If it looks Ghibli, and feels like Ghibli, it is, most likely , a Ghibli.
Well, it is not a Ghibli. It is made by Studio Ponoc. But, but, it does look Ghibli-ish, doesn’t it ? Yes, it does, but it’s not surprising because Studio Ponoc , from the producer, director and illustrators are former Ghibli people.
Mary and the Witch’s Flower was created by a former Ghibli producer, Yoshiaki Nishimura, and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. ( Yonebayashi was an Oscar nominee for his work When Marnie Was There as Best Animated Feature in 2015 )Before this, they produced and directed The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There , both under Ghibli Animation. Mary and the Witch’s Flower is this new company’s debut film, which they made to carry on the legacy of Ghibli after its founder Hayao Miyazaki had announced his retirement ( for the nth time ).
Mary and the Witch’s Flower ( Meari to Majo Hana ) is based on a novel , The Little Broomstick , by an English children’s author, Mary Stewart.
The story’s about a young girl, Mary Smith , who moves in at her Grand Aunt Charlotte’s estate , ahead of her parents. She’s a normal kid who has a low self-esteem due to her frizzy red hair which she hates, and who feels she cannot do anything right. She tries to help with house chores but messes it up, instead. While playing in the woods , she comes across a flower called ” fly by night ” and which she later finds out only blooms once every seven years. A black cat with a bud of the flower in its mouth leads her to a broomstick, throws the bud at her, which in turn releases a magical power that enables Mary to ride it like a flying witch. The broom flies her to a magic school, located high up in the clouds ,…. and that is where Mary’s fantastic adventure begins.
What can I say ? I love it ! ! ! The animation is flawless, it’s gorgeous, and a delight to watch. I prefer to watch animes in Japanese , but I make an exception here. The atmosphere is very British, so it feels weird to watch the characters speaking Japanese. ( I watched it in Japanese for a few minutes ) The characters’ speaking voices have well- enunciated British accent ,and it’s fun to hear the name Peter ( Mary’s friend ) pronounced as Peetahhhh ! ! Very crispy.
I’m giving this a 10/10 rating.