(aka "Tales From Earthsea" )


directed by Goro Miyazaki
Japan 2006


Enter a dark, magical world of dragons and sorcery in Studio Ghibli's blockbuster animated epic Tales from Earthsea. Adapted from Ursula K. Le Guin's beloved children's fantasy book series, Tales from Earthsea marks the phenomenal directorial debut of Miyazaki Goro, the son of the legendary Miyazaki Hayao. Complex and compelling, Tales from Earthsea presents a sweeping, fantastical story about a young prince's journey through darkness and redemption.

A mysterious force is disturbing the natural balance in the land of Earthsea. Dragons are feuding, magic is dying, and the whole of humanity is falling into chaos. Haunted by inner demons, Prince Arren (voiced by Okada Junichi) stabs his father and runs away with the king's sword. He finds friendship and protection with kind-hearted master wizard Ged and a strange young girl named Therru. A shadow, however, continues to haunt Arren, drawing him to the evil sorcerer Cob whose quest for immortality is destroying the balance
between the realm of the living and dead. To save Earthsea, Arren must stop Cob, but he himself is falling into darkness.

More overtly dark in theme than previous Ghibli works, Tales from Earthsea is certainly equally amazing in terms of animation and design. Grand castles, medieval towns, stretching deserts, raging oceans, and idyllic countrysides vibrantly come alive on screen in rich strokes and seas of aqua and crimson. The release of a Studio Ghibli film is always a big event in Japan, and Tales of Earthsea was no exception. The film topped the box office for four weeks and earned over $60 million overall, proving that the apple does not fall far from the tree


Some comments:

This is the directional debut of Goro Miyazaki (son of Hayao Miyazaki), a good one in my opinion. Hayao Miyazaki himself wanted to direct this movie, he made many attempts of getting the rights but all of them were denied by the author herself. It seems many other directors also tried, but got similar replies. The first time Mr. Miyazaki tried to get the rights was before working on Naausica, more than 20 years ago. Basically the author said she didn't know Miyazaki, only after Miyazaki won the Oscar for "Spirited Away" permission was granted (....). Anyway, sadly for Miyazaki he was busy working with "Howl's Moving Castle", so Studio Ghibli gave an opportunity to Goro. Actually, Goro only got the job after some fellow directors (Including Hideaki Anno from Neon Genesis Evangelion) became impressed with Goro's sketches for "Tales from Earthsea". It is said that Goro and his father (Hayao) never spoke to each other again, since he began filming this anime...

Goro's style is somehow different from his father's, to me it looks like a mix of his father's and Isao Takahata's style. The reason I think that is due to the fantasy put together with more real/daily situations and human behavior/development. Tales from Earthsea is more like a coming of age animation, but sometimes presented with sinister events.

The story doesn't seem to fit in the length of the movie, and some facts remain unexplainable, mostly in the beginning, giving the impression that an anime series would fit better. But, it has a nice development and conclusion, mostly meant as a moral story for
the young.

I read many negative reactions about this anime, if you go watch this anime expecting something like "Spirited Away" you will be disappointed. This is a more dark story with some moral clichés and while the images are beautiful, they don't carry the magic you see in some Hayao Miyazaki's movies. The cinematography here is more turned to the real, the same way the story is more true and raw instead of magical and optimistically happy.

The fantasy here is only used as a metaphor, you could tell the same story without any dragons or wizards without compromising the plot. The idea is mainly concerned about the rebellion period of adolescence through what the main characters passes and the
arrival of maturity/responsibility.

Overall, the anime is quite interesting and unusual, but lacks the appeal occidental anime lovers might be used to. The cinematography is often relaxing and pleasant, creating a mood essential to the storytelling.

I would definitely recommend this to anime fans, I actually find it better than Howl's Moving Castle. There are many versions available at YesAsia, the Hong Kong one seems to be a good balance between quality and price.

Luiz R.


Theatrical Release: July 29th, 2006

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DVD Review: Studio Ghibli (Special Edition - 6 Languages Subtitled) - Region 2 - NTSC

Big thanks to Luiz R. for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Studio Ghibli

Region 2 - NTSC

Runtime 115

16:9 (overscan bars) Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.38 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Japanese Dolby 2.0 (256kbps), DUBs: English Dolby 2.0, Korean Dolby 2.0, French Dolby 2.0, Mandarin Dolby 2.0, Cantonese Dolby 2.0
Subtitles Japanese, English, French, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Studio Ghibli

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 16:9 (overscan bars)

Edition Details:
• Dual Layered DVD w/ DTS Japanese 5.1 (No Subtitles)
• Dual Layered DVD w/ 6 Languages DUBs and subtitles.
• 2 Dual Layered DVDs with Extras
• Trailers
• Special Feature Vol 1: The Birth of
• Special Feature Vol 2: The Birth of the Score
• How Okada Junichi encounters Tales From Earthsea
• Interview with Cast

DVD Release Date: July 4th, 2007
Keep Case

Chapters 24



The special edition comes with 2 DVDs full of extras, but none of the extras have subtitles. This is quite unusual for an edition that provides six different subtitles and DUBs for the feature movie.

The package also comes with 2 feature movie DVDs. The first has Japanese DTS (1.5 Mbps) audio clearly superior to the other DVD that comes with 6 audio options, all of them Dolby stereo (196kbps), save for the Japanese audio which is Dolby 2.0 (256kbps). The weirdest part of this is that the DTS DVD coming with no subtitles at all! Why? I have no idea since there is space available... unless it's a strange rights issue.

Both DVDs have the exact same visible image quality, but the Bit Rate differs slightly, the Japanese DTS version has an average of 8.12 Mbps. The other difference is the subtitle and audio options.

I didn't try all the DUBs available (I don't understand all these languages anyway), but the English version sounded fine to me, even though I don't like DUBs as a rule, it even comes with the voice of Willem Dafoe (if I am not mistaken). The English subtitles seem quite strong.

The image looks very nice, I tried many image adjustments and couldn't find any notable flaws - saturation and contrast all look good... something that you would expect from a Japanese release. Both DVDs are progressive (not interlaced).

I have to mention that the overscan-prevention bars are present, like many other Ghibli releases. Although these bars are negatively seen by image experts, I actually don't find them so bad. I believe that Studio Ghibli wants to guarantee that viewers will see the entire frame regardless of system, and they probably find that more important than the drawbacks brought by the limitation in horizontal resolution. Anyway, I, personally, don't find it so annoying, and I actually like the idea of watching exactly what the director wanted me to see.

My only complaint is that sharpness could be improved, just a shade.

 - Luiz R.



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DVD Box Cover

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Studio Ghibli

Region 2 - NTSC


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