Blu-ray Review – Castle of Cagliostro
Title: THE CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO
Voted as the greatest ever anime by Manga readers back in 2001, Castle of Cagliostro is coming to Blu-ray. As one of Studio Ghibli’s oldest creation – its release dating back to 1979 – it is perhaps fitting that one of the most treasured entries in their catalogue is brought into the modern, high-def era. [...]
Voted as the greatest ever anime by Manga readers back in 2001, Castle of Cagliostro is coming to Blu-ray. As one of Studio Ghibli’s oldest creation – its release dating back to 1979 – it is perhaps fitting that one of the most treasured entries in their catalogue is brought into the modern, high-def era.
However, whilst fans will defend it to the death and keep it safe upon its sacred Miyazaki pedestal, it’s worth looking at from a modern perspective, yet with its history and age in mind.
Having been used to the modern era of Ghibli with the stunningly detailed Spirited Away, and more recently, the sumptuous stylings of Sylvain Chomet (Belleville Rendez Vous; The Illusionist), Castle perhaps feels less accomplished in this sense. Don’t get me wrong; the animation on offer is still wonderful, but not as impressive as a newer generation of anime fan might hope for. Clearly 30+ years between the compared films is a factor, as is budgetary constraints, as well an ever growing audience and global interest that has developed since.
The story follows Lupin, a skilled thief, after a chance meeting with a runaway Princess. Subsequently, him and his gang trace her to a local castle (Cagliostro), where they must, amongst infiltrating the place itself and uncovering its ancient secrets, rescue the Princess and defeat the evil Count that holds and intends to marry her.
The story chugs along at a mixed pace: sometimes it zooms by little moments to get to a specific point, but it also has many drawn out chase and battle scenes that don’t succeed at holding your interest throughout. It is for this reason you may find yourself drifting in and out at various intervals. Indeed, this factor alone could be a reason why modern audiences might not take to it – it’s a little old fashioned in the sense that it makes the basics out to be more fantastical and entertaining than they actually are – possibly a victim to modernity that expects the most elaborately constructed set pieces, whereas Castle delivers, but doesn’t generate the jaw-dropping awe of today’s demanding standards. It’s this alternative from a mainstream animation that is refreshing, because it makes up its own rule and does so with a knowing authority (and not to mention under the watchful eye of anime supremo Miyazaki).
Indeed, it is also less likeable in comparison to other Ghibli classics, but still pulls off an entertaining, light-hearted and funny story.
The extras can only be described as meagre to say the least, with but a trailer and in-movie storyboard comparison feature included. Therefore, the Blu-ray disc is sold on the strengths of the film alone, which is consistently good if not great. It looks lovely and, when you compare it to the original trailer (also on the disc), it’s easy to notice the lengths that have been gone to in order to restore, remaster and improve upon in a purely visual sense.
Whilst Castle doesn’t quite impress as much in 2012 as it (probably) did it 1979, it’s still a strong and delectable entry for the Ghibli team and accommodates as a good starting point for newbies to get into the studio’s catalogue.