Spirited Away appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a strong visual presentation.
At all times, sharpness remained terrific. Virtually no softness crept into the image, so we got a tight, well-defined package.
No signs of jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws also remained absent.
Given its fantasy elements, Away boasted a moderately varied palette. The movie’s colors went with a nice mix of hues, all of which appeared lively and bold.
Blacks seemed deep and dark, while low-light shots presented nice smoothness and clarity. This ended up as a solid image.
Though not quite as good, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack added punch to the proceedings. Due to those aforementioned fantasy components, the mix opened up well and used the various speakers to create a lively sonic environment.
Integration seemed smooth and coherent. The soundfield fared well as a whole and added to the story.
Audio worked fine, with speech that came across as natural and concise. Music appeared vivid and full, as the score remained well-depicted.
Effects added spark to the material and showed nice accuracy and depth, with warm, tight bass. This became a satisfying mix.
Note that the disc provides DTS-HD MA 5.1 versions of both the movie’s original Japanese dialogue as well as an English dub. Though I preferred the native Japanese version, the English take offered good actors and became a credible substitute for folks who hate subtitles.
A few extras appear here, and we get an unusual option: Feature-Length Storyboards. These offer precisely what they imply and give us the opportunity to view the entire film via its storyboards. This seems like a cool addition for fans.
Behind the Microphone runs five minutes, 43 seconds and brings notes from English translation director Kirk Wise, English translation executive producer John Lasseter, English translation writers Cindy and Donald Hewitt, Disney Animation EVP Pam Coats, and actors Jason Marsden, Suzanne Pleshette and Susan Egan.
We get some thoughts about the movie’s English adaptation. A few insights emerge but most of this feels like promo fluff.
The disc ends with eight Japanese trailers and 10 Japanese TV spots.
A separate DVD copy comes with a feature absent from the Blu-ray: a Nippon Television Special. The 41-minute, 53-second program ran on Japanese TV in advance of the feature’s release.
Despite cultural differences between the US and Japan, both countries’ PR seems very much the same. That means this supplement looks and feels very similar to other “Making Of” features we’ve seen on various Blu-rays and DVDs.
However, even though the piece remains very promotional in nature, it’s a great find for those of us with limited knowledge of the project, as well as the career of Miyazaki himself. We get an inside look at Studio Ghibli and how they prepare for a large feature such as this.
We learn about Miyazaki's inspiration for making the movie as well as meet many of the principals at Studio Ghibli and learn a bit more about the input they had on the project.
The feature covers a lot of ground and while admittedly promotional, it becomes fairly informative too. This makes it a worthwhile piece.
Spirited Away delivers an animation classic that deserved its Best Animated Feature Oscar. It provides a breathtaking film and an awe-inspiring representation of Japanese anime. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio along with a mix of bonus materials. Though the set could use better supplements, it becomes a strong representation of a quality film.
To rate this film visit the DVD review of the SPIRITED AWAY