30 May 2011

The Ghibli Museum Library

As collectors of animation on DVD well know, Japan is one of the best countries in the world to find beautiful editions of rare world treasures. In fact, you are more likely to find more Eastern European animation on DVD in Japan than in the home countries of the artists themselves, let alone elsewhere in Europe or North America. The down side is that the Japanese releases tend to only have only Japanese subs or dubs, yet many fans of animation are simply so grateful just to be able to see these great classics at all that they collect these editions anyway.

One company that has been instrumental in giving new life to world animation classics is Studio Ghilbi. The animators at Studio Ghibli are known for their admiration of American, Canadian and European animators – in particular Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata are known to be big fans of the work of German-Canadian animator Frédéric Back (b. 1924) who won the Academy Award for Animated Short film in 1982 for Crac! and again in 1987 for The Man Who Planted Trees. You can read about Miyazaki’s views on other animators in my recent post Hayao Miyazaki’s Taste in Animation.

A number of years ago Studio Ghibli began a partnership with Disney and Cinema Angelica to create the Ghibli Museum Library (三鷹の森ジブリ美術館ライブラリー /Mitaka no Mori Jiburi Bijutsukan Raiburarī). They have used this label to release subbed/dubbed DVDs of world animation classics from Dave Fleischer’s Mr. Bug Goes to Town (USA, 1941) to John Halas and Joy Batchelor’s Animal Farm (UK, 1954). The label also represents modern animation classics including the works of Nick Park and Michel Ochelot. They event support theatrical releases of great world animation in Japan – most recently Sylvain Comet’s The Illusionist (UK/France, 2010).

Studio Ghibli has also acquired the distribution rights to anime classics that Miyazaki, Takahata and other Ghibli animators worked on before the formation of Studio Ghibli. Some of these feature on their Ghibli Classics label, but the Ghibli Museum Library umbrella includes the theatrical feature of  Anne of Green Gables and the first TV series of Lupin III.

Here are the highlights of the collection. Clicking on the images will take you to cdjapan where these titles are available for international purchase:

Japanese Animation

Anne of Green Gables - the Path to Green Gables
Theatrical Feature "Akage no Anne (Anne of Green Gables) - Green Gables e no Michi -" / Animation
(赤毛のアン~Green Gables no Michi~, Isao Takahata, 2010)

American Animation

Mr. Bug Goes to Town
Mr. Bug Goes to Town / Disney
(aka Hoppity Goes to Town / バッタ君町に行く,Dave Fleischer, USA, 1941)

Russian Animation

My Love
Haru no Mezame / Animation
(春のめざめ, Aleksandr Petrov, Russia, 2006)

The Little Grey Neck
(灰色くびの野がも, Leonid Amalrik/Vladimir Polovnikov, Russia, 1948)
Konyok-gorbunok & Seraya Sheika / Animation
The Humpbacked Horse
(イワンと仔馬, Ivan Ivanov-Vano, Russia, 1947/1975)

The Snow Queen
The Snow Queen (Yuki no Joo) / Animation
(雪の女王, Lev Atamov et al., Russia, 1957) 

Cheburashka / Movie
(チェブラーシカ, Roman Kachanov, 1969-83)

British Animation

Halas and Batchelor

Animal Farm
Animal Farm / Movie
(動物農場, John Halas/Joy Batchelor, UK, 1954)

Nick Park

Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death
Wallace and Gromit A Matter Of Loaf And Death / Claymation
(ウォレスとグルミット ベーカリー街の悪夢, Nick Park, UK, 2008)

Wallace and Gromit: 3 Grand Adventures
(ウォレスとグルミット 3 クラッキング・アドベンチャーズ)
  •  A Grand Day Out ( チーズ・ホリデー, 1989)
  • The Wrong Trousers (ペンギンに気をつけろ!, 1990)
  • A Close Shave (危機一髪!, 1994)
Shaun the Sheep  
Shaun the Sheep / Animation
(ひつじのショーン, TV series 2007-2010)

French Animation

Paul Grimault

The King and the Mockingbird
The King and the Mockingbird / Animation
(王と鳥 やぶにらみの暴君, France, 1948)

Sylvain Chomet

The Triplettes of Belleville
Les Triplettes De Belleville / Animation
(ベルヴィル・ランデブー, France/Canada/UK/US/Belgium, 2003)

(イリュージョニスト, UK/France, 2010)

Michel Ochelot

Kirikou and the Sorceress
Kirikou et la sorciere / Animation
(キリクと魔女, France/Belgium, 1998)

Princes and Princesses
Princes Et Princesses / Animation
(プリンス&プリンセス, France, 1999)

Azur and Asmar
Azur et Asmar / Movie 
(アズールとアスマール, France, 2006)