yoshiaki nishimura interview

An underwater fantasy epic. A slice-of-life drama about a kid suffering from an egg allergy. An invisible man who becomes an unlikely hero. All three of these stories are segments from Studio Ponoc‘s Modest Heroes, an anthology film following up the animation studio’s highly anticipated inaugural feature film, Mary and the Witch’s Flower.

Modest Heroes comes to the U.S. (in theaters January 10 and January 12) amidst a sea of buzz, much like last year’s Mary and the Witch’s Flower, an enchanting and serene fantasy adventure directed by the director of The Secret World of Arrietty. Why so much buzz around a rookie animation studio? Because it’s made up of chiefly Studio Ghibli alumni.

It’s no surprise that Studio Ponoc is being informally positioned as the successor to Studio Ghibli in the wake of legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki‘s retirement (and subsequent return). The fledgling studio was founded by Yoshiaki Nishimura, the Oscar-nominated producer behind Isao Takahata’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya, and is staffed by the 150 Ghibli employees who were left without a workplace after Ghibli’s film division shuttered in 2014. But though many rising companies would shrink at the prospect of being compared to one of the greatest animation studios to ever exist, Nishimura is embracing it.

“At Studio Ponoc it was really our intention to carry on the Ghibli spirit,” Nishimura told /Film in an interview via translator. “That was our biggest personal challenge to meet that high bar.”

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nausicaa of the valley of the wind play

Hayao Miyazaki early on established himself as a master of his craft with his second feature and the inaugural Studio Ghibli film, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. But while the 1984 anime classic helped establish the world-renowned animation studio, no one has dared to touch Miyazaki’s creation — until now.

Nausicaa of the Valley Wind play is now in the works with playwright and director G2, the figure behind the Resident Evil musical, adapting the Miyazaki masterpiece into a kabuki production. Yes, you read that right, kabuki.

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my neighbor totoro returns to theaters

The Catbus is taking us on a jaunt back in time for My Neighbor Totoro‘s 30th anniversary. My Neighbor Totoro returns to theaters for three days only in celebration of the Studio Ghibli classic, which introduced many Western audiences to animation master Hayao Miyazaki.

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hayao miyazaki prints

There’s nothing as magical as watching a Hayao Miyazaki film, and letting it transport you to a fantastical world where dragons soar and castles walk. But a Hayao Miyazaki print done in the style of Japanese woodblock prints may just come close.

For a limited time, Japanese woodblock-style prints of Studio Ghibli movies directed by the legendary anime filmmaker are available to purchase. But better snatch them up quick, because like a certain antique grandfather clock in Whisper of the Heart, at the stroke of midnight, they may disappear.

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studio ghibli theme park concept art

Come 2022, you can be spirited away to the world of Studio Ghibli. An upcoming theme park will bring to life the vibrant and surreal worlds that were first introduced to us in the animated movies by Hayao MiyazakiIsao Takahata, and other illustrious anime directors.

The theme park’s opening is still several years in the future (they’re probably trying to figure out how to make a real-life Catbus as we speak), but for now, we can get a first look at some absolutely magical Studio Ghibli theme park concept art.

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10 Gateway Anime Movies For Studio Ghibli Fans

gateway anime movies

(Welcome to Let’s Get Animated!, a column that spotlights the best of film animation. In this edition: the best anime movies to watch if you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli movies.)

It felt like a big, gaping hole was left in the animation industry when Studio Ghibli temporarily shuttered its doors in 2014. The game-changing studio’s co-founder and the greatest animation director of this generation, Hayao Miyazaki, had just retired (again). And with that, Disney was back to dominating the animation market, with quality alternatives few and far between.

For years, Studio Ghibli was an animation titan that not only offered a refreshing foil to Hollywood’s frenetic, action-packed animated movies, but was a genre unto itself. Fans of the works of Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, Hiroyuki Morita, Gor? Miyazaki, and Hiromasa Yonebayashi didn’t have to say they liked anime — they liked Ghibli. Which is a shame, because Japan’s anime industry has so much more to offer.

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hayao miyazaki kingdom of dreams and madness

No matter how many times he has announced it, Hayao Miyazaki will never retire. And we can only be grateful that a genius like him will keep blessing the world with his works.

Miyazaki announced (for the umpteenth time) that he would retire from the grueling world of animation that he revolutionized with films like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away in 2013, after the release of his World War II epic The Wind Rises. But a comeback was inevitable — a few years later it was revealed that Miyazaki was secretly working on a short film called Boro The Caterpillar. Unsatisfied with the final product however, Miyazaki is expanding the short into a feature length film. His un-retirement became official today when Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki’s professional home for 30 years, reopened its production department to work on Miyazaki’s feature film.

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studio ghibli theme park

Japanese theme parks have been in the news a lot as of late. We recently reported on the news of Super Nintendo World coming to Universal Studios Japan (Forget about playing Mario Kart – soon you will be able to live the game Mario Kart). We also recently reported on a new attraction called Nemo & Friends SeaRider, developed by Pixar exclusively for Tokyo DisneySea.

In the midst of all this, it was announced that a Studio Ghibli theme park is coming to Japan just in time for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Ghibli, of course, is the animation powerhouse behind such films as Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. It has often been likened to Disney, with IMDb even listing “the Japanese Walt Disney” as an official nickname for the studio’s co-founder, Hayao Miyazaki.

Yet the Ghibli park promises to be a very different kind of experience, informed by the environmental sensibilities of Miyazaki’s films. A theme park that values immersion and harmony with nature over thrills has deep roots in the filmmaker’s thematic concerns.

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never ending man hayao miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki is one of the best living filmmakers in the world, in and outside of animation. So it was a loss for us all when he announced he would retire in 2013 — and a perplexing but exciting gain for us when he nixed that retirement and stated that he was coming back to direct a feature-length CGI animated film.

And because we got a lovely, melancholy documentary following the end of the last phase of his career — if you haven’t seen 2013’s The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness by Mami Sunada, do so now — we’re getting yet another documentary on Miyazaki titled Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki, which follows his newfound passion for CGI animation and the making of the film bringing him out of retirement, Boro the Caterpillar.

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Ghiblies Episode 2 clip

In celebration of its 15th anniversary, Spirited Away is headed back into theaters for a very limited run next month. And while you’re probably familiar with that Studio Ghibli classic already, it’ll be bringing with it something you’ve probably never seen before. Playing after Spirited Away will be Ghiblies: Episode 2, a Studio Ghibli short film that’s never been released in North America.

Head below to check out a Ghiblies: Episode 2 clip, and get all details on its U.S. theatrical release with Spirited AwayRead More »