In 2014, fans of Japanese animation shed a collective tear when Studio Ghibli announced it would no longer produce films. Led by Hayao Miyazaki, the legendary film studio which produced iconic movies like My Neighbor TotoroSpirited Away, and Kiki’s Delivery Service officially entered a new phase when Miyazaki announced his retirement and surprised the world. Today, we’re looking at the next phase of heartwarming animation from Japan, Mary and the Witch’s Flower.
Mary and the Witch's Flower movie poster

The End of One Day and the Start of Another

In 2015, Studio Ghibli alumni including producer Yoshiaki Nishimura and director Hiromasa Yonebayashi came together and keep the spirit alive. Soon enough, Studio Ponoc (Ponoc is a Serbo-Croatian word for “midnight,” signifying the start of a new day) would take the helm. With a promise to continue crafting powerful, magical stories, Ponoc is here to ensure that there wouldn’t be a serious void in Japanese animation.

New Name, Same Magic

Although Mary and the Witch’s Flower is Studio Ponoc’s first official release, they are no strangers to breathtaking animation and heartwarming storylines. All of these elements culminate to bring a dazzling new adventure about a young girl named Mary.

From Ordinary to Extraordinary

Mary’s adventure begins when she discovers a flower that grants magical powers, but only for one night. With seemingly no adventures or friends in sight, Mary meets a black cat named Tib. Tib needs help rescuing his girlfriend from a witch’s spell and enlists Mary to help. She follows the mysterious cat into the nearby forest where she discovers an old broomstick and the strange Fly-by-Night flower.

A Rollicking Adventure Awaits

After uncovering the rare plant, Mary is astonished to see the broomstick jump into action. Mary and Tib are whisked off to the magical College of Endor, run by headmistress Madam Mumblechook and the brilliant Doctor Dee. But there are terrible things happening at the school and Mary uncovers evidence of a terrible experiment. When Mary tells a lie, she must risk her life to set things right. The story is based on Mary Stewart’s 1971 classic children’s book The Little Broomstick.

You Be the Judge

Mary and the Witch’s Flower is an action-packed film with jaw-dropping imagery, skillfully crafted characters, and the stirring, heartfelt story of a young girl trying to find her place in the world. Mary and the Witch’s Flower is in theaters now. I suggest that you not miss out on this rare gem of animation. Can’t get enough of Studio Ghibli? Stop by your local Bookmans and find more of their wonderful movies to expand your animation horizons!