Mary And The Witch’s Flower Trailer Captures The Spirit Of Studio Ghibli
Studio Ghibli fans, worry not. Despite the fact that the renowned animation studio closed down in 2014 and hasn’t released a new film in almost three years, the new trailer for Mary and the Witch’s Flower seems to capture the “spirit” (pun intended) of Ghibli films perfectly.
Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the first feature film from Studio Ponoc, a relatively new animation studio founded by longtime Ghibli employee Yoshiaki Nishimura. Nishimura produced Mary, with fellow ex-Ghibli member Hiromasa Yonebayashi serving as director and other former Ghibli employees helping to animate the film.
In Mary, a young girl (voiced by Hana Sugisaki) finds out that she has magical powers after being sent to her great aunt’s house—but those powers last for one night only. The film is based on English author Mary Stewart’s children’s book The Little Broomstick, remaining consistent with Studio Ghibli’s tendency to create films based on existing books, comics, or manga series (Howl’s Moving Castle, Tales from Earthsea, The Secret World of Arrietty, When Marnie Was There).
As Slate was quick to point out, the trailer reveals that Mary and the Witch’s Flower is similar to Studio Ghibli films in several other ways: it features a young female protagonist, takes place in a very lush-looking outdoor setting, and features scenes that take place high in the sky.
Keen Ghibli fans will likely be able to draw direct comparisons to Kiki’s Delivery Service which, like Mary, is about a young witch who flies around on a broomstick and likes to hang out with a black cat. But the parallels certainly weren’t accidental—as Crunchy Roll reports, Nishimura was able to convince Yonebayashi to work on Mary by pitching it as a “21st century edition of Kiki’s Delivery Service.”
According to The Telegraph, Nishimura also claims that Mary and the Witch’s Flower “is for children who are “moving into the 21st century” and that “what filmmakers should say at a time when people are losing hope—and what kind of film might help restore it in our children – are big themes for right now.”
The familiar themes of Mary and the Witch’s Flower shouldn’t alarm Ghibli fans—Studio Ghibli often explored the same issues and themes in several of their films, yet none ever felt repetitive or dull. Plus, based on the dreamy, mystical look of the beautifully drawn trailer and the strong track records of both Yonebayashi and Nishimura, it looks like we may be in for another animated masterpiece.