Hey everyone! This is Mokugyo, the manga-and-anime loving writer from MANGA.TOKYO! It has been very hot in Japan lately. I prefer hot weather over cold, so I love the summer! In such a hot season, the movie theater is one of the best places to cool ourselves!
In most schools in Japan, summer vacation starts from late July and ends in late August. Therefore, many new movies get released during the summer every year. Today, I would like to introduce you to one of the anime films which was released in July and has been gaining a lot of attention, Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Mary to Majo no Hana).
What is Mary and the Witch’s Flower?
Mary and the Witch’s Flower is an anime movie, released in Japanese theaters in July 2017. The movie’s director is Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who is well-known for directing The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There. One of the charms of Yonebayashi’s movies is their kind and gentle atmosphere. Although the drawings of Mary and the Witch’s Flower look similar to Studio Ghibli movies, the film is actually produced by Studio Ponoc. After the production department of Studio Ghibli broke up, Yoshiaki Nishimura, who was one of Ghibli’s producers, established Studio Ponoc. Mary and the Witch’s Flower, directed by Yonebayashi, is Studio Ponoc’s first feature-length anime film. The story is based on a children’s book written by the British novelist, Mary Stewart.
Protagonist Mary is an ordinary 11-year-old girl. In the forest, she finds a mysterious flower called ‘fly-by-night’, which a witch had secretly brought into the human world. Because of it, Mary gains magical powers for one day. Using a broom stick, she flies to Endor College, which is located in the country of witches. Mary is mistakenly believed to be a new student there, and thus enters the school. The movie illustrates Mary’s great adventure and how she matures into a young lady.
The Action Scenes Inherited from Studio Ghibli
The beautiful anime and its exciting action scenes will definitely remind viewers of Ghibli movies. Director Yonebayashi worked for Ghibli for many years, and he has the strong passion to use in his new movies all the anime techniques that he had cultivated at Ghibli.
For example, at the beginning of the movie, there is a scene in which the witch runs away. Thanks to the powerful animation and music, the scene makes the viewers want to know what will happen next.
I also like the scene in which Mary flies on the broom stick. The broom moves in unpredictable ways, and it made me feel that if a magical broom really existed, it might move in such way.
Also, the scenes in which Mary learns magic and the scenes in the beautiful college are all fascinating. I really loved how the students at Endor College were enjoying their club activities. There are even rock climbing classes and magic classes in which the students can learn how to disappear. How fun those classes would be!
The movie is produced by Studio Ponoc, but it includes many Ghibli-like aspects. Therefore, I’m sure every Ghibli fan would love the film! Although it has been announced recently that Hayao Miyazaki is to direct a new anime film, basically Studio Ghibli will not be making long animated films any more. Even under such situation, Yonebayashi established a new anime studio in order to pass on the techniques and tradition of Ghibli anime to new movies.
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