One of the most common misconceptions about us Brits is that we don’t indulge in displays of emotion. It’s not true – in fact it’s a trait limited only to our gangly, socially-inept ruling classes – you know, the ones we would have eradicated if we’d had a proper revolution – and spread around the world by the constant stream of Jane Austen adaptations we shit out and the inexplicable popularity of ‘stars’ like Hugh Grant. Anyway. I can assure you right now I am displaying emotions – several in fact – but actually the dominate one is so typically British. It’s disappointment.

Some news was circulating this week about about the UK release date for Miyazaki’s Ponyo and frankly, it was such bad news that I had to get it confirmed myself. A quick email to distributors Optimum – who have the license for Ghibli product in the UK, not Disney – triggered this response and my worst fears:

Hi Tim,

Ponyo will be released in cinemas nationwide on February 5th 2010. The DVD will be released in mid June 2010. Whether or not it will be released on Blu-ray is yet to be confirmed.

Many thanks.

Best wishes,

Nice Optimum PR Person

February? And no UK DVD until June next year? Ouch.

Hugely disappointing, especially as us poor Ghibli-loving limeys have been soaking up all the hype about the film and Miyazaki’s appearances in the US. Not that I’m blaming Optimum for this – I have no knowledge of the behind the scenes legal, economic and political dealings that have lead to this decision – plus they have always provided first class products with all their previous Ghibli releases. In fact – unlike Disney – as they have no fear of releasing un-dubbed versions, we actually have had some titles released over here that have yet to surface in the US – Tales of Earthsea and Only Yesterday being two great examples. The flip side is that the ones that Disney do want to honor with a dub seem to be delayed, as though we’re getting the Mouse’s second pickings. Like I say, I can’t claim to know the in and outs of whats happening behind the scenes, but it does leave a somewhat bitter taste in the mouth.

As for the DVD release date, well that just seems like an unfeasibly long way off. Presumably it’ll be out on DVD in the US by year end, and most likely on Bluray too. Either way, it doesn’t seem like a particular helpful delay for an industry trying to fight off internet piracy. I’ve actually got hold of a copy of the Japanese DVD release, but was holding off watching it, hoping that I’d be able to see it at the cinema first. As you can imagine I’m not waiting until February now, so that’s something to do this weekend. Look out next week for a full review.