17-year-old runaway Yui and 8-year-old Hiyori, who lost her family and her voice, have no place to go when they run into Kiwa, a strange old lady. She offers them a place to stay, in a slightly banged-up old house overlooking the sea, a Mayoiga. Despite joining Kiwa on a whim, the two girls find comfort in Mayoiga, a legendary house, said to look after lost travelers, and the warm hospitality of Kiwa. Both girls’ damaged hearts begin to heal little by little, until one day, a variety of strange beings which Kiwa calls “Fushigitto” begin popping up around the house.
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The House Of The Lost On The Cape comes to Blu-Ray from Shout! Factory with a lovely 1080p transfer in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This traditional hand drawn animation offers a stunning viewing experience with fluid character designs and textured backgrounds. Viewing this in crisp high definition means the artwork is afforded impeccable stability free of jagged lines or color bleeding. Take note of the subtle touches given to the house by the animators which gives it its own unique kind of magic. The level of detail put into every element is a real treat.
The textures in the character designs and the environments are a wonder as they give the film a real sense of depth. There are moments throughout the experience that go for a more hazy, dreamy aesthetic which this transfer replicates with ease. The colors present in this transfer are well saturated with vibrant hues making a big impression when it comes to nature alongside the deeper, more reserved colors in some of the interiors. Black levels are incredibly strong with no trace of compression artifacts or digital anomalies of the sort. This is a very pleasant transfer for the material.
The Blu-Ray comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless track presented here in its original Japanese and dubbed English with optional English and English SDH subtitles. The track provides a pleasant and stable audio experience that recreates the movie exactly as intended. For much of this film, the narrative takes a really gentle approach with the environmental effects providing the most variety in sound. The track does employ some activity in the low end when necessary, especially as we approach the climax. There are some weather effects such as falling rain and blowing wind which adds some texture. Dialogue comes through clearly at all times without being overshadowed by any competing sounds. This music is precise in its placement throughout the room as it washes over the audience. There is also a lovely amount of sonic detail in the surround channels as the sound of nature creates a world fully realized. Shout! Factory has really delivered here.
- Director Shinya Kawatsura Special Q&A – Annecy Festival: A ten-minute conversation is provided with the director in which he discusses his attempt to honor the memory of those lost in the Tohoku earthquake, how this film differs from his other work, the process of adapting a novel, the difficulties he faced during production, the most memorable parts of making the film, the music in the film and more.
- Yui and Kiwa’s Secret Recipes: A selection of videos which show you how to prepare some of the delicious-looking food from the film.
- Stir-Fried Pork with Bamboo Shoots (2:06)
- Carbonara (2:23)
- Fruit Sandwich (1:58)
- Kabocha Squash Soups (2:42)
- Fried Cucumbers (2:32)
- Cucumber Sandwich (2:18)
- Milk Pudding (1:45)
- Miso Onigiri (2:35)
- Fried Eggplant with Miso (1:50)
- Calabash Stir Fry (2:12)
- Trailers: Two trailers totaling two minutes are provided here.
- Booklet: A 12-page booklet is provided in the package with early sketches of characters and more.
The House Of The Lost On The Cape is a very pleasant and moving story which falls short of being among the greats, but offers up a journey you will not regret experiencing. The film is very meditative and slight throughout much of the story, which provides opportunity for small character moments and world building but can leave the pacing a bit sleepy. The magical realism of the world affords the most creativity which we could have used a touch more of to seal the deal. If you are more of a casual anime fan, this might not be the title to choose if you only seek out a few new things a year, but persistent fans of the genre will find many elements quite rewarding in this one. Shout! Factory has released a Blu-Ray with a terrific A/V presentation and a decent slate of special features. Recommended
The House Of The Lost On The Cape is currently available to purchase on Blu-Ray + DVD Combo Pack.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Shout! Factory and Eleven Arts have supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.