Long Standing Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli is at the heart of the anime world, much loved by people of all ages. A true global treasure, whose animated masterpieces will continue well into the hearts of future generations. Even if you’re not a dedicated anime fan, you’ll like be aware of the Studio Ghibli name, you might even be aware of some of their more known animated features.
After the great Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement, several of his disciples banded together to make a studio of their very own: Studio Ponoc. This is a brand new studio to add to your catalogue of curiously crafted animated memories, as they’re sure to carry on making anime magic. Studio Ponoc is the baby of Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura (previously of Studio Ghibli). They’ve finished their debut animated feature Mary And The Witch’s Flower and are ready to present it to the world for us to see and make our judgement. Based on the 1971 novel ‘The Little Broomstick’, Mary And The Witch’s Flower brings this beloved novel to life.
I recently had the opportunity to see Mary And The Witch’s Flower at one of BFI’s cosey 36-seated screening rooms at their Stephen Street venue. There was great anticipation in the room as the projector began to roll, or in the digital world when the projectionist pressed play.
The story begins with Mary settling into the home of her great-aunt, where she will be staying for a short while during the summer months, whilst she awaits the school term to commence. Her adventures begin when she meets cats Tib and Fib, feline friends of local boy Peter. Led through the woods she comes across a rare, beautiful flower which grows but once every seven years. This one small blooming treasure brings one big adventure. This small, fascinating flower is known as the Witch’s Flower and Mary soon discovers it enables the holder to temporarily yield magic. Led by a little broomstick, Mary’s flight-full adventure awaits as she is whisked away to a magical school known as Endor College – very Harry Potter for all you HP fans out there! Mary proves to be a natural with magic, but her magic is only temporary and the truth about the source of her magic unravels and dangers await. And so, Mary’s adventures begin.
Mary And The Witch’s Flower has beautifully crafted animation and a simple, yet sweet storyline to help complete the package. I wasn’t quite sold with the English-language dubbing. Admittedly you do wonder when a film is dubbed, what exactly gets lost in translation?
There is a nostalgic feel with the animation style, as you would expect from talents who previously worked alongside Miyazaki and it is sweet enough to tickle those taste buds and wonder what’s next.
As part of Discover Tuesdays, we are screening an advance screening of Mary And The Witch’s Flower on Tuesday 10 April. You’ll be able to experience in English subtitles with the beautiful Japanese language. The official release date is Friday 4 May – see it weeks before its release!
Hop House 13 is proud to present Discover Tuesdays.