Studio Canal have revealed that they are preparing Dual Format editions of Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and Isao Takahata's Grave of the Fireflies (1988). The two editions will be available for purchase online and in shops across the United Kingdom on November 12th.
My Neighbor Totoro
Japanese animated feature from Studio Ghibli, directed by Hayao Miyazaki. When their mother is taken ill, two young girls move to the country with their father to spend more time with her while she recuperates. As they explore their surroundings, young Mei starts to believe that the nearby forest is inhabited by magical creatures. At first her sister Satsuki refuses to believe her, but before long the two girls are having magical adventures with the Tororos, the magical protectors of the forest.
Grave of the Fireflies
Based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka, this haunting Japanese anime tells the story of two children, 14-year-old Seita (Tsutomu Tatsumi) and his four-year-old sister Setsuko (Ayano Shiraishi), who are struggling to survive in 1940s war-torn Japan where bombings by American warplanes and napalm attacks are an almost daily occurrence. When their mother is killed in an air raid, and the fate of their Naval officer father remains unknown, the children are left to fend for themselves. After a brief and uncomfortable stay with a cold and distant aunt, who makes it clear that she doesn't want to be burdened with them, they run away and set up home in an abandoned bomb shelter. For a while they find some happiness living on their own with a field of almost magical fireflies to keep them company. But as the rationing of food grows more unbearable, Seita finds it an increasing struggle to keep himself and Setsuko alive.
I generally hate dubs, but I must say that Disney has done great English dubs for the Ghibli films. Michael Keaton's voiceover for Porco Rosso is superb. Dakota & Elle Fanning also did a fine job for Totoro, as did Alison Lohman and Patrick Stewart for Nausicaa. A lot of these Ghibli are not typical anime. They are character dramas with emotional nuances, which the voice actors are capable of handling. Maybe the Disney dubs were directed well. Or maybe they didn't try to imitate the Japanese voice artists, but to "play" the roles their own ways. In fact, I believe the dub scripts were written by someone who didn't even know the Japanese language. Anyway, the results are great, and they showed a dub can enhance a movie too. Of course, a dub track often doesn't always stick to the original meanings, but sometimes neither does a subtitle track.
@kevin87 I've heard that aswel but I've also heard that the reason it takes so long to be released in the US is because Japan is also region A and if the two countries were to release the titles too close together, Japanese buyers would just opt for the US release which works out to be considerably cheaper even with postage costs taken into account. Therefore since Japan gets the first release dates of the ghibli titles it means the US must get it much later. I find that more believable than the US releases being better quality. I own all current UK ghibli blu-rays and I can assure all who may be worried that there is infact nothing to worry about. They are all great improvements over the dvd releases and look gorgeous
Generally I find the Disney American English dubs quite unacceptable. They use extremely strong "cute" Amerian accents and nuances that just do not fit the Japanese nature of the stories at all. Disney land in Japan sounds ridiculous! The original Japanese with subtitles sound much more authentic. Viewers from the UK and other English speaking markets outside North America should be alert to this as many will not be able to stomach these (to my ears) nausiating dubs.
Looks as if Studio Canal is the go-to studio for all (western-friendly) things Studio Ghibli. Just as I imported Arrietty and Howl's Moving Castle, I'll also import My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies. I haven't seen either of the last two; ironically this announcement happened to occur on the same day Totoro arrived from my Netflix queue (it had been added to the queue months ago). Talk about coincidence.
I hope Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away are not too far away.