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Operetta PRINCESS RACCOON Premium Edition (Japan Version) DVD Region 2

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Operetta PRINCESS RACCOON Premium Edition (Japan Version)
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Customer Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (1)

YesAsia Editorial Description

The star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha goes to Japan for this touching, wildly entertaining tale of forbidden love! Famed 1960s cult film director Suzuki Seijun (Tokyo Drifter and Pistol Opera) teams up with gorgeous international superstar Zhang Ziyi for Operetta Tanuki-Goten, a colorful, musically diverse, song and dance filled love story that's like nothing audiences have ever seen before or will likely see again!

Released internationally as Princess Raccoon, the film centers on the lovely and talented Zhang Ziyi who plays Tanuki-hime, a raccoon spirit princess who suddenly falls in love with Amechiyo (Bright Future's Odagiri Jo), a handsome prince who finds himself exiled from his vainglorious father's kingdom. Will the two lovers stay together or will fate tear them apart?

With its kaleidoscope of top of the line special effects, surreal painted backdrops, and self-consciously theatrical soundstages, Operetta Tanuki-Goten is a psychedelic, hallucinatory, and ultimately joyous cinematic experience, making it a true spectacle in every sense of the word! After undergoing extensive training, lead actress Zhang Ziyi dances, speaks in Japanese, and even sings a few tunes in Mandarin to complete the zany, "anything goes" mentality of both the film and director Suzuki himself. With performance styles ranging from operetta and kabuki to rap and reggae, Operetta Tanuki-Goten is a delirious, fantasia-like tale of forbidden romance that emphasizes the importance of following one's heart!

Special features include a making-of featurette, cast & director interviews featuring Zhang Ziyi and Joe Odagiri, picture-labeled disc and more. Also, the first pressing includes a deluxe 16-page booklet and special packaging.

© 2005-2020 YesAsia.com Ltd. All rights reserved. This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Technical Information

Product Title: Operetta PRINCESS RACCOON Premium Edition (Japan Version) Operetta 狸御殿 Premium Edition (日本版) Operetta PRINCESS RACCOON Premium Edition (Japan Version) オペレッタ 狸御殿 プレミアム・エディション プレミアム・エディション Operetta PRINCESS RACCOON Premium Edition (Japan Version)
Artist Name(s): Zhang Ziyi | Yamamoto Taro | Odagiri Joe | Ichikawa Miwako | Shinoi Eisuke | Yuki Saori | Hira Mikijiro | Yakushimaru Hiroko | Suzuki Papaya | Misora Hibari | Suzuki Seijun | Gentarou Takahashi 章子怡 | 山本太郎 | 小田切讓 | 市川實和子 | 篠井英介 | Yuki Saori | 平幹二朗 | 藥師丸博子 | Papaya Suzuki | Misora Hibari | 鈴木清順 | 高橋元太郎 章子怡 | 山本太郎 | 小田切让 | 市川实和子 | 篠井英介 | Yuki Saori | 平干二朗 | 药师丸博子 | Papaya Suzuki | Misora Hibari | 铃木清顺 | 高桥元太郎 章子怡(チャン・ツィイー) | 山本太郎 | オダギリジョー | 市川実和子 | 篠井英介 | 由紀さおり | 平幹二朗 | 浦沢義雄(脚本) | 大島ミチル(音楽) | 矢部一男(照明) | 前田米造(撮影) | 木村威夫(プロダクションデザイナー) | 白井良明(音楽) | 浦沢義雄 | 薬師丸ひろ子 | パパイヤ鈴木 | 美空ひばり | 鈴木清順 | 高橋元太郎 | オダギリ・ジョー 장쯔이 | Yamamoto Taro | 오다기리 죠 | Ichikawa Miwako | Shinoi Eisuke | Yuki Saori | Hira Mikijiro | Yakushimaru Hiroko | Suzuki Papaya | Misora Hibari | Suzuki Seijun | Gentarou Takahashi
Director: 鈴木清順(監督)
Release Date: 2005-10-21
Publisher Product Code: GNBD-1107
Language: Japanese
Country of Origin: Japan
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 2 - Japan, Europe, South Africa, Greenland and the Middle East (including Egypt) What is it?
Publisher: Geneon Universal Entertainment
Other Information: 2DVD
Shipment Unit: 2 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1004048263

Product Information

[アーティスト/ キャスト]
鈴木清順 (監督) / 浦沢義雄 (脚本) / チャン・ツィイー / オダギリジョー

[テクニカル・インフォメーション]
初回生産分のみ:豪華スペシャルケース、豪華ブックレット(16P)封入
製作国 : 日本 (Japan)
公開年 : 2004

[解説&ストーリー]
ハリウッド女優チャン・ツィイー日本映画初出演!^.^唐の国から狸御殿に招かれた狸姫と、その美しさゆえに実の父親である〈がらさ城〉城主・安土桃山に命を狙われる、雨千代。運命に導かれて出会った二人は、ひと目で恋に落ちるが、さてこの恋の行方は・・・。^.^本年12月日本公開のスピルバーグ製作『SAYURI』で本格的なハリウッド進出も果たした中国を代表する国際派女優、『LOVERS』のチャン・ツィイーが、主役として日本映画初出演!相手役には、『血と骨』での数々の映画賞に輝き、『メゾン・ド・ヒミコ』『SINOBI』など主演の話題作が公開相次ぐ若手演技派俳優オダギリ ジョー。さらに薬師丸ひろ子、平幹二朗、由紀さおりら、演技はもちろん歌唱力も一流の共演陣。監督は、その独特の映像スタイルによって、タランティーノら世界の映画作家たちからリスペクトされている巨匠・鈴木清順。豪華キャストと魅惑のナンバー、独創的で美しい衣裳と美術セット、さらに最新の映像技術を得て、日本映画伝統の歌と踊りの娯楽ジャンル\
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Operetta PRINCESS RACCOON Premium Edition (Japan Version)"

April 10, 2006

This professional review refers to Tanuki Goten AKA: Princess Raccoon (DTS Version) (DVD+Poster) (Hong Kong Version)
One of the great directors of Japanese Cinema, Suzuki Seijun has always created films that are far from conventional. Best known for his unique 1960s gangster movies Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill, the legendary director is still making films at the age of 82 in a style that is uniquely his own. His latest film, Princess Raccoon, is a colorful fairy-tale based on one of the many Japanese mythology tales about tanuki - raccoon creatures that have the power to take the shape of humans. Filmed and directed as a stage musical or operetta, with heavily stylized and theatrical set designs drawn from a vast range of references, it all nevertheless adds up to a coherent, consistent, and original piece of filmmaking.

The most beautiful person in the world is Azuki Momoyama (Hira Mikijiro), the King of Garasa Castle, as the Old Maid Virgin will testify. And she does, continually, to satisfy the vanity of the king. However, she warns him that he has a rival - things are changing and soon the King's son Prince Amechiyo (Odagiri Joe) will surpass the King's beauty. The King won't have that and has already banished his wife for the very same reason, so Priest Ostrich is duly dispatched to carry out the same punishment, banishing Prince Amechiyo to the Sacred Mountain.

To reach the mountain Ostrich and Amechiyo must pass through Raccoon Forest, where the creatures of the forest inhabit the shape of humans. Ostrich is captured by a couple of villagers who mistake him for one of the raccoons and prepare to make him into a soup. Amechiyo, however, is rescued by the beautiful Princess Raccoon (Zhang Ziyi). Love between man and raccoon is of course impossible and destined to be fruitless. Nonetheless, despite their differences and warnings from Princess Raccoon's maid that "man is an epidemic" that threatens to destroy the Raccoon Palace, the Prince and Princess fall in love. While they are together, they sing in perfect harmony and peace and love reign in the world. But it is not destined to last.

"Love between man and raccoon is of course impossible and destined to be fruitless." Somehow in all my time of reviewing DVDs, I never thought I'd end up writing a sentence like that. But then again, I've never seen a film like Princess Raccoon. And that, primarily, has to be the only kind of judgement you can make about this film. Objective considerations about whether it is good or bad really count for nothing, since there is no comparable frame of reference for such an enterprise.

Oh, it's easy enough to spot numerous cultural references, since the film abounds in various visual and musical appropriations - but rarely, if ever, have so many instances of high-art and low-art been mixed to such an unusual effect. Thus imagery and techniques from Akira Kurosawa's Dreams and Cocteau's La Belle et la Bête are mixed with scenes and a plot that plays out like a cross between Mozart's The Magic Flute and the Japanese TV series Monkey. Van Gogh style paintings are used as backgrounds to colorful characters made up in Jeff Koons kitsch art poses. Kabuki, operetta and avant-garde theatre are mixed with pantomime and Jacques Demy musicals, filmed like a Michel Gondry pop video (Björk's Human Behaviour comes very much to mind). And of course, its musical eclecticism is equally wide and all-inclusive, ranging from operetta and hip-hop to power-rock and calypso.

It sounds hideous, does it not? And I'm sure many people will regard it with horror and incomprehension, as many have also done with a couple of other recent Asian excursions into musical theatricality - Kitano Takeshi with Zatoichi and Tsai Ming Liang with The Wayward Cloud. What both these directors managed to achieve, however, was to bring these elements into their films in a manner that was uniquely their own and thereby bring something out of them that could not have otherwise been achieved by conventional means. Likewise, Princess Raccoon brings these elements into the cinema of Suzuki Seijun in a way that is unique to the director. There are no gangsters in this film, but fans of the director will recognize the stylistic traits easily enough and it seems an obvious extension from the theatricality of his last film Pistol Opera. A master of color and composition, of mixing high art and popular culture, Suzuki Seijun's stylistic excesses in Princess Raccoon are camped up so far that they come out the other side as a unique concoction that is beyond definition and, I believe, criticism. It's therefore pointless to try to analyze the plot or style and objectively present an argument either for or against it. It is what it is, and what it is, for better or worse, is Suzuki Seijun.

DVD
Princess Raccoon is released in Hong Kong by Mei Ah Entertainment. The DVD is not region encoded and is in NTSC format.

Video
Although they have certainly improved greatly from the early days of DVD, Mei Ah's Hong Kong releases still seem to have infuriating issues on otherwise more than acceptable transfers. This is certainly the case with Princess Raccoon. A film blessed with the most amazing cinematic compositions, particularly in its use of color, the image can often look exceptional - particularly as there is not a mark on the transfer. Considering the amount of photo manipulation going on, it may well have been shot digitally. However, the colors as they are transferred here are over-saturated, often bleeding over edges. The image is also rather soft, with a tendency to blur during movements on account of the interlaced transfer. This may be particularly noticeable and even problematic on a progressive display. On my PC the image was particularly difficult to watch, juddering and blurring with every camera pan. Attempting to de-interlace the image only resulted in excessive combing artefacts. On some setups however, it can be quite an acceptable transfer. Reportedly, the Japanese DVD edition is progressive and has a truer color scheme, but it does not contain English subtitles.

Audio
Mei Ah's DVD release includes both a Dolby Digital 5.1 and a DTS mix of the soundtrack for the film. The DTS mix is fairly robust and warmly toned, but doesn't have the detail or the range you might expect. It's relatively thin on the low-end sub-woofer level, and louder passages tend to crackle a little. The occasional pop can also be heard. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is pretty much the same and any differences in tone are minimal. English subtitles are provided for the film, but not the extra features. The subtitles aren't perfect - there are some awkward turns of phrase and some pigeon-English - but by and large they capture the essentials.

Extras
Trailer (8:21) - A series of Japanese trailers and TV spots are put together in a single reel. After a while they all seem to look very similar. Zhang Ziyi makes a personal recommendation for the film at the end, which is the only section that contains English subtitles. Incidentally, the colors for the film look more accurate in the trailer than the feature presentation on this DVD.

Interviews (46:50) - This is actually a long making of, with a fair amount of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with cast and crew on-set interspersed throughout. It covers everything from a nervous-looking Zhang Ziyi at what appears to be the first meeting with a sprightly-looking 82-year-old Suzuki where they check out her costume fitting, through to the actual filming of many of the scenes. Unfortunately, there are no English subtitles supplied for this feature.

Databank - A basic synopsis is provided in Chinese and broken English, as well as basic cast and crew information.

Overall
There is little point in judging Princess Raccoon in terms of whether it is good or bad. Some people are going to love this, others will hate it with a passion. The only thing I can objectively say about the film, categorically and without dispute, is that it is colorful and stunningly beautiful to look at. The set designs are amazing, the costumes ravishing, the filming technique - mixing stage trickery with computer graphics - masterful and awe-inspiring. I think I can also say without any fear of contradiction, that you'll have never seen anything like this - and for me at least that counts for an awful lot. I'm normally not a fan of Zhang Ziyi, but here she is perfect in the role of the Princess and has never looked better - so that might count as an awful lot for others. Whether you will like this or not I can't say, but with similar baffling excursions into musical theatricality from a number of other eminent Asian directors - Kitano Takeshi and Tsai Ming Liang and now Suzuki Seijun - you have to consider that they must be onto something. Or at least on something. Whatever it is, it's all good as far as I'm concerned.

by Noel Megahey - DVD Times

March 7, 2006

This professional review refers to Tanuki Goten AKA: Princess Raccoon (DTS Version) (Hong Kong Version)
If things work out as appears likely and octogenarian director Seijun Suzuki's failing health means that Princess Raccoon is his final work then give this to the man: he is going out on top of his game. Though he has not trodden this particular ground before, Princess Raccoon is quintessentially a Suzuki picture. From the opening frames right through to the end there is simply nobody else on this planet who could possibly lay claim to this particular brand of lunatic genius. It is perplexing, wildly self indulgent, breathtakingly beautiful, and home to so many strange twists of logic and "What the hell?" moments that you are left breathless just trying to keep up. To the uninitiated it may very well prove to be nothing more than infuriating, but history will very likely place this in the absolute top tier of Suzuki's work, right alongside Branded To Kill.

Borrowing liberally from the story of Snow White along with strong influences from kabuki, Princess Raccoon tells the story of Prince Amechiyo (Odagiri Joe), the heir to the Garasa Castle. Amechiyo has a significant problem. When his father, the incredibly vain King Azuki is told that, although he is still the most beautiful person in the land, his beauty is fading and will soon be surpassed by that of his son, Azuki does what any self respecting narcissist would do and orders that his son be put to death, just as his mother was earlier, for presumably the same reason. Amechiyo is to be taken to the Sacred Mountain to die, but on the way must pass through territory controlled by the tanuki, the mysterious shape-changing raccoon-like creatures of Japanese legend. While there he meets and falls in love with the tanuki princess who appears in the form of a beautiful young woman (Zhang Ziyi) speaking a strange language he can't understand. From there we have the story of their forbidden love, set against the conflict triggered by Azuki's expansionist plans that threaten the tanuki lands.

What has always set Suzuki apart from other filmmakers is his love for the artifice of Cinema. While others may strive to overcome the technology to create something as "real" and "natural" as possible, Suzuki veers in the absolute opposite direction, embracing artifice and emphasizing the "otherness" of his creations. With Princess Raccoon he takes this love of the artificial to his farthest extremes, fusing obvious theatrical elements with CG compositing, richly painted backdrops, wildly fantastical sets, and a host of animation techniques. This goes beyond the kitchen sink, with Suzuki going and creating an entirely new range of kitchen appliances to throw into the mix as well. The visuals are simply stunning, and that Suzuki manages to take this immense stew of influences and approaches and fuse them into a whole that legitimately hangs together and follows a sort of surreal logic, is a huge testament to the man's immense talents.

Perhaps making the strangeness of the film more palatable - while also adding to it considerably - is the fact that the film is a full on musical with influences just as wide-ranging as the visual ones. There are tap dance sequences, traditional chant, cheesy power ballads and even a good bit of rap. There aren't any musical numbers likely to go tearing up the pop charts but all of the performers are solid enough and the blend of styles works remarkably well; the rap, in particular, fits shockingly well into the world Suzuki has created.

The DVD release from Silver Kent is somewhat mixed. The special features come without subtitles while the subtitles on the feature, although perfectly understandable, are far from perfect with many obvious grammatical problems throughout. The transfer is anamorphic and strong enough, but if ever there was a film that screamed "Get the format war over with so we can get this in high def!", this is the one.

Rich, colorful and entrancing, this is film that is proud to be film, film that could not be anything else. Suzuki is very much a hit and miss director for audiences, inspiring either absolute love or hate with very little in between, but for those who love him this is absolutely, without a doubt, an essential work.

Review By Todd Brown - Twitchfilm.net

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

Customer Review of "Operetta PRINCESS RACCOON Premium Edition (Japan Version)"

Average Customer Rating for this Edition: Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (1)

AnthonyKamHo
See all my reviews


January 8, 2006

3 people found this review helpful

Truly Delightful and Enchanting Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
Last Sunday I was very fortunate to see acclaimed Japanese director Seijun Suzuki’s truly delightful and enchanting musical film operetta at a special BAFTA/Japanese Embassy Premiere in London. Its immense charm and attraction was the various mixture of diverse artistic, colourful and visual presentation styles and content, ranging from real locations, theatrical, operatic to scenic art backdrops. Combining these settings with tap dancing, ballet, folk songs, hip-hop, rock and roll, merging Eastern and Western classic and modern music styles, all beautifully rolled into one. All of these elements were executed with such panache, flair and elegance, by the cast and director, who all seemed to be having such fun! The mythical age-old story is really about love triumphing over adversity, and good over evil, but with a modern edge. This fairy-tale was so enjoyable because of the many messages (some quite subtle) contained and conveyed within the storyline. Popular Japanese heartthrob Joe Odagiri performs well as Prince Ameychiyo and Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi is appealing as Tanuki-hime, proving once again how chameleon like she is, able to adapt to any role she takes on, with an amazing maturity well beyond her years. The varied music soundtrack fitted well and the songs are catchy. Long live the Raccoons, (I might just have become one?)!

AnthonyKamHo 9th September 2005
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