This week, we finally get the Princess Mononoke Blu-Ray package we deserve. Shout! Factory, GKIDS, and Studio Ghibli have partnered to release a collector’s edition for Princess Mononoke, Hayao Miyazaki‘s landmark 1997 film. A fantasy story that preaches the ills of war, the importance of nature, and features stunning animation, the classic remains as essential today as it did when it first released.
The new limited edition Collector’s Edition brings the stunning work of the film to life with hours of special features and some very cool supplemental material. Included with the film is the soundtrack, which has been released in America for the first time. The soundtrack and score are wonderfully complex and they remain one of the most underrated aspects of the film.
I particularly enjoyed perusing through the book attached to the pack. Forty-pages long, it showcases the incredible animation, with each still legitimately deserving to be hung on your wall. It also features a loving essay on the film from New York Times critic Glenn Kenny, who dives into what Miyazaki has meant to him. Various poems that Miyazaki wrote about the characters are littered throughout, and you can feel his connection to the story on a personal level. Statements from Miyazaki and others at Ghibli showcase the film’s revolutionary nature, not just in animation, but for the lives of those who worked on it.
Many young readers may not realize the gravity shifting moment in pop culture that the release of Princess Mononoke became when it released in 1997. Hayao Miyazaki, the famed animation director from Japan, had mostly built his career on bringing magical realism back into Asian animation. His most popular film before Princess Mononoke was either My Neighbor Totoro or Kiki’s Delivery Service, both of which became fun, cult hits in America, in part because of their adorable side characters and memorable moments.
However, Princess Mononoke began to shake the ground in a different direction. Approaching a hard fantasy story, with demons, monsters, war, and environmentalism at its core, Miyazaki tapped into a new type of storytelling. He did not need cute creatures to draw the audience’s attention. Instead, he became an integral storyteller in popular culture. While Princess Mononoke did not break any box office records, it did change the perception of the kinds of stories that Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli could tell. Princess Mononoke became the first animated feature to win Picture of the Year at the Japan Academy Prize ceremony. It also opened the door for Miyazaki’s future Academy Awards success in America.
Princess Mononoke remains an integral touchstone for 1990s cinema. As such, it always deserved a celebration like Shout! Factory, GKIDS, and Studio Ghibli have given it. One hopes that other Ghibli classics will receive similar releases. In the meantime, this version of Princess Mononoke is the definitive version. It should be a part of any Miyazaki fan’s collection.
You can purchase the Collector’s Edition of Princess Mononoke here!
You can find the original press release regarding the Blu-ray’s release below:
Los Angeles, CA – Studio Ghibli and GKIDS, with distribution by Shout! Factory, will issue Princess Mononoke in a beautiful collector’s edition release on May 14, 2019. The limited-edition set comes housed in an elegant hard slipcase and includes a new 40-page book with stunning art and essays. Featured in a deluxe disc portfolio will be a Blu-ray™ of the film paired with hours of special features, and the film’s soundtrack made available on CD for the first time in North America.
From the legendary Studio Ghibli, this epic fantasy film is one of the best-selling and internationally renowned films of all time. Princess Mononoke is here presented with a release perfect for collectors and animation fans who have adored the film since its initial release.
The set’s 40-page book features new essays by film critic Glenn Kenny (The New York Times, RogerEbert.com) alongside amazing imagery and statements from director Hayao Miyazaki and producer Toshio Suzuki, and Miyazaki’s poems about the characters.
The first animated film to win the Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year, Princess Mononoke is Miyazaki’s epic masterpiece that has dazzled audiences worldwide with its breathtaking imagination, exhilarating battles, and deep humanity.
Inflicted with a deadly curse, the young warrior Ashitaka heads west in search of a cure. There, he stumbles into a bitter conflict between Lady Eboshi and the proud people of Iron Town, and the enigmatic Princess Mononoke, a young girl raised by wolves, who will stop at nothing to prevent the humans from destroying her home, and the forest spirits and animal gods who live there. Featuring the voices of Gillian Anderson, Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Billy Bob Thornton.
Original Theatrical Trailers
Princess Mononoke in USA
Behind the Microphone