared on all the same check out cards in her library books. At first, she is put off by his brashness, but soon the two youngsters develop a kinship that will drive them to reach new heights, but in seemingly separate directions.

Seiji, a young violin maker, dreams of moving to Cremona, Italy, to hone his craft and make it his career. His determination drives Shizuku to push herself to try her dream of becoming a writer as she sets out to create a fantasy based on The Baron.

Such an honest and wholesome depiction of young love and self-examination, Whisper of the Heart is aided by a magical musical score and delectable graphics.

The English voice cast features David Gallagher, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Ashley Tisdale, Brittany Snow, and Cary Ewles.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

The only word to describe this transfer of Whisper of the Hear is “perfect.” The picture is so clean and detailed, with no hint of noise and beautifully saturated colors in this AVC/MPEG-4 encodement it looks good enough to lick.

Audio Quality

[Rating:5/5]

Equally as strong are the original Japanese language and English dub soundtracks in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Clean, full, and natural dialogue is bolstered by engulfing foley effects that are perfectly balanced through all the channels. Sounds during rainstorms, the chatter of the classroom, the sounds of the streets all surround you in a pleasing and atmospheric sphere. Even the musical score is pinged through different channels, at times some brass instruments can be heard coming through the surrounds while the more electronic portions of the score bounces back and forth between the left and right channels in a wide stereo pan.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

The supplements focus mostly on the artwork from the film and promos, although most of it, other than the trailers and TV Spots, is upscaled to high definition.

The supplements:

  • Storyboards – Use this picture-in-picture feature to view the original storyboards while watching the film.
  • Background Artwork from “The Baron’s Story” (1.33:1; 00:04:46) – A slideshow of the backgrounds from “The Baron’s Story” portion of the film.
  • 4 Masterpieces of Naohisa Inoue: From Start to Finish (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:34:43) – Watch a progression of Naohisa’s artwork.
  • Behind the Microphone (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:59) – This featurette offers interviews with the English voice cast and behind-the-scenes footage.
  • TV Spots (1.85:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:18)
  • Original Japanese Theatrical Trailers (1.85:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:53)
  • Studio Ghibli Collection Trailers

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

A truly classic piece of anime that only serves to reinforce the tragedy of the early passing of its creator Yoshifumi Kondo, Whisper of the Heart is an inspiring tale and a reference release in this StudioCanal edition that deserves a spot in any anime lovers collection.

Additional Screen Captures


[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B005GJTNMQ[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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

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