GKIDS Films has released the first two and a half minutes of Mary and the Witch’s Flower ahead of the film’s U.S. release on Jan. 19, and the clip is every bit as enchanting as we could hope for. The animated feature is the first from Studio Ponoc, the company founded by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura, two veterans of Japan’s esteemed animation giant, Studio Ghibli. The film’s opening scene sees a witch pulling off the heist of enchanted flower seeds—only to drop them during her getaway, with magical results.
When the first trailer for Mary and the Witch’s Flower was released almost a year ago, I noted a number of similarities between the new film and the usual Ghibli fare, including a female protagonist, a reverence for nature, plenty of red hair, and a preoccupation with heights. We can now add “big-eyed, fantastic creatures” to that list; the witch’s amorphous minions, who seem to be made entirely of water, are every bit as intriguing as Spirited Away’s soot sprites or Princess Mononoke’s tree spirits.
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