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Hiroyuki Okiura's beautiful hand-drawn anime A Letter to Momo puts a slightly more mature spin on the themes of Hayao Miyazaki's beloved My Neighbor Totoro, both being tales of young girls relocated to the country during parental traumas, and who discover supernatural forces that help them come to terms with their grief. Eleven year-old Momo (Karen Miyama) is obsessed with a letter her father started writing before he died at sea – he set down nothing more than the words "Dear Momo." She's also haunted by the fact that her own last words to him were spoken in anger. Meanwhile, Momo's mother Ikuko (Yuka) moves them to a small island, where the easily-spooked Momo discovers three mischief-making goblins that only she can see. Being grotesques »
Japanese animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli has had a long history of nabbing big-name actors for its films in U.S. distribution—from Christian Bale in Howl’s Moving Castle to Tina Fey and Matt Damon in Ponyo—and its latest release is no different.
U.S. distributor Gkids announced in a release today that Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, Carrie) will voice the title role in The Tale of Princess Kaguya. James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Darren Criss, Lucy Liu, James Marsden, and John Cho also lend their voices.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya is based on Japan’s oldest recorded narrative, »
- Jackson McHenry
Gkids, a distributor of award-winning animation for both adult and family audiences, has announced the English voice cast for The Tale of Princess Kaguya, the highly anticipated new feature from Studio Ghibli. It is the first film in fourteen years from legendary Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata. In addition to Chloe Moretz as The Princess Kaguya, the film features the voices of James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Darren Criss, Lucy Liu, Beau Bridges, James Marsden, Oliver Platt and Dean Cain. (Full cast list below.) Gkids has North American distribution rights for the film and is planning a theatrical release starting October 17, with national expansion to follow. The film will qualify for the Academy Awards and other awards season contests.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya made its international premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, where Variety hailed it as "a visionary tour-de-force." Eight years in the making, the film is the untold story of The Princess Kaguya, »
Check out this brilliantly entertaining piece of mashup art that combines Game of Thrones with Studio Ghibli's animated classic My Neighbor Totoro. If you take a closer look at the Iron Throne, you will see that it's actually made out of umbrellas, which I thought was hilarious. The art was posted by @gen_ghibli, and I hope you enjoy it! »
- Joey Paur
As a trailer for Studio Ghibli's latest and possibly final feature When Marnie Was There emerges, Ryan ponders company's uncertain future...
When Hayao Miyazaki retired last year at the age of 73, animation lost one of its most accomplished and dedicated practitioners. His work, comprising 11 features and numerous shorts, needs little introduction: films such as My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle have long since etched themselves on the minds of audiences all over the world.
Miyazaki's final film, The Wind Rises, was a bravely individual parting shot. A drama about the designer of the legendary Japanese fighter plane, the Mitsubishi Zero, it felt like a final, heartfelt statement from a truly great artist - and a fitting capstone to a remarkable career. But with Miyazaki having set aside the painstaking work he put into animating his films over the course of some 48 years, the inevitable question »
Cutting through the maelstrom of triple-a titles during Microsoft’s E3 conference this morning was the next project from Moon Studios, Ori and the Blind Forest.
Channeling the visual aesthetic of Studio Ghibli productions such as My Neighbour Totoro, the gorgeous indie platformer was confirmed as an Xbox One exclusive, and will launch for Microsoft’s flagship console this coming fall.
From the footage released, Ori and the Blind Forest appears to be an analog to Ubisoft PlayStation’s exclusive Child of Light, and even features an orb-like companion that will aid you in your quest through Moon Studios’ atmospheric nether realm.
As expected, Microsoft only teased the trailer below and not much is known about the specific gameplay of Moon Studios latest title; although, you would expect it to be tethered to the RPG genre, replete with upgrade systems and additional quests to partake in.
Ori and the Blind »
- Michael Briers
“But look at how they walk,” she squirmed, uncomfortably, at the cats awkwardly moving forward on their hind legs. “It’s creepy. I don’t wanna watch anymore.” And so, about 20 minutes in, we switched over.
She was right, you know. The cats walk slightly off-balance, their legs too short for their bodies, bestowing on them an odd, waddling gait; their front paws held aloft like a camp T-Rex’s. Nevertheless, their strut was an interesting aspect to take issue with. Of all the unnatural things to occur in The Cat Returns – talking crows, inanimate objects jumping to life, undertones of bestiality – the felines’ march is relatively tame.
The story, as is that production house’s way, is structured like a dream, tugging on the frayed ends of a narrative thread. A girl, Haru (Chizuru Ikewaki »
- Oliver Davis
Very rarely is it possible to witness the end of an era in the film-making world. But through the brilliant new animation The Wind Rises, we can see the final chapter in the career of legend Hayao Miyazaki. For those unfamiliar with the name, Miyazaki is considered one of the greats of the animation world, ranked amongst Walt Disney in terms of influence and ability. The Japanese animator and director is co-founder of Studio Ghibli, the production company behind the charming My Neighbour Totoro, the haunting Grave of the Fireflies, and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away among many others.
Each of Miyazaki’s creations are spellbinding masterpieces of rich illustrations, engaging stories and memorable characters. However, the release of The Wind Rises sees Miyazaki call it a day as he retires from Studio Ghibli, albeit with a typical flourish of imaginative splendour. Put simply, The Wind Rises is one of Miyazaki’s definitive works, »
- Jon Lovatt
“Testicles play an important role in tanuki mythology” writes Colin Odell and Michelle Le Blanc when discussing Pom Poko. Directed by Isao Takahata, this is a far call from the deeply serious war story of Grave of the Fireflies. Rather than humans, Pom Poko tackles morphing racoons. These creatures, along with foxes and cats, have a long history in Japan whereby they’re playful, mischievous transformations is merely one trick, alongside their ability to expand their balls into enormous parachutes or rugs to sit upon. Studio Ghibli always manages to inform us of the fascinating stories embedded in Japanese culture – but, until a tanuki (the accurate name for these magical racoons) reveals that his entire tanuki-class is sitting on an outstretched scrotum, you never realise how culturally different it truly is.
That’s not to say »
- Simon Columb
Jeff Wexler, Chief of International Division at Studio Ghibli, oversees the process that takes each Ghibli picture – including their most recent, The Wind Rises – overseas and accessible to foreign audiences. Speaking to us direct from Japan, Jeff talks about sticking to the director’s original vision, casting stars like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and how the studio’s newest effort sits with classics like Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro.
Can you tell us a bit about what you do at Studio Ghibli?
The studio creates films with the Japanese market in mind; they don’t adjust their films for foreign markets. So I get to see the film as the director wanted to make it for Japan, and we bring that film to other markets, staying true to the director’s original intent – which can be hard, because the Japanese language doesn’t really line up exactly with most languages, and »
- Gary Green
With The Wind Rises out in the UK now, James salutes the work of its legendary animator, Hayao Miyazaki...
The Wind Rises gets its UK release this week, and that's very good news for those of us who've been waiting patiently for Hayao Miyazaki's new movie. Studio Ghibli's latest - a fictionalised biopic of the aircraft engineer and designer Jiro Horikoshi - came out last July in its native Japan. Now, finally, we arrive at the point where we can see the acclaimed anime feature though, indubitably, the experience will be a bittersweet one.
After this one there will be no new Miyazaki films. The man responsible for such cinematic masterpieces as My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away announced his retirement from moviemaking last autumn. Though the animation auteur has made similar statements in the past and subsequently returned to direct again, it appears that »
The film, about the life of wartime aeronautical engineer Jiro Horikoshi, is a masterpiece, and a fine swansong for the filmmaker who co-founded Studio Ghibli. To mark the Oscar-winner's sign-off we've stepped back in time to bring 11 stunning images from his 11 feature films.
Revisit Miyazaki's incredible back catalogue below:
The Wind Rises opens in UK cinemas on May 9. »
To celebrate the cinema release of Hayao Miyazaki’s farewell film, The Wind Rises on 9th May, we are giving 3 of you the chance to win a copy of Pom Poko, Princess Mononoke and the Cat Returns on Blu-ray and Studio Ghibli Steel Books of Ponyo, My Neighbour Totoro and Howl’s Moving Castle.
The farewell masterpiece from the legendary Hayao Miyazki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli, and Academy Award-winning creator of Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo, The Wind Rises is a fictionalised biography of Jiro Horikoshi, visionary designer of Mitsubish A6M aircraft. A stunningly beautiful animated epic, the film charts one man’s struggle to achieve his childhood dreams of flight, and paying heartfelt tribute to the power of imagination.
Please note: This competition is open to UK residents only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Wind Rises is out in UK cinemas on 9th May and for »
News Den Of Geek 25 Apr 2014 - 09:00
We're putting on a double bill of Studio Ghibli's The Wind Rises and one other Ghibli film - and we need your votes!
If you cast your mind back earlier in the year, we started courting your views for a special Studio Ghibli screening night. The idea was that you'd get to choose which film we put back on the big screen at the end of it all. Lots of you expressed interested.
So many, in fact, that things have moved on a little. Because on Thursday 8th May in London, we're having a very special Studio Ghibli evening. Not only will we screen the Ghibli film that is chosen in our vote, but we will follow it up with a special screening of Hayao Miyazaki's final film, The Wind Rises, which is released in the UK the day after.
Odd List Ryan Lambie 28 Apr 2014 - 06:21
From Japanese anime to Disney via stop-motion, here are 18 animated films that are mystifyingly unavailable on Blu-ray...
Not all movies need to be seen in HD, but if there's one type of filmmaking that regularly benefits from the Blu-ray format, it's animation. Let us cite one example at random: My Neighbour Totoro. Until fairly recently, the only copy we had on the shelf was an early, imported version on DVD, which was grainy and a little washed-out.
When Studio Canal issued Totoro on Blu-ray in 2012, the difference in image quality was little short of a revelation: Hayao Miyazaki's colours and fluid lines positively shimmered. In short, it was like seeing this fresh, sun-drenched film again for the first time.
The same could be said for so many other animated films, no matter what country they come from: in high-definition, we can truly »
Prepare for the welcome return of Hiccup and his loyal steed Toothless in the sequel to 2010′s epic How To Train Your Dragon.
Returning to the now harmonious Viking dwelling of Berk five years after we left it in the original story, we now find human and dragon working together happily. Astrid and Hiccup’s peers now use their dragons for racing instead of game, while his father Stoick has his sights set on his son inheriting Berk’s leadership after him. Of course Hiccup has other plans, mainly spending his days exploring unchartered territory with his scaly friend.
The new acceptance of dragons as friend not foe allows Hiccup and Toothless to roam the lands freely, providing ample opportunity for the story to move to new lands and importantly, new dragons. Now minus a leg as the result of the last film’s show down, »
- Beth Webb
As part of the BFI’s Studio Ghibli Season, Simon Columb reviews Kiki’s Delivery Service…
A broom, a black cat and black gown; all that’s missing for Kiki is a pointy hat. Miyazaki’s fifth film (and third for Studio Ghibli) adapts a novel of the same name by Eiko Kadono, but still fits neatly into the Ghibli canon. A young-female protagonist, an anthropomorphic animal and lots of flying means that Kiki’s Delivery Service is Miyazaki in very comfortable territory.
Kiki has made a decision – today is the day she progresses into witch-hood. An important day to witch families, Kiki has to leave home and, on board a broom, fly to another village to start her own, independent life. Settling down in a Paris-sounding and San-Francisco-looking Japanese, beach-front town, Kiki makes her home. With the help of pregnant-baker Osono, artist Ursula and Where’s-Wally-lookalike Tombo, Kiki sets »
- Simon Columb
Totoro is the symbol of Studio Ghibli. The smiley, grey beast began life as part of a double-bill with Grave of the Fireflies because financiers didn’t believe My Neighbor Totoro alone would make money. By screening the cute and cuddly My Neighbor Totoro with the harrowing, deeply moving Grave of the Fireflies, the assumption was it was bound to succeed (despite the jarring tone of each tale). Following the release, the films were initially only mildly successful – critically acclaimed maybe, but not enough to financially secure the studio. What ensured the longevity and creative freedom of the studio was exceptionally successful merchandising from the characters created in My Neighbor Totoro (and, over time, the steadily-growing audience of each film).
The story itself is relatively simple. A father and his two daughters move to rural Japan, »
- Simon Columb
A Studio Ghibli season at the BFI has highlighted the very best of Japanese animation. We can define the cuddly Totoro or fantastical world of Princess Mononoke as what Studio Ghibli stands for – but Grave of the Fireflies proves otherwise. In fact, Isao Takahata’s 1988 film(released alongside My Neighbour Totoro) is a sobering, heart-breaking tale of those final years in Japan at the end of World War II, told through the eyes of two children, Seita and Setsuko. Grave of the Fireflies may be one of the most impressive, and surely ground-breaking, animations from the studio and challenges Disney – and western animators – to make such mature, intelligent and brutal films for a young audience.
Based on a novel by Akiyuki Nosaka, it is semi-autobiographical as he himself survived the fire-bombings of Japan while his sister died of malnutrition. »
- Simon Columb
Artist James Hance has created yet another incredibly adorable Star Wars themed illustration. This one mashes the classic sci-fi franchise with My Neighbor Totoro. It's called "King of the Forest," and it features several of our favorite Star Wars characters chilling around a giant Chewbacca. Hance is such a wonderful artist, and I Iove the fan art that he creates. I also included another one of his recent "Wookie the Chew" prints for you to check out below.
- Joey Paur
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