Howls Moving CastleAmerican fans of Howl's Moving Castle have been wondering when Disney would release the movie on DVD in U.S./Region 1. (A DVD is already available in Japan.) The release date has just been announced: March 7, 2006. Disney will release two other Studio Ghibli films on the same date: My Neighbor Totoro and Whisper of the Heart. Each movie will be released in a two-DVD set that includes both the Japanese version with subtitles and the English dub. Storyboards of the films might also be included; details are currently sketchy.

Howl's Moving Castle
is on the (long) shortlist of nominations for the Best Animated Film Oscar and is considered a serious contender. Totoro has been released in the U.S. previously, but only in a full-screen edition dubbed in English. Like Howl's Moving Castle, Totoro was directed by Hayao Mizayaki, although it is much lighter in tone. I don't know much about Whisper, which hasn't been released in the U.S. before. According to the Nausicaa.net profile of the film, it's about a Japanese teenager trying to discover her true identity. I noticed screenshots of cats dressed in Victorian clothing so it's not as prosaic as that description implies. After all, it just isn't a Studio Ghibli film without ultra-adorable or ultra-strange creatures (usually both).

[via Nausicaa.net]