Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Two new Blu-rays headed for U.K. release

In a little less than four weeks, Studio Ghibli fans in the United Kingdom will be able to add two classic Hayao Miyazaki films to their Blu-ray collections.

StudioCanal, a French-based production and distribution company, recently announced plans to release Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (Rupan Sansei: Kariosutoro no Shiro) and My Neighbour Totoro (Tonari no Totoro) on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack in the United Kingdom on November 12, 2012.  Both films were directed by Hayao Miyazaki and released in Japan in 1979 and 1988, respectively.  Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka) was also rumored to be getting a Blu-ray release on the same day, but it appears as though that is not the case, as no official announcement has been made and the title is not currently listed on online stores.

Counting "pre-Ghibli" films Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Kaze no Tani no Naushika), ten Studio Ghibli Blu-rays will be in available in the United Kingdom by the end of November.  This clearly beats the six titles that will be shelves in North America after Grave of the Fireflies is released next month.  However, since the U.K. releases are typically Region B-locked, fans in North America will either have to wait patiently for Disney to play catch up or resort to importing the titles directly from Japan.

Although a future Disney release My Neighbor Totoro on Blu-ray in North America is pretty much guaranteed, the chances of Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro in high-definition are a little less certain.  Manga Entertainment released a "Special Edition" DVD version of the film in 2006, but their ownership of the home video license is said to have expired in the last few years.  Maybe, if we're lucky, a studio such as GKIDS or Sentai Filmworks will pick up the license, if available, and release this film on Blu-ray in North America once and for all.

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