Justin’s Japan: Studio Ghibli’s Latest Comes to New York

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By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Visit his Examiner.com Japanese culture page here for related stories.

Released in conjunction with the New York International Children’s Film Festival March 15, From Up on Poppy Hill, the newest work from Studio Ghibli, is now playing at four locations in New York City.

Founded in 1985, the name Studio Ghibli (pronounced ji-blee) is based on the Arabic name for the sirocco, or Mediterranean wind, the idea being the studio would represent a new wind blowing through the industry. Today it is recognized as Japan’s most celebrated animation film studio thanks to the works of its co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, whose own Spirited Away is the highest-grossing film in Japanese history and the Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature in 2003. (A recent poll conducted in Japan revealed the nation’s favorite Ghibli film to be 1988’s My Neighbor Totoro, claiming 24.3 percent of the vote.)

Co-written by Miyazaki and directed by his son Goro, From Up on Poppy Hill is a period piece that takes place in Yokohama 50 years ago, focusing on an innocent romance that blossoms between Umi and Shun, two high school kids caught up in the changing times. Produced in North America by GKIDS, the English-language edition features the voice talents of stars like Gillian Anderson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ron Howard, and many more.

For showtimes and tickets for From Up on Poppy Hill, visit www.gkids.tv/poppyhill.