When you think of amazing, moving Japanese animated films, chances are you first think of Hayao Miyazaki, the most celebrated creator at Studio Ghibli. But some of his ex-Studio Ghibli employees have come together to continue their work on delightful and gorgeous “children’s” films.
Enter, the newly-formed Studio Ponoc and the trailer for its first feature film, Mary and the Witch’s Flower.
Miyazaki, the savant behind Ghibli’s most popular offerings, including Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and My Neighbor Totoro, broke hearts with news of his retirement. (Though he’s coming back, for Boro the Caterpillar.)
While there are soooo many other talented Japanese animated film directors (including my boo Makoto Shinkai and my fave filmmaker of all time, the late Satoshi Kon), the Ghibli model of fantasy, wonder, and spunky heroines is pretty iconic.
Studio Ponoc is the next logical extension of the Ghibli model. Its founder, Yoshiaki Nishimura, was a lead producer at Ghibli and worked on Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle and Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya. Mary Stewart’s novel The Little Witch is the inspiration for Mary and the Witch’s Flower, and its story sounds delightful. A young girl follows a black cat on a magical adventure… A formula that’ll always be in style, witch or not.