Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki retired in 2013 and Studio Ghibli announced last year a "restructuring" and "hiatus". It's still not quite clear what that all means, and it seems incredible to think that this could possibly mean the end of the world-renowned, much adored animation house. But if it is going to be a good while before a revived Ghibli present their next masterpiece, they are at least leaving us on a high note with Hiromasa Yonebayashi's When Marnie Was There.
The story involves a girl sent one summer from her foster home in the city one to a quiet town by the sea in Hokkaido. Feeling somewhat isolated as an outsider, she is pleased to encounter new new bestie Marnie, who lives in the spooky old Marsh House. But there are questions – their friendship has to remain a secret, and Marnie can't move far from the mansion...
Purists who prefer their Ghibli films in the original Japanese with subtitles will note that the latest trailer is the now-traditional all-star American dubbed version. The English language voices on this occasion come courtesy of Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Kathy Bates (About Schmidt), Ellen Burstyn (Requiem For A Dream), John C. Reilly (Guardians Of The Galaxy), Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men), Geena Davis (Stuart Little), Catherine O'Hara (Beetlejuice), Raini Rodriguez (Girl in Progress) and Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty).
Like Howl's Moving Castle (2004) and The Secret World Of Arrietty (2010), When Marnie Was There is based on a western source. In this case the 1967 novel by Joan G. Robinson. The film is out in the US on 22 May, but has yet to receive a UK release date.