The first music-set footage for the latest film out of the blessed gates of Studio Ghibli, When Marnie Was There, has made its way online. These often premiere on Japanese television (hence the poor quality and abundance of overlays) but fans will gladly accept it until a legitimate web version arrives.
Based on the Joan G. Robinson novel of the same name, the plot synopsis is as follows:
Anna hasn't a friend in the world - until she meets Marnie among the sand dunes. But Marnie isn't all she seems...
An atmospheric ghost story with truths to tell about friendship, families and loneliness. Anna lives with foster parents, a misfit with no friends, always on the outside of things. Then she is sent to Norfolk to stay with old Mr and Mrs Pegg, where she runs wild on the sand dunes and around the water. There is a house, the Marsh House, which she feels she recognizes - and she soon meets a strange little girl called Marnie, who becomes Anna's first ever friend. Then one day, Marnie vanishes.
A new family, the Lindsays, move into the Marsh House. Having learnt so much from Marnie about friendship, Anna makes firm friends with the Lindsays - and learns some strange truths about Marnie, who was not all she seemed...
With that pitch in mind check out the music video preview (set to "Fine on the Outside" by Priscilla Ahn) for yourself:
This film looks to be like a real downer and for a "ghost story" feels just as somber as it should be eerie. Regardless, I love the traditional Ghibli visuals and feel it's most in line aesthetically with 2010/11's The Secret World of Arrietty. Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who directed Arrietty, helped adapt the novel and is back in the director's chair on this one. It seems he and Goro Miyazaki are both attempting to fill Hayao's vacated geta. Yonebayashi, who started as a clean-up artist on Princess Mononoke, has climbed the studio's ladder and it's exciting to see him take on such an important role.
When Marnie Was There is distributed by Toho in Japan and gets a theatrical release there later this month on July 19th. When will Ghibli fans in the United States see this? Well, a firm release date has yet to be announced for Ghibli's previous film, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, which is still expected to be get a limited engagement before the year is over. We can certainly expect to see When Marnie Was There in 2015 after Disney picks it up for distribution and puts a quality English dub on it.
How interested are you in When Marnie Was There and what do you think of this first "trailer"? Express your feeling on these or any other Ghibli matters in the comments below.