Full of visual splendor and fantastic animation, Welcome to the Space Show is one of the coolest animated films to have ever been crafted from Japan. The film focuses on four children who are spending summer vacation together for a week, which happens to have them looking for their pet rabbit that was lost during the school year. While looking in the various corn fields nearby, they happen to find an injured dog, who just so happens to be a talking alien, named Pochi Rickman. Since the children helped take care of Pochi, he decides to take them on a trip to the moon for fun. As they take their wonderful field trip to space, an unfortunate series of circumstances forces them to not only remain in space, but travel the galaxy in order to stop an evil alien whose obsessed with becoming an evil god.
While there have been films like Mamoru Hosoda’s Summer Wars and Wolf Children, that offer a lot for families and young children, Welcome to the Space Show, manages to not only be a children’s film, with valuable lessons, but a fun and invigorating visual feast. Director Koji Masunari, has made some incredible works of animation, including the Read or Die OVA and Photon: The Idiot Adventures, but he certainly outdoes himself with Space Show. While the script by Hideyuki Kurata feels a bit clunky in the final act, it offers plenty of action packed spectacle, colorful characters and an incredible amount of heartfelt sentiment, that is sure to resonate with viewers of any age. The film does run for two hours and while that certainly is long for an animated feature, Space Show swings for the fences and manages to do so much with its setting and characters, that its hard to say that its a tad too long.
The Blu-Ray from Cinedigm and GKids is a splendid disc, that offers stellar video, two bombastic surround sound mixes and enough special features to this disc worth owning. The video is presented in an AVC encoded, 1080p HD transfer, with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. From the very opening fight sequence, to the wonderful space parade in the far reaches of the galaxy, Welcome to the Space Show boasts one of the best video transfers I’ve seen on a Blu-Ray. From the colors to the amount of detail shown in the animation itself, Space Show is most certainly something that people are going to love to see over and over again, for years to come. On the audio side, there are two DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mixes, one in the original Japanese language track and the English dub. Both mixes are excellent, from the performances, to the actual mix. The surround and LFE offer some great immersion and impact, especially during the fight sequences. The extras on the disc include an hour and a half long TV special, which show some of the behind the scenes, as well as an in depth look at the director and a storyboard to film reel. Both features explore the making of the film and give an incredible amount of insight to Space Show’s creation.
Welcome to the Space Show is a must own Blu-Ray for both anime enthusiasts and anime fans. With the level of energy of Masaaki Yuasa’s Mind Game, but the heart and soul of a Miyazaki film, Welcome to the Space Show is sure to entertain anyone of all ages. Highly Recommended!