The legendary Studio Ghibli may have closed its doors but there was no way that beloved style of animation was going away forever. Hayao Miyazaki is still out there doing what he loves most, while other former Ghibli veterans went off and launched Studio Ponoc. Whether Ponoc will go on to achieve the same level of acclaim is still too early to know, but their first movie, Mary and the Witch's Flower, looks like exactly what Ghibli fans have been missing.
At the helm is Hiromasa Yonebayashi who directed two of Ghibli's best latter works, The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There. The film is based on Mary Stewart's book, The Little Broomstick, and seems to have the joyful spirit and beautiful animation we've come to expect. Those familiar with the novel's story will be intrigued by its change into a modern fable in which Mary uses her courage rather than magic to overcome many dangers.
Ponoc was founded by Ghibli's Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura, with their plan for Mary and the Witch's Flower to move into the 21st century rather than focusing on nostalgia like Miyazaki often did. I'm all for that, as long as they don't forget what made those movies so great to begin with. Hopefully we'll get a chance to see this in U.S. theaters next year.