“Dealing with the afterlife, Laika’s work embodies the frame of a religious film. If too direct, then philosophically charged, even if the two go together. Consideration of the afterlife veer from the Western depictions – no angels, no heavens, and no sci-fi zombies. Instead, rebirth and continuation, Shinto values which butt against the finite form of Western Christianity. Kubo fights for its style of edification, and does so with class.”

Read our full 3D Blu-ray review of Kubo for more


The newest (so far) of Shout Factory’s Laika releases, Kubo also looks the best. Tremendous gains via Dolby Vision amplify this cautiously dark, then bright animated movie. Intensity in the black levels astounds, constantly at their deepest point without crush. Stellar brightness perks up the highlights, the sun gleaming and fires blindingly pure.

Balanced color allows primaries to bloom without betraying the source’s intent of warm days and cool nights. Kubo’s red robe reaches a solidly vivid hue, paired well to the other kimonos around him. His paper mache creations each sport a specific hue, outstanding in their intensity.

Then the detail, revealing more texture than is possible in HD. From the paper to the skin to hair, the definition makes full use of the format. Impeccable sharpness drives every frame to a pristine peak, never dimming. Wide shots and those CG-assisted backdrops lose no luster regardless of their complexity. Minor flicker during certain motion/action is the only fault, and too minor to diminish how great this looks.


Drums slam into the low-end, rumbling and pounding whenever the score needs them to. Action scenes likewise involve the subwoofer, this Atmos mix a winner over the Blu-ray in this regard. Range improves, and while not a grandiose leap, there’s unmistakably more power on UHD.

An already exemplary 7.1 track adds more channels to its sonic array, and while using them sparingly, when active, their presence is felt. The soundstage thus has more space to play with, mirroring the original mix flawlessly, unchanged, but with the benefit of new tech. There’s no downside short of those wishing to note the overheads more often; Kubo doesn’t need them so frequently though.


Shout ports over all of Universal’s previous bonuses, and includes a few additional retrospectives produced freshly.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Video
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User Review
5 (2 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 40 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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