DVD: Pom Poko (Disney)


Pom Poko

English DVD Title (Region 1)

Pom Poko


Japanese (2.0 Stereo), English (2.0 Stereo)

Aspect Ratio:

English, French
119 minutes
1.85:1 Anamorphic


Pom Poko, the Great Raccoon Battle



  • Menus (English)
  • Chapters (20)
  • Trailers: Pom Poko, the Great Raccoon Battle (2 trailers, 1 Preview, 1 Promo), Spirited Away (US), Howl's Moving Castle (US), Porco Rosso (US), The Cat Returns (US), Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (US), Cinderella (DVD), Toy Story (DVD), Tarzan (DVD), Valiant
  • Original Japanese Storyboards (119 minutes)



By: Anthony Romero

Disney has offered an impressive array of Studio Ghibli titles on home video outside of Japan. In fact, at one time they became so involved that they were co-producing the then current movies in Japan to help with financing. Those days are gone, as the company backed away as GKids and Universal stepped up. History aside, let's examine this 2005 release of Pom Poko, the Great Raccoon Battle by Disney, which here is called simply Pom Poko.

This release marks the first home video release of the movie in the United States, bringing with it a new dub track that Disney created. The quality for the overall experience is good, with video and audio quality that stand up well for what the DVD format is capable of. The extras, especially for a two disc set, feel light though.

 Video: Star Rating

I made the mistake of watching the Blu-ray edition almost in tandem with the DVD edition... which probably is not surprising that the Blu-ray blows this edition out of the water. Regardless, the quality here is good for the format. Colors are vibrant, although there is a minor yellow tint present that becomes apparent when comparing it to the Blu-ray. The source used is in great shape, though, with no scratches. Noise levels are also great here, with minimal visible grain. Compression is quite noticeable, though, and the image is not quite as sharp as it could be, even for DVD.

Similar to their two disc Spirited Away DVD that came before it, this release comes with variants for the opening and closing credits. Which one the viewer will get depends completely on which audio option they selected under "Set Up". So the Japanese audio will have the original Japanese opening and credits, while the English audio will have English titles. Disney executed this perfectly as these are treated as unique segments that it transitions to, while the bulk of the movie is found on a main video track. Thanks to this approach, it minimizes the required compression to pull this off.

Pom Poko, the Great Raccoon Battle is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio: Star Rating

Two audio tracks are found on this DVD, which are in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. One is the original Japanese language track for the 1994 movie and the other is an English dub track that was created for this DVD release by Disney. As for the audio quality, both tracks sound crisp with good clarity in the dialogue. In addition, there are no discrepancies to speak of, like pops or crackles, although this isn't very surprising given the movie is barely 11 years old now.

The movie can be accompanied by removable English or French subtitles. For English, there are two versions: one that subtitles the Japanese dialogue and another that is a closed caption track for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.


 Extras: Star Rating

This two disc set has... only two real extras oddly enough. One is a movie length storyboard segment that is paired with the English or Japanese audio track. This allows the viewer to watch all of the storyboards that were created to lead the animators in creating the final product. The audio tracks here are the same ones that are found for the main movie, and for the Japanese one they can be accompanied by removable English subtitles.

Next are a collection of trailers. There are four total, with two noted as theatrical trailers, one as a preview and the final one as a promotional film. In reality it feels like the latter two are simply really long trailers. Sadly, the quality here is lacking on the trailers, as the image is very small and not anamorphic. Not only is the video quality on the trailers poor, though, but the audio quality is as well, with the dialogue sounding a bit unclear. On the plus side, these Japanese trailers can be accompanied by removable English subtitles.


 Overview: Star Rating

Bottom line, this is a good way to see the film on DVD. It's got good video and audio quality, although the extra selection is nothing to write home about. Naturally if you own a Blu-ray player, that version is a substantial upgrade, although those sticking to the DVD format can't go wrong with the 2005 release.

As a side note, the Disney Blu-ray edition uses the first disc from this set as the DVD feature film on their Blu-ray + DVD combo pack.