Studio Ghibli’s latest film may very well be its last. When Marnie Was There is about to be released in Japan this Friday July 19th and after that the studio doesn’t seem to have anything slated for the future in terms of feature animated films. But before we begin to dissect what may be the end of days, let’s talk about the film.
Directed and written by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the film is based on a novel written by Joan G. Robinson which tells Anna’s story as a lonely orphan who befriends Marnie when she goes to live with her new foster family in Norfolk. They quickly become friends, and then suddenly, Marnie disappears.
And yet, the studio does not have plans for future animated features. The question arises as to who will head the studio and two names come up: Goro Miyazaki and Hiromasa Yonobayashi. Unfortunately not too many people have faith in Goro Miyazaki as his first film Tales From Earthsea was simply underwhelming. But people seem to forget the fact that Goro Miyazaki redeemed himself with From Up on Poppy Hill. As for Hiromasa Yonebayashi, his first film The Secret World of Arrietty also received mixed reviews leaning on the positive side, but this latest film will be able to tell us more on his talents.
While no official confirmations or denials have been made in regards to the future of the studio, it is perplexing as to how the studio could survive in the first place, when there doesn’t seem to be anyone waiting in the sidelines to take hold of the torch. While Miyazaki and Takahata have been incredible forces within the studio, one has to be left wondering if they prepared the younger animators enough for them to carry on with such a heavy legacy.
Obviously, only time will tell, but we will wait to hear the reviews on When Marnie Was There as they may be more telling on what the future of the studio will be. No word on American distribution for this film yet, however, we can look forward to the fall when GKIDS will be distributing Isao Takahata’s final film The Tale of Princess Kaguya.(via Don of Geek)