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Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

4.4 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Hold on tight and discover the magic of memories! A vibrantly animated blend of Japanese folklore and storybook charm reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, Production I.G's award-winning feature-length romp will amaze both the young and the young at heart.

16-year-old Haruka is on a mission to find her mirror - a precious childhood gift from her mother that mysteriously disappeared. While following a strange foxlike creature in the woods, she tumbles into a mystical world where once-cherished toys and treasures go when their owners neglect them. Join Haruka and her new friend Teo on a roller coaster ride of adventure as they contend with the island's greedy ruler - who wants the mirror for his own evil plan!

Amazon.com

The feature Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror (2009) received favorable notice and some awards on the international festival circuit. Haruka, a 16-year-old high school freshman, feels her hard-working father has neglected her since her mother died. She's also troubled by the loss of the hand mirror her mother left her. Remembering a children's book she had about fox spirits who take things humans neglect, Haruka visits the local shrine and prays for the return of her mirror. At the shrine, she sees Teo, an odd creature in a fox mask, steal her key ring. Haruka follows him into an underground world inhabited by strange beings who live amid discarded objects. The search for the mirror leads Haruka and Teo to the castle of the fey Baron who rules the island. During their adventures, Haruka and Teo learn they are not the living equivalent of discarded objects: they love and are loved. Oblivion Island has considerable charm, but it also has problems. The filmmakers never really explain who and what Teo is, and Haruka spends a lot of time fussing. Director-cowriter Shinsuke Sato has previously worked in live action, and the endless possibilities CG animation offers seem to have dazzled him. The scenes of Haruka's children's book have an appealing simplicity the rest of the film lacks: Oblivion Island is so overloaded with bright colors and odd shapes, the viewer's eye gets lost in the welter of details. There are also too many elaborate roller coaster rides through the complex backgrounds, a problem that may remind some viewers of Blue Sky's Robots (2005). But Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror offers more visual imagination than many bigger-budget features, and Sato's next film should be even more interesting. (Rated TV G: some mildly scary situations, minor violence and alcohol use) --Charles Solomon

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Christine Marie Cabanos, Cassandra Lee, Patrick Seitz, Julie Maddalena, Julie ann Taylor
  • Directors: Shinsuke Sato
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Animated, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    G
    General Audience
  • Studio: Funimation
  • DVD Release Date: August 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0080K2E92
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,171 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. Hunt on November 12, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
Oblivion Island is a 2009 computer-animated film released by the Japanese company, I.G. Studio. Directed by Shinsuke Sato, it tells the story of Haruka, a teenaged girl who, while following a curious creature seen near her mother's shrine, is pulled into Oblivion Island: the land of neglected things. It is here that she befriends a small denizen of the hidden world and begins her search for the red mirror given to her by her mother; a mirror Haruka had previously forgotten and let slip away.

I'd pulled this off the shelf hoping to find a foreign equivalent to the American twin-towers of Pixar and Dreamworks. I've always been a bit leery of Japanese computer anime out of unfamiliarity. To begin with, I've only barely scratched the service of anime as a whole, so taking the plunge into one of its trickier sub-genres was daunting. But Oblivion Island boasts a confident box cover and I was familiar with I.G. Studios through Ghost in the Shell series, so I dove in. I'm glad I did.

I had some concerns that the human elements of the film would be of the creepy, almost of the too-real variety, but that wasn't the case. While the, "real" people weren't as exaggerated/cartoonish as what you might find in, say, Toy Story, they weren't pixels away from looking like synthetic androids, either. Occasionally Haruka's movements would feel a little boxy and rigid, sometimes floaty, but for the most part I think it worked out. It's the fantasy elements, however, that I found brilliant and made the movie worth watching. The colors are spectacular, the action sequences explosive, and the cast of characters designed for the story are vibrant and masterfully crafted.
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I love Japanese anime and my nine-year-old daughter has grown to love them over the years. We are great fans of Hayao Miyazaki's body of work but lately, I've been introducing my daughter to some of the other films made by other directors. Of course, given her age, I have to choose the content with care, and I'm glad I found "Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror". Directed by Shinsuke Sato, the film uses 3-D animation to present a vivid story bursting with color, and featuring a cast of characters that struck me as original and refreshing.

The premise is an engaging one: Haruka is an only child being raised in a single parent household. Her mother passed away when Haruka was very young, and Haruka, in her loneliness and dejection, yearns fiercely for her mother and all the comfort of being in a happy family. A chance encounter with a strange creature propels Haruka on an amazing journey into the land of lost things, where to her utter astonishment she discovers that objects abandoned or forgotten by humans are collected by creatures inhabiting another world who live on an Island controlled by the power-hungry Baron (not to be confused with the charismatic Baron from Miyazaki's films). Haruka meets Teo, a creature who initially balks at helping a human, but the two gradually form a close bond that transcends their differences.

The animation is excellent as far as 3D animation goes, but what really captured my imagination as well as my daughter's was the wonderful storytelling and engaging characters. The friendship between Haruka and Teo is beautifully conveyed and each character is well-delineated. Characterization is not sacrificed at the expense of animation effects and I appreciated that.
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I bought this on a lark solely based on a teaser trailer. And I must say, it was a very pleasant surprise for my wife and myself. It is a little childish in its logic at times (such as a reliance on huge coincidences), but its charming story and magical visuals make such things easy to ignore. A great film for the whole family, enjoyable by all ages.
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I had been wanting to pick this up for nearly two years, and when I was finally able to, I absolutely loved it. It's is the cutest family movie ever. There are a lot of tear jerkers in it as well. I would highly recommend picking this up.
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Format: Blu-ray
Nominated for the "Award for Excellent Animation of the Year" at the 33rd Japan Academy Prize and "Best Animated Feature Film" for the 4th Asia Pacific Screen Award, Production I.G.'s "Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror" (a.k.a. Hottarake no Shima: Haruka to Mahō no Kagami) will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation in August 2012.

Directed by Shinsuke Sato ("Gantz" live action films and "The Princess Blade") and co-written by Sato and Otsuichi ("Calling You", "Goth").

VIDEO:

"Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror" is presented in 1080p High Definition and if there is one thing that I have raved over the years, it's about Production I.G.'s focus on quality and creating the most wonderful looking environments in an anime film or TV series.

With "Oblivion Island", the art backgrounds are absolutely fantastic to look at it. Artistic, very detailed, just gorgeous. May it be the city environment in Japan to the island environment where Teo lives, everything looks spectacular and I was just in awe of how breathtaking the film looked.

While the CG animation was created in 2009 and the creatures are not as highly detailed compared to an American Pixar film, in terms of skin textures and seeing pores or grime on a character, the CG is still very good, but it's the details of the backgrounds the characters are in that truly stick out the most of this animated film.

There have been a good number of CG animated films from Japan, but this is probably one of the most detailed that I have seen. The film is very colorful, vibrant and looks absolutely incredible on Blu-ray!

But is it perfect?
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