Even though Hayao Miyazaki is no longer retired, Studio Ghibli is in a transition period. The venerable studio went on a hiatus in 2014. The following year, producer Yoshiaki Nishimura and other Ghibli members started their own company, Studio Ponoc. Mary and the Witch's Flower is the first movie from Ponoc. Adapted from The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart, the film is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arrietty, When Marnie Was There).
A second trailer for the movie was recently released. You can watch it below:
From this trailer, Mary and the Witch's Flower looks sort of like a blend of Kiki's Delivery Service and Spirited Away. I wonder how much this movie can differentiate itself from its obvious Studio Ghibli forebears. Similarly, I wonder what will define the Studio Ponoc aesthetic sensibility. That may take a few more movies to figure out, obviously.
Here's the first trailer for Mary and the Witch's Flower, in case you were interested:
Mary and the Witch's Flower will open in Japan in July. There are no plans for a US release at the moment, though given the ties to Studio Ghibli, some sort of stateside release seems likely. The Playlist suggests it may hit some US film festivals later in the year, so we'll keep an eye open for that.
Let us know what you think about this Studio Ponoc debut in the comments.