Whisper of the Heart was the second Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Blu-ray release for a Studio Ghibli Anime title on Blu-ray Blu-ray Disc this week on May 22nd, 2012.
The film is a 1995 Japanese animated drama based on the manga of the same name by Aoi Hiiragi, which was adapted for the screen by Hayao Miyazaki.
It was also the first theatrical Studio Ghibli feature to be directed by someone other than Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata.
Whisper of the Heart the Movie
Shizuku Tsukishima is a fourteen year old schoolgirl who lives in Tokyo with her parents Asako and Seiya.
She is an avid reader who likes fairy tales and reads them in preference to studying for her school exams.
She also enjoys creative writing, including a more personal set of lyrics to the John Denver song Country Roads.
One evening, she notices the books she reads have all been previously checked out by someone named Seiji Amasawa.
Additionally, Shizuku encounters a tall, annoying boy who she found reading a book that she accidentally left behind.
When Shizuku is taking lunch to her father on the train she sees a cat riding a train as well.
The cat exits at the same station as Shizuku and she follows it, leading to an antique shop run by Shiro Nishi.
To her surprise, she discovers that the tall annoying boy is actually the grandson of the store owner.
Later she also discovers that the tall boy is none other than Seiji Amasawa, the boy who was reading all the same books as her.
Shizuku and Seiji become close friends, though Seiji has been learning to make violins, and has plans to leave Japan for Cremona in Italy, where he would study under a master violin-maker.
Can Shizuku face the realities of life, as opposed to the fairy tale endings that she has been seeking, based on the stories she likes to read?
Whisper of the Heart as a story is a grounded teen drama that is set in a real world environment.
As such it differs from many Anime movies that are more in the realm of fantasy.
That said, there are moments where we are taken out of the real world, adding elements of fantasy to the story.
The art during these fantasy sequences is exquisite, though I was equally fascinated with the depth of detail of the urban environment.
The cars, trains, buildings and streets reminded me a lot of Tokyo, and the level of detail in the background scenes was amazing.
Whisper of the Heart is overall a pretty strong coming of age film, though some may find it a little too teen oriented.
The English dub version was recorded back in 2006, and the voice cast includes teen stars Brittany Snow, Ashley Tisdale and David Gallagher, along with Courtney Thorne-Smith and Cary Elwes.
Whisper of the Heart was directed by Yoshifumi Kondô before his untimely death in 1998.
The film has a very strong critical reception, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 89% and an IMDb score of 7.9/10.
Whisper of the Heart on Blu-ray Disc
The video on the disc is an AVC 1080p encode at 18 Mbps, and is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
Again Disney has done a tidy job of the transfer and the animation here is clean and detailed.
You will find full resolution PNG screen captures taken directly from the disc at the details page for Whisper of the Heart.
The main audio is lossless English DTS-HD Master Audio with 5.1 channels – 24 bits resolution at 48 kHz.
It is also possible to select the original Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack and use the English subtitles.
The disc is a dual layer BD50, with 47.1 GB used and is coded for All Regions.
Whisper of the Heart on Blu-ray Disc – The Bonus Features
The extras for this title are similar to the other Anime titles released this week.
Again we have the Original Japanese Storyboards, which plays the whole movie with the storyboards from Hayao Miyazaki.
The Behind the Microphone supplement features interviews with the voice talent including Brittany Snow, Courtney Thorne-Smith, David Gallagher and Cary Elwes.
Something different is the Four Masterpieces of Naohisa Inoue feature.
In this mesmerizing sequence you can watch four different scenes by Naohisa Inoue evolve over a time lapse period.
There are also 10 minutes of film trailers and TV spots promoting the release of the movie in Japan.
This release includes a DVD Copy for legacy players.
Whisper of the Heart on Blu-ray – Final Thoughts
Whisper of the Heart is another strong ‘coming of age’ Anime film from Studio Ghibli.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s Blu-ray release features a strong transfer with both dubbed and original audio.
A small collection of supplements are included and the release features a DVD copy of the movie as well.
The retail price is $39.99, or order it right now at Amazon for $29.96, saving 25%!
- Four Masterpieces Of Naohisa Inoue
- Original Japanese Storyboards
- Behind The Microphone
- Behind The Microphone
- Trailers and TV Spots
Whisper Of The Heart inspires like never before in Blu-ray! A new digital master reveals the true brilliance of this heartwarming coming-of-age classic from Studio Ghibli, the studio that brought you Ponyo and the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away (Best Animated Feature Film, 2002). A chance encounter with a mysterious cat sends Shizuku, a quiet schoolgirl, on a quest for her true talent. Challenged by Seiji, a boy determined to follow his dreams, and enchanted by The Baron, a magical cat figurine who helps her listen to the whispers of her heart, Shizuku embarks on curious adventures beyond the boundaries of her imagination. Now in Blu-ray High Definition for the first time ever, this beautiful tale based on the screenplay from legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki will delight and amaze families!