Japanese Animated Classics ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’, ‘Ponyo’ Heading Home on Blu-ray Disc, DVD on May 12

Studio Ghibli and GKIDS, with distribution by Shout! Factory, have set a May 12 home release date for a pair of Japanese animated fantasies, Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo.

Both titles will be released as a limited-edition Steelbook Blu-ray Disc and DVD set.

Howl’s Moving Castle grossed $235 million at the global box office, while Ponyo took in $203 million. Both films are from Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki. Howl’s Moving Castle was made with CGI; Ponyo, in contrast, was hand-drawn.

Howl’s Moving Castle features a quiet girl named Sophie who works in a hat shop, who finds her life thrown into a turmoil when she is swept off her feet by a handsome but mysterious wizard named Howl. The vengeful Witch of the Waste grows jealous of their friendship, and puts a curse on Sophie that turns her into a 90-year-old woman.  As Sophie embarks on a quest to break the spell, she finds herself fighting to protect them both from a dangerous war of sorcery that threatens the world.

Animation World Network says Howl’s Moving Castle “is perhaps Miyazaki’s most phantasmagorical film yet, surpassing even Spirited Away in its astonishing imagery and supernatural logic. In the film’s first few minutes, blobby tar baby demons wearing straw hats bubble out from beneath paving stones and retreat en masse into a tiny teapot; a wizard rescues a damsel in distress by taking her for a stroll in mid-air; the eponymous construction, a haphazard heap of cottages, turrets and decrepit machinery, is glimpsed through misty clouds, striding on a quartet of gigantic mechanical bird legs; and a goiter-necked witch transforms a young girl into a wizened old woman.”

Bonus features include feature-length storyboards, TV spots, an interview with Diana Wynne Jones, and mini-documentaries on Miyazaki’s visit to Pixar, CGI, and the creation of the film’s soundtrack. The disc package also comes with an eight-page booklet.

Ponyo follows the story of a young boy who lives on a clifftop overlooking the sea, who discovers more than he bargained for after rescuing a stranded goldfish named Ponyo. A young, curious, and energetic creature, Ponyo yearns to be human. Even as she causes chaos around the house, her father, a powerful sorcerer, schemes to return her to the sea.

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Bonus features include feature-length storyboards, TV spots, and several documentaries: “The Five Geniuses Who Created Ponyo,” “Press Conference: Theme Song Announcement,” a featurette on the opening event at Hibiya Scala-Za Theatre, an interview with both  Miyazaki and producer (and former Studio Ghibli president) Toshio Suzuki, and more.

 

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