Friday, December 30, 2011

Discotek Media licenses Panda Kopanda

Hot on the heals of the announcement that they're bringing the first season of Lupin III to DVD, Discotek Media has posted on Facebook that they've acquired the rights to the two Panda Kopanda films.

Mimiko, Panny, and Papa Panda.

Known as Panda! Go, Panda! and Panda! Go, Panda! The Rainy-Day Circus (Panda Kopanda: Amefuri Circus no Maki)  in North America, the films follow Mimiko and her adventures with a baby panda named Panny and his father, Papa Panda.  Both films were directed by Isao Takahata and written by Hayao Miyazaki and made their debut in Japan in 1972 and 1973.

Although previously available in North America on DVD from Geneon/Pioneer, the edition is no longer in print.  Discotek mentions in the comments of their post that their upcoming release "will be better than the Pioneer DVD" and "will have the original credits."  No release date has been announced except that the new edition can be expected in 2012.  Both films are currently available in their entirety on Hulu.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Disney to "re-promote" Studio Ghibli home video titles

As reported by The Digital Bits, Disney plans to "re-promote" their previous Studio Ghibli DVD and Blu-ray releases on February 5, 2012 in anticipation of the North American theatrical premiere of The Secret World of Arrietty on February 17.  Titles in this promotion include:

  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (DVD & Blu-ray)
  • Castle in the Sky (DVD)
  • My Neighbor Totoro (DVD)
  • Kiki's Delivery Service (DVD)
  • Porco Rosso (DVD)
  • Pom Poko (DVD)
  • Whisper of the Heart (DVD)
  • Princess Mononoke (DVD)
  • My Neighbors the Yamadas (DVD)
  • Spirited Away (DVD)
  • The Cat Returns (DVD)
  • Howl's Moving Castle (DVD)
  • Tales from Earthsea (DVD)
  • Ponyo (DVD & Blu-ray)

By "re-promoting," I am assuming Disney will simply distribute additional copies of these previously released titles to stores, possibly with new slipcovers or promotional stickers to advertise Arrietty.  A similiar event took place when Ponyo was released on DVD & Blu-ray in 2010; several DVD titles were repackaged with artwork and released on the same day.

Several DVD titles were re-released with new packaging in 2010.

With only two films from the studio currently available on Blu-ray in North America, I'm hoping Disney also takes the opportunity to release a couple more titles on the format to coincide either with Arrietty's theatrical premiere or it's home video release later this year.  In March it will be a year since Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was released on Blu-ray, and we're definitely due for the next few titles in high definition.

Sentai Filmworks licenses Grave of the Fireflies

Sentai Filmworks announced earlier this month that they've acquired the North American distribution rights to Isao Takahata's 1988 masterpiece Grave of the Fireflies.  The film, which has been out of print for the last several years, will return to store shelves on DVD on March 6, 2012 and is currently available for pre-order on

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Let's hope that once the film is released on Blu-ray in Japan, Sentai Filmworks will have the option to release the title on the format in North America.  My fingers are crossed!