22 January 2018 | firebolt2-915-144553
Animation meets Ghibli-level expectations, story.. not so much.
Studio Ponoc, heir apparent to Studio Ghibli, makes a decent start with Mary & the Witch's Flower.
Animation is lush and gorgeous to look at, and is very reminiscent of the work we're used to from Studio Ghibli - and as anyone who's familiar with Ghibli's work can tell you, that is a pretty high bar to meet. I saw the English dubbed version, and the voice acting was excellent as well - especially Ruby Barnhill as Mary. Background score was quite good too.
Story, however, was a bit disappointing. Not saying that it was bad, it just felt a bit devoid of heart and there were quite a few plot holes which were hard to overlook. Character motivations were hard to explain, and the wizarding world Mary stumbles into feels empty, though it is supposed to be a thriving world. Then again, I complain because I was expecting something of Ghibli standards.
It was a fun movie to experience, and I'm glad Studio Ponoc exists - not only because I expect bigger and better things from them in the future, but also because something as beautiful as the tradition of Ghibli animated movies needs be kept alive.