We already live in a world where Studio Ghibli‘s Hayao Miyazaki has decided to come out of retirement to direct a CG-animated film about a caterpillar (and there’s a documentary about it!); however, that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped being excited for the studio that sought to fill the presumed void left by Ghibli. Studio Ponoc was founded by former Ghibli producer Yoshiaki Nishimura and its first feature, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, is coming out soon, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (who directed Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There). The third trailer was recently released in Japanese, and even though we don’t speak the language, we’re blown away by the visuals.
It certainly looks like Studio Ponoc (whose name is a Croatian word which means “midnight,” but specifically in reference to the “beginning of a new day”) is pulling out all the stops with their debut feature. It certainly treads similar Studio Ghibli ground by focusing on a young witch making her way in the world, but there’s an energy and a pace that the much more lyrical Miyazaki and company films didn’t usually possess.
Of the directors at Studio Ghibli besides co-founders Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, Yonebayashi was clearly the standout, putting his own visual flare and stamp on the house style. He’s clearly taking what he learned under Miyazaki and making it his own with Mary, and we’re on tenterhooks waiting for our chance to see it. We’ll have to wait a bit, though; Mary and the Witch’s Flower is coming out in Japan on July 8, but probably won’t make its way to North America for a bit.
While we’re waiting, though, let’s look at another trailer! Because, damn this movie looks beautiful.
Let us know what you think the comments below!
Images: Studio Ponoc/Toho