Hayao Miyazaki may be coming out of retirement, but our immediate attention is turning to Studio Ghibli’s unofficial sister company Studio Ponoc. Founded by Yoshiaki Nishimura, the acclaimed animator whose credits include Howl’s Moving Castle, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and When Marnie Was There, Japan’s newest animation house quietly opened its doors in 2015. And now its first project is almost ready to be released to the world.
Mary and the Witch’s Flower, Ponoc’s first feature film, is based on the 1971 children’s book ‘The Little Broomstick’ by Mary Stewart, which tells the story of a young girl who discover an enchanted broomstick that transports her to a fantastical world. A team of animators including several former Studio Ghibli employees have been hard at work on the film for the past two years, with Yoshiaki Nishimura once again taking on directing duties.
From the looks of this magical first trailer, the film will be a treat for fans of traditional hand-drawn animation, filled with charming characters and gorgeous visuals. And even though it looks to have more in common with the director’s own Arrietty than any of Miyazaki’s master works, it’s great to see that the Studio Ghibli torch appears to have been passed on so seamlessly.
Published 27 Feb 2017
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