Hayao Miyazaki is arguably one of the most prolific figures in film, especially when it comes to animated works of art that stand the test of time. As a huge fan of Miyazaki’s filmmaking, I felt inclined to review the new box set, titled “The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki”.
This box set includes a total of twelve discs. The experience of watching all of these epic films that have been beautifully remastered on Blu Ray was both nostalgic and gorgeous. Eleven of Miyazaki’s most prolific films are included in the set:
Castle in the Sky
Howl’s Moving Castle
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro
My Neighbor Totoro
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
The Wind Rises
This box set is package truly worth getting excited about. The large box design is beautiful, and the packaging is intricate. A neat plastic film strip holds the box’s contents together and features a still from each of the films included in the set.
The box set is arranged in a storybook format with each page representing a scene from the correlating disc. Detailed artwork fills each page and sets a unique mood. Simply thumbing through the pages gave me an overwhelming urge to watch them all!
Beyond that, another booklet is included in the set. It features a vivid essay written by Tomohiro Machiyama titled “The Great Dichotomy: Looking at the Works of Hayao Miyazaki,” as well as more artwork and insightful information you likely won’t get anywhere else.
There is also a bonus disc with some notable special features. Three episodes of the classic Japanese cartoon, Little Samurai, highlight this. The 1972 cartoon was storyboarded by Miyazaki and it couldn’t be more obvious. The magically captivating tone that Miyazaki brings to the table throughout all of his work stems from his participation in creating early cartoons such as this.
Additionally, the bonus disc features Miyazaki’s first directorial work titled Yuki’s Son. The short film, also from 1972, is as captivating as it is beautiful. The artwork from this short screams Miyazaki all while conjuring up a surprisingly nostalgic tone of its own.
Finally, the disc includes a rare press conference from 2013 in which Miyazaki announces his retirement. This conference, about an hour and half in length, opens up some important dialogue and gives insight into what the future holds for Miyazaki.
While this box set will set you back over $200 it is certainly a worthwhile investment for any die hard Miyazaki fan. Depending on where you buy the set, it averages costing about $18 per disc, which is a bit cheaper than buying them all individually. That being said, whatever you do, don’t rush out and get rid of your older DVD and Blu Ray versions of these films.
My only gripe with this boxset is that it doesn’t have quite as much extra content as I’d hoped for. There are no special features on the eleven film discs, which was pretty surprising to me. But if you’re looking for Blu Ray quality, sleek packaging, and some obscure extra features, this boxset will definitely not disappoint!
Words by Robert Parmer