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He may be the world’s greatest living director.  Hayao Miyazaki, master storyteller and moviemaker, retired but rumored to be coming back for another film, and animator extraordinaire.  He is one of Japan’s national treasures and international film icon.  His catalog of works have garnered literally hundreds of awards and nominations.  Miyazaki’s only film to receive an Oscar, 2001’s Spirited Away, is returning to theaters next month to celebrate the 15th anniversary of its release.

Spirited Away is on many critics’ lists as one of the top five films of the century thus far, and it is Japan’s highest grossing film.  It’s the story of a brave young girl who enters a spirit world to rescue her parents and herself.  It is an incredible fantasy, with dark undertones about real-world concerns including human greed, borrowing bits and pieces from classic children’s stories Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and Pinocchio.  It offers spectacular characters and is a story of great courage.

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We have yet to be disappointed with any anime production from Miyazaki and the house of Studio Ghibli.  Whether it’s My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989), Whisper of the Heart (1995), Princess Mononoke (1997), Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), Ponyo (2008), From Up on Poppy Hill (2011), or The Wind Rises (2013), you know you’re getting sumptuous visuals and a compelling story.

Check out the Fathom Events website for theater availability and listings.  Spirited Away will be screened in the English dubbed version (see ticket listings here) on December 4, 2016, and in the English subtitled version (see ticket listings here) on December 5, 2016.  The English dubbed version includes voices of some well-known American actors, including David Ogden Stiers, Suzanne Pleshette, John Ratzenberger, Lauren Holly, and Michael Chiklis.

The film Miyazaki is coming out of retirement for?  Boro the Caterpillar.  Many close to Miyazaki are hoping for it to be completed by 2019–just in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

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