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Writings > DVD Image Comparisons > Spirited Away


Spirited Away

Region 1 (USA) - Buena Vista
vs. Region 2 (UK) - Optimum Home Entertainment
vs. Region 4 (Australia) - Madman Entertainment

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Details

 

 

DVD

R1 USA
 

 

DVD

R2 UK
 

 

DVD

R4 Australia
 

Disc(s)

 

1x single-sided dual layer (DVD9)
1x single-sided single layer (DVD5)

 

1x single-sided dual layer (DVD9)
1x single-sided single layer (DVD5)

 

1x single-sided dual layer (DVD9)
1x single-sided single layer (DVD5)

Running Time

 

124 mins (NTSC)

 

119 mins (PAL)

 

128 mins* (NTSC-to-PAL standards conversion)

* The additional four minutes would appear to be the result of both English and Japanese closing credits being contained on the same title (as opposed to an alternate angle, as is the case on the R1).

Video

 

2:1 anamorphic (windowboxed 1.85:1)
Average bit rate: 7.1 Mbps
NTSC 720x480 at 24 fps

 

2:1 anamorphic (windowboxed 1.85:1)
Average bit rate: 8.78 Mbps
PAL 720x576 at 25 fps

 

2:1 anamorphic (windowboxed 1.85:1)
Average bit rate: 7.3 Mbps
PAL 720x576 at 25 fps (interlaced)

Audio

 

English:
Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kbps

Japanese:
Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kbps

French:
Dolby Surround 2.0, 192 Kbps

 

English:
Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kbps Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kbps

Japanese:
Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kbps

 

English:
Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kbps

Japanese:
Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kbps
DTS 5.1, 768 Kbps

Subtitles

 

English (literal), English (dubtitles)

 

English (literal)

 

English (literal), English (dubtitles)

Extras

 

- Bonus Studio Ghibli trailers
- Meet Hayao Miyazaki (easter egg)
- Introduction by John Lasseter
- The Art of Spirited Away
- Behind the Microphone
- Storyboard comparison (first 10 minutes)
- Nippon TV special
- Japanese trailers and TV spots

 

- Storyboard to screen (feature-length)
- Introduction by John Lasseter
- Nippon TV special
- Behind the Microphone
- Meet Hayao Miyazaki
- Japanese trailers and TV spots
- US theatrical trailer
- The Cat Returns trailer

 

- Bonus Madman trailers
- Nippon TV special
- Storyboard comparison (5 scenes)
- Themes of Spirited Away (text)
- Japanese trailers and TV spots
- US theatrical trailer
- French theatrical trailer
- Image gallery
- Study guide (DVD-ROM)

 

Bit Rate

R1 USA

DVD Image Comparison


R2 UK

DVD Image Comparison


R4 Australia

DVD Image Comparison

 

Screen Captures

Title cards

R1 USA
Japanese title

DVD Image Comparison


R1 USA
English title

DVD Image Comparison


R2 UK

DVD Image Comparison


R4 Australia

DVD Image Comparison

 

Example 1

Mouse over to switch between versions:
R1 USA | R2 UK | R4 Australia

DVD Image Comparison

 

Example 2

Mouse over to switch between versions:
R1 USA | R2 UK | R4 Australia

DVD Image Comparison

 

Example 3

Mouse over to switch between versions:
R1 USA | R2 UK | R4 Australia

DVD Image Comparison

 

Example 4

Mouse over to switch between versions:
R1 USA | R2 UK | R4 Australia

DVD Image Comparison

 

Comments

Spirited Away is a very irritating film when it comes to DVD releases, since all seem to have their good points and bad points.

In terms of image quality, the Australian release is severely botched since some idiot thought it would be fun to somehow squish the 24 FPS of film into PAL video's 25 FPS while maintaining the correct running time. The result is that the transfer is filled with doubled frames and erratic motion. It also doesn't do the encoder any favours, and detail suffers considerably. The UK version has been transferred correctly, with the film being sped up 4% to take account of PAL's faster frame rate. Hence, no doubled frames. However, it is encoded quite badly, with an annoying effect whereby static areas of the screen seem to come in and out of focus every few frames. Also, there are a number of scenes which feature diabolical encoding: look at examples 2 and 3. In these scenes, the bit rate drops unforgivably low despite there being a great deal of movement and detail on the screen. The best by a significant margin is the US disc, which has vastly superior encoding to the other releases, as well as comparable sharpness (despite having 96 fewer lines of vertical resolution).

Interesting note: the title card on the UK release (and the English title card on the US release) is sourced from a film print, whereas the Australian title card is digital, like the rest of the movie. Also, in the UK release the last two shots of the movie are on film. If only they'd transferred the whole thing from the film, it would have looked so much better, and many of the compression problems could probably have been avoided, since the overly clean look of digital plays havoc with the encoder. The Australian release includes both English and Japanese closing credits (which one is displayed depends on the audio language selected), whereas the UK release has only English credits. Neither release includes the original Japanese title card. Only the the US DVD features both title cards.

The Australian release wins in terms of audio for featuring Japanese DTS. The US release is the weakest here, since its Japanese track is only encoded at 384 Kbps instead of the better quality 448 Kbps.

With extras, it's a little more difficult, because all three releases have their own unique features. The UK DVD more or less transfers over the bonus features from the US version, including the Disney material pertaining to the English-language dub. It does miss out on the Art of Spirited Away featurette though. The UK release also includes the feature length storyboard-to-film comparison from the Japanese DVD, whereas the US version only features storyboard comparisons for the first 10 minutes of the film, and on Australian release for five select scenes (it does, however, let you view them in split-screen, which the UK and US releases do not). Overall I am leaning towards the US release for extras, but you'll really have to make up your own mind. All three releases include the excellent Nippon TV documentary about the making of the film, although the UK release apparently has 7 seconds of substitutions to the subtitles to avoid a "12" rating.

 

Summary

 

 

USA

 

UK

 

Australia

Video

 

8/10

 

6/10

 

6/10

Audio

 

8/10

 

8/10

 

9/10

Extras

 

8/10

 

8/10

 

8/10