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Animation fans may have been discouraged when Studio Ghibli founder and filmmaking great Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement following last year’s debut of his final feature-length The Wind Rises, but the upcoming When Marnie Was There looks set to inspire those pangs of sadness and wonder you’ve come to associate with the studio’s productions.

When Marnie Was There is the second directorial venture by Hiromasa Yonebayashi following his 2010 Ghibli release The Secret World of Arrietty and while the trailer doesn’t yet sport subtitles or dubbing, the premise is clear enough.

Like his last film, Yonebayashi has based the narrative on an old British children’s novel. This time, the story focuses on an unwell girl named Anna who meets Marnie while being treated at a seaside town.

According to an anonymous Studio Ghibli insider, When Marnie Was There could be the last film released by the studio before it shuts production and shifts to purely managing its copyrights.

This change would most likely be due to the increasing difficulty of maintaining high quality animated movies produced entirely within Japan that yield profitably on a global scale.

This doesn’t mean that Marnie will be the last we’ll hear from Ghibli, though. The company is set to make the venture into television with upcoming series The Robber’s Daughter.

A global release date for Marnie hasn’t yet been announced but based on the interim of Studio Ghibli’s recent film releases between the Japanese premiere and localisation, fans will probably have to wait until 2015 to see an English version.

Finn Houlihan


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