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With Hayao Miyazaki being the most recognized face of Studio Ghibli, and producer Toshio Suzuki the most currently active, there’s usually not a lot of room left in the spotlight for director Isao Takahata. One of Ghibli’s founding members, Takahata served as producer for the company’s first official release, Castle in the Sky, and his written and directed five films for Japan’s most respected animation house including the critically acclaimed Grave of the Fireflies.

Fans of Takahata’s work have learned to be patient, though, as his most recent film, 2013’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya, came 14 years after his previous feature, 1999’s largely forgotten My Neighbors the Yamadas. Foreign fans have had to wait even longer, but Princess Kaguya is almost ready to head overseas, as distributor GKids has announced a release date and put out a teaser trailer to whet North America’s appetite.

If there’s a single word that you can find in almost any review of a Ghibli movie, it’s “lush.” From the rolling verdant hills in the backgrounds to the cherubic round faces of the characters, their soft, organic look identifies their origin as clearly as the studio logo with Totoro that’s shown at the start of the film.

Princess Kaguya, though, breaks with decades of tradition with a look that’s different from not only other Ghibli features, but any major animated release in the history of anime.

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A reworking of Japanese folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, the film is centered on Kaguya, a celestial princess being raised on Earth by an elderly couple. Its broad lines and sketchbook-like visuals feel at once assertive yet lost, stiff and unmoving yet constantly trembling. In other words, they’re a perfect visual metaphor for the unstable emotions of an adolescent, an the combined effects of what we saw and what we felt while watching it in Japanese theatres moved us to tears.

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Takahata’s Kaguya Hime was originally scheduled for release on the same day as Miyazaki’s final film, The Wind Rises, much like how in 1988 the two directors’ Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies were shown as a double feature. Eventually, though, Ghibli made the decision to push Kaguya Hime back from July to November of 2013.

Finally, audiences in North America will get to see the film when distributor GKids releases it on October 17. As reported by our friends over at Anime News Network, for the English-dubbed version, Chloe Grace Mortez (Kick-Ass’ Hit-Girl) takes over the lead role, previously voiced by Aki Asakura. The new vocal cast also includes Lucy Liu, James Caan, James Marsden, and Beau Bridges, who also lent his voice to a character in the dubbed version of Ghibli’s From Up on Poppy Hill.

Be sure to catch this distinctly otherworldly Ghibli film when it arrives later this year!

Source: Anime News Network
Screenshots: Vimeo