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Tales from Earthsea (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2

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Tales from Earthsea (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

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.

This edition includes the feature film in Japanese or English audio with Japanese and English subtitles. It also comes with a disc of extras including trailers and special feature "The Birth of "Therru's Song".

© 2007-2024 Ltd. All rights reserved. This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

Technical Information

Product Title: Tales from Earthsea (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) 地海傳說 (DVD) (英文字幕) (日本版) 地海传说 (DVD) (英文字幕) (日本版) ゲド戦記 Tales from Earthsea (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
Artist Name(s): Okada Junichi | Tanaka Yuko | Sugawara Bunta | Kagawa Teruyuki | Teshima Aoi | Baisho Mitsuko | Naito Takashi | Fubuki Jun | Natsukawa Yui | Kobayashi Kaoru 岡田准一 | 田中裕子 | 菅原文太 | 香川照之 | 手嶌葵 | 倍賞美津子 | 內藤剛志 | 風吹純 | 夏川結衣 | 小林薰 冈田准一 | 田中裕子 | 菅原文太 | 香川照之 | 手嶌葵 | 倍赏美津子 | 内藤刚志 | 风吹纯 | 夏川结衣 | 小林薰 岡田准一 | 田中裕子 | 菅原文太 | 香川照之 | 手嶌葵 | 倍賞美津子 | 内藤剛志 | 風吹ジュン | 夏川結衣 | 小林薫 Okada Junichi | Tanaka Yuko | Sugawara Bunta | Kagawa Teruyuki | Teshima Aoi | Baisho Mitsuko | Naito Takashi | Fubuki Jun | Natsukawa Yui | Kobayashi Kaoru
Director: Miyazaki Goro 宮崎吾朗 宫崎吾朗 宮崎吾朗 Miyazaki Goro
Release Date: 2007-07-04
Publisher Product Code: VWDZ-8104
Language: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English, Japanese
Place of Origin: Japan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 2 - Japan, Europe, South Africa, Greenland and the Middle East (including Egypt) What is it?
Duration: 115 (mins)
Publisher: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Other Information: 2DVDs
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1004715812

Product Information

[アーティスト/ キャスト]
宮崎吾朗 (監督) / 岡田准一 (アレン) / 手嶌葵 (テルー)



製作国 : 日本 (Japan)
公開年 : 2006


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Professional Review of "Tales from Earthsea (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)"

View Professional Review:
August 20, 2007

This professional review refers to Tales From Earthsea (2006) (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version)
There aren't a great many offspring who have surpassed their fathers as film directors. Most who have followed dad into the business have suffered by comparison and failed to have their work recognised as anything other than a pale shadow of their parents. A recent example that springs to mind is Kenta Fukasaku who finished off Battle Royale 2 when his father fell ill and died; the resulting movie isn't all that bad but it seems poor when it is compared to his father's work and particularly the original Battle Royale. Kenta would have been justified in pointing out his father's misfires when comparisons were made, but just imagine the situation Goro Miyazaki finds himself in following a father whose misfires simply don't exist. Hayao Miyazaki's record in cinema is almost entirely unblemished in creating some of the finest of all animated films. Goro Miyazaki's Tales From Earthsea can not hope to compete with dad, and shouldn't have to.

Tales from Earthsea is adapted from Ursula Le Guin's novel and is set in the kingdom of Enlan where harbingers of doom are circling and where Prince Arren stabs his ruling father and flees from justice. Bewildered at his own actions, he runs and finds himself set upon by a pack of wolves and he is ready to surrender to his fate when Sparrowhawk, a travelling wizard, intervenes. Following Sparrowhawk as he travels, Arren finds himself fighting off slave catchers from a young woman, but then he is captured himself. Sparrowhawk releases him but in doing so reveals his own existence to Lord Cob, another sorcerer, and soon Cob wants to settle old scores. Sparrowhawk takes Arren to his friends, Tenar and her ward Therru, who recognises Arren as the boy who freed her earlier. Soon all of them are under attack from Lord Cob whose desire is revenge and an eternal life for himself which will bring evil to the kingdom.

Animated to the usually high standards of Studio Ghibli, Tales From Earthsea is a competent and enjoyable fantasy of witches, dragons and kings. The story considers the battle between good and evil personified in Sparrowhawk and Cob but also represented in the battle within Arren as he fights the darkness that overcame him and caused him to commit his crime. There is, of course, an element of romance but this is a more adolescent tale than Ghibli have made for a while with little concession made to serious minded or adult themes such as the movies of Miyazaki senior and Isao Takahata. The tale has some obvious failings as it is a little long and contains an introductory scene that has little purpose other than setting mood. Similarly Miyazaki junior's handling of morality is not quite as confident as in earlier films from the studio.

Rather than look at previous Ghibli films, the proper comparison to make with this film is a movie like Shinkai Makoto's The Place Promised in Our Early Days. Even on this score, Miyazaki's film is nowhere near as involving and moving and lacks the personal style that made Makoto's movie such a delight. Miyazaki's film is a kid's movie that will not reach adults in the way both his father's films and Makoto's do, and there is little being said which will make you think, as it is simply a reassuring fable. Still, reassuring fables are always welcome and Tales From Earthsea passes muster as animation and kid's drama and will compare well with any of the other children's fare on offer at the moment. It is worth watching but the audience most likely to be pleased by it are the adolescents it aims for.

IVL release Tales From Earthsea in a two disc set with dust sleeve enclosure. All the extras are saved up for disc two which is entirely English unfriendly. Disc one contains the feature film with scene access, subtitle and language menus, all in Chinese. For an English viewer the menus are navigated with great difficulty and need constant guesswork as they offer no indication of what the Chinese characters could possibly mean. The second disc includes storyboard comparisons which play alongside the whole feature and are accessible at any point by using the Angle button on your remote, but again without English subtitles it is difficult to use this option and to still follow the movie. Additionally, there is a 12 minute reel of trailers for the film and a 48 minute set of interviews with the voice cast, both of these come with Chinese subs only.

The transfer is sharp and colourful with good contrast and generally little to find substandard other than the huge overscan box that Ghibli discs seem to be blighted with in Hong Kong. The Dolby sound options include a 6.1 mix of the original Japanese dialogue and a 5.1 of a Cantonese track. The Japanese dub is powerful and atmospheric with good definition in the louder moments of the film and dialogue is clear and mixed well with the effects and music. Effects are distributed across the whole range of the speakers but voices only come from the front of the mix which given that all dialogue is delivered facing the viewer is perfectly fine. The English subs start off a little weakly and struggle with some of the archaic language although overall they are sensible and grammatical.

Tales From Earthsea is a perfectly competent and entertaining animation aimed at a youngish audience. Don't expect a continuation of Miyazaki senior's masterly work and let junior be judged on his own merits and you won't be disappointed. This IVL release has a second disc filled with extras which you won't enjoy unless you speak either Japanese or Chinese, but the main feature is presented well and this will prove a budget way for the impatient to own the film whilst it is still doing the UK cinema round.

by John White - John White

August 20, 2007

This professional review refers to Tales From Earthsea (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)
Check your Miyazakis. It's not Hayao Miyazaki who directs the new Ghibli film Tales from Earthsea, but Goro Miyazaki, the legendary director's son who takes the directorial reins. Based on the long-running fantasy novel series from author Ursula K. Le Guin, the film takes place in a fantasy world that thrives off an unseen force called "the Balance". The film kicks off with the sighting of feuding dragons in the eastern sea - an unheard of occurrence as dragons are known to dwell in the west, and don't usually hang out in man's world. What this tells the local populace is that things are not so well with the Balance. You see, as Earthsea lore tells us, the Balance is upset when necromancy is being practiced. Basically, dragons in the east sea = a disturbance of the Balance = bad wizardry happening somewhere.

Thanks to these inauspicious circumstances, the world is now headed to rot, with droughts, unhappy livestock, and yes, angry people afoot. The angry people are embodied by young Prince Arren, who first appears when he stabs and kills his own father, who happens to be the King, before fleeing into exile. Arren eventually hooks up with benevolent wizard Ged, who's looking to stop the world from going completely to Hell. He's seeking the source of the evil magic, and takes Arren under his wing because he recognizes that Arren is haunted by a dark "shadow". After some shenanigans with a mysterious girl named Therru, Arren settles in with Ged's old friend Tenar, and helps to run her farm. But the darkness still creeps inside Arren, leading him to flee alone, abandoning his new friends.

Ged eventually discovers that the party responsible for Earthsea's ills is an evil wizard named Cob, an old adversary who seeks immortality, and isn't above trashing Earthsea to gain it. Cob has been opening a doorway between the living and dead worlds, an action that has upset the Balance and could lead to Earthsea's ruin. To further his nefarious goals, Cob attempts to use Arren to kill Ged, but Arren's complicity depends entirely on his ability to combat his own inner darkness. Will he succeed, attain righteousness, and wield his father's glowing magic sword against Cob? Or will he succumb to the darkness, allowing Cob to kill his friends, attain immortality, and generally make a mess of the world? Well, we won't give it away, but since Tales from Earthsea is loosely based on only the third novel in the Earthsea series, you can probably figure out the answer yourself.

A harder question to answer is: is Tales from Earthsea any good? If an expert opinion is to be believed, then the answer is "no"; Ursula K. Le Guin has candidly related that she finds Goro Miyazaki's Earthsea to be not as good as her source material, and also not as good as the work of his father Hayao. Frankly, her opinion is easy to agree with. While the film is obviously quite beautiful to look at, and possesses character designs and backgrounds as beautiful as anything ever produced by Studio Ghibli, the film ultimately feels quite cold and routine.

Earthsea is a deep fantasy world with a rich history, but the film doesn't get that across. Much of Earthsea's details are related in exposition; the audience is simply told the culture and history of Earthsea instead of actually experiencing it themselves. One of Hayao Miyazaki's undeniable strengths is his ability to use small details to bring a richness and life to his animated world, drawing audiences in through image and sound rather than a bunch of dialogue. However, Goro Miyazaki doesn't seem to possess those powers yet.

Furthermore, the film is saddled with a difficult protagonist. Arren is hard to really like, as his weakness, anger, and cowardice make him rather unappealing. His violent rage is revealed early on to be the result of a supernatural darkness that haunts him, but the film doesn't develop him enough to make him more than a nominal hero. The audience may find some identification in the familiar-looking characters and images, and the film's grand mythic themes - darkness vs. light, good vs. evil, etc. - are easily understood. However, if the themes feel compelling at all, it's because they're so familiar, having played out in more fantasy mediums (novels, films, games, etc.) than one could mention in a small space.

There's simply something missing from this latest Ghibli mix. One could say the missing ingredient is Hayao Miyazaki, but that would be uncharitable to Goro Miyazaki, who at least seems to get the basic needs of a fantasy film. Also, the film does possess some sequences and nuances that seem to echo the charming Ghibli style - which is further a credit to Goro Miyazaki's handling of the material. However, standard themes and similarities to the house style are just superficial details. What's missing from Tales from Earthsea is much deeper. It may look and seem good on the surface, but ultimately, the film lacks heart.

by Kozo -

May 2, 2007

In many ways Goro Miyazaki's Tales From Earthsea was a film destined to fail, crushed under the weight of massive expectations. Not only is it a second attempt to adapt a beloved literary franchise, a franchise whose first adaptation was a critical failure publicly torn to shreds by its author, but it is the debut piece of animation directed by a topiary gardener whose father just so happens to be the production company's co-founder and a living legend in the animation world, a legend who publicly criticized his son's selection as director of this project. Put it all together and you had speculation that the younger Miyazaki was in charge of the film in name only, a publicity stunt selection at the top of the credits while the real work would be overseen by others with more experience. Expectations were huge; many in the sidelines ere openly anticipating and embracing a coming failure. But if you can wiggle your way out from under all of those expectations and set aside the famous family name for a moment to take the film on its own terms, what you have is a more than auspicious debut project, one that is far from perfect but is still worlds better than the last Ghibli project directed by anyone other than the elder Miyazaki or Isao Takahata - that being The Cat Returns - or, for that matter, any Japanese feature animation projects released by any of the major animation houses over the past few years. [note here that I consider Studio 4C an independent and not a major]

While it is impossible to stave the expectations and comparisons off forever, what I will try to do here is break down the film first on its own terms before addressing how it fits into the Ghibli canon and compares to the original text. Yes, there will be spoilers. You have been warned.

We begin in the rough seas, the waves threatening to overturn a small craft. It's crew turns desperately to their weather worker, the on board wizard whose job it is to control the winds and the waves and keep them all safe, but the weather worker is helpless. His magic has failed him, a troubling scenario since the magic of Earthsea comes directly from the land itself. Even more troubling is the sight of dragons flying over the eastern lands, far from their regular home in the west, dragons not only flying but fighting and killing amongst themselves. When the sailors finally make it home to report this turn of events, the news gets worse. There is a plague upon the land, the people are restless, growing violent and panicked, and the king - almost as soon as we meet him - is slain by the hand of his own son, the teenaged Arren who doesn't understand why he has done such a horrible thing and flees his home in fear and shame.

Far from his homeland, Arren meets Sparrowhawk, a wandering wizard who rescues the youngster from a pack of wolves and takes him on as a travelling companion. Though he is not specific about his aims, Sparrowhawk is clearly on a mission of his own, roaming the island nations of Earthsea to discover whatever sinister force it is that has upset the balance of nature so badly so that he can set it right and restore order to the world. Over the course of their travels the pair run afoul of drug dealers and slave traders before finally joining Sparrowhawk's old friend Tenar and her young, badly scarred adoptive daughter Therru and the group as a whole eventually attract the attention of Cob, the evil wizard at the core of the problems plaguing Earthsea.

Tales From Earthsea is a rich, complex story beautifully drawn and animated in great detail. It is a story that tackles big themes and big ideas and gives its audience enough credit to not spoon feed, assuming that people can keep up. It is set in a world rich with history and culture that it works into the framework of the film easily, smartly balancing the urge to explain with the smarts to know when things best serve the story by being left in the background - providing weight without distracting. Goro Miyazaki has here crafted a remarkably strong debut effort, a film with enormous ambitions that showcases a remarkable level of craft. That ambitiousness, in fact, actually stands as both one of the film's great strengths and one of two significant weaknesses, as the film occasionally tries to bite off more than it can properly handle and is forced to resort to stretches of exposition to explain what's happening because there is just too much happening and too much needed background to the story for Miyazaki to portion it out slowly. Aiming big in this case means an ending that may very well confuse some who don't have a prior knowledge of the world from the source novels - the core of what you need to know is contained within the film but there just isn't enough room in the film to properly set up the character with the degree of background for the climactic moment to really settle into place. If aiming too large is one major problem, the other lies in some very odd choices surrounding Arren's character, most specifically introducing him in the scene where he kills his father, a situation never really explained, a choice that makes him an unsympathetic and confusing choice as the film's lead protagonist.

Now, if the film on its own is impressive if somewhat flawed, next comes the obvious question of where Miyazaki's work stands in relation to that of his revered father. It's a horribly unfair comparison, to be sure, particularly since people will be comparing Goro's first ever work to his father's later body of work crafted when he had far more experience under his belt, but there's really no avoiding it. There are obvious points both of similarity and difference. First, because the character and animation work is being done by the same studio and same artists, the film is visually very similar to Hayao's work, instantly identifiable as a Ghibli production by anyone who has even a passing knowledge of the studio's output. This, of course, means that it's stunning to look at and is richly designed with as much attention given to landscape and environment as is to the characters - an important choice thematically for this film in particular. Also shared with his father is an underlying concern for the balance of nature and a preference for complex characters that don't really fit in to quick and easy good versus evil categories. Our heros are flawed, the villains understandable and recognizable. The message of course, is that we are both and it is up to us to choose our path wisely. Goro has not yet developed his father's gift for observation, for finding the quiet moments that define characters as much - if not more - than their actions and speech, but he's certainly working his way down that same road. As for differences, Tales From Earthsea aims for an older audience than do the huge majority of Hayao's films - which he has acknowledged have twelve year old girls as their primary target audience - with a seventeen year old boy as its primary protagonist. It is also more focused on plot and action than are most of Hayao's offerings, which tend to focus more on mood and character. Is Goro equal to his father? No, of course not. And frankly, I don't think he wants to repeat what his father does and is looking to develop his own voice which, while not quite fully developed yet, is certainly on its way. He is, however, clearly his father's son, with many of the same concerns and beliefs driving his work.

Now, for fans of the book - how does the film compare? Well, the plot synopsis should answer that. While very clearly set in the world of Earthsea, a world populated by instantly recognizable characters that follows the same rules and philosophy of the books, and while the plot is largely based on the third of the Earthsea novels - Tehanu - there have been MAJOR changes made, some of which make sense, some of which don't. The alteration of Arren's character, for instance, is baffling and thoroughly unnecessary. The killing of Arren's father is not at all necessary to drive his story in the film and does nothing but make his character harder to empathize with, and I honestly can't understand why that decision was made. If nothing else, it also means that if the studio had hopes of making any further Earthsea films, they would need to abandon the storylines of the later books entirely because what they've done with Arren's character simply cannot be made to mesh with the role he plays in later days in the original novels. Cob's motivation remains consistent but the handling of the final confrontation with the evil wizard is dramatically altered, though I honestly think this decision works simply because the events of the novel would be far too difficult to set up and explain within the confines of this single film and, being primarily a think-piece, wouldn't make for very engaging film.

The question of setting up and explaining the world raises another question I simply could not shake throughout the film. If you are going to make an Earthsea film, why on earth would you start with Tehanu? Sure, it's a better choice than The Tombs of Atuan, which I think would be nearly unfilmable, but by the time LeGuin arrived at Tehanu she had such a large cast of complicated characters in place and so many deep themes introduced and working simultaneously that it seems a bit of a fool's game to think you could do all of them justice starting off cold in only a single film. Issues in the novel don't need to be explained because LeGuin can assume everyone's already read what came before and understands the basic rules and histories. She is free to continue to build and broaden without worrying about laying the groundwork because that has all been done already. This was not the case for Miyazaki in this film and it's definitely an issue they've had to work around while laying out the narrative. A better choice, I think, would clearly have been to begin where the books begin, with A Wizard of Earthsea - which this film actually lifts one major plot point from - and let us learn and explore the world and the rules that govern it as Sparrowhawk himself does.

Tales From Earthsea will not be available in North America until at least 2009 thanks to rights issues connected to the SciFi Channel's live action adaptation of the title but there are a few good options available now. I myself have opted for the basic Japanese release which includes not only English subtitles but also the full English dub so that I can watch it with my son. As is virtually always the case with Japanese releases, the audio and video quality on this is excellent. Should you need only the subtitles and aren't concerned about the dub, the new Hong Kong DVD release is an excellent, less expensive, option.

by Todd Brown -

This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

Customer Review of "Tales from Earthsea (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (2)

See all my reviews

November 3, 2007

This customer review refers to Tales From Earthsea (2006) (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version)
An Excellent Film and DVD Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
----The Introduction----

I will not go into the plot of the film since summaries are very easy to find. Needless to say, I found this film to be excellent in the highest regard. I own 7 of Hayao Miyazaki's films and continue to be a fan. With that said I can also say that Goro Miyazaki appears to have true potential and did an excellent job with Tales From Earthsea. The film has a darker tone to it than those of Hayao Miyazaki.

----The Package:----

It should be noted that the images shown for the Hong Kong version show a statue of the cover image. This is not included with this set.

The movie is in a normal plastic DVD case with a metallic slipcover. The packaging is very nice on the eyes.

----The Subtitles----

THERE ARE ONLY ENGLISH SUBTITLES ON THE MOVIE. The English subs on the film are EXCELLENT to say the least. They are nearly flawless and won't disappoint you. The Special Features are subbed only in Chinese, so unless you know Chinese or Japanese you are going to miss out on them.

----The Special Features----

As far as I can tell, there are only three special features, storyboard, trailers, and "Behind the Mic".

The storyboard allows you to switch between the film and the storyboards via the angle button on your remote. If you have already watched the film you won't miss out on much due to language barriers since the dialogue appears to be the same as the film.

Trailers don't really need to be subbed to be enjoyed :P

"Behind the Mic" has interviews with all the Japanese voice actors. YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND THIS WITHOUT KNOWING CHINESE OR JAPANESE.

----The Menu----

The Menu is entirely in Chinese so I recommend that when you go to watch the movie simply hit play and select the language with your remote shortcut keys.

----The Conclusion----

Since the only language I know is English, I hope this review will benefit those who have no knowledge of Chinese and Japanese and are looking for a copy of this film.

The grades given below are not on the features themselves, but on how they are for an English speaker.

-Movie w/subs: A+
The film and subs are simply excellent.
-Menus: F
Menus are completely in Chinese without knowing any Chinese it's all guess work.
-Special Features: C
Storyboards and trailers don't really need subs but the interiviews do. :(

Perfect for someone who just wants to watch the movie. If you want to fully enjoy the special features you will want to wait for another release.
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Best Review
See all my reviews

August 6, 2007

This customer review refers to Tales From Earthsea (2006) (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version)
shoulda, coulda, woulda, wasnt Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10
Though it hurts me to say - i was actually a little bit dissapointed after watching Tales from Earthsea.

What was the problem? Being a huge fan of Studio Ghibli, i had high expectations of this film - as i assume all of you would have. Perhaps my expectations were a little too high?. The movie in my opinion lacked in imagination & didnt have the same magic feeling that the other studio ghibli films had. I felt there were alot of unanswered questions & too many cut corners.
so like my title suggests - should have been good, could have been good, would have been good - but it wasnt!
I dont mean to put anyone off buying and/or watching the movie, it's definitely one to add to your collection, if you are a Ghibli fan... but dont expect another Spirited Away or another Howls Moving Castle etc. etc. or you will be sadly let down like me =(

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