Marvel at the Trailer for ‘Only Yesterday,’ Studio Ghibli’s Forgotten Masterpiece

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To American audiences, Studio Ghibli must be the biggest name in overseas animation, having brought domestic cineplexes such visually sumptuous, emotionally affecting films as The Wind RisesHowl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away to our fair shores. (That last one earned team Ghibli the Oscar for Best Animated Feature back in 2003, a first for the studio.) Those three films all happen to have been created by now-retired Ghibli head Hayao Miyazaki, but as the mind behind The Tale of the Princess KaguyaPom Poko, and Grave of the Fireflies, animator Isao Takahata has been just as crucial to the studio’s stellar track record.

Takahata was the brain behind another Ghibli picture by the title of Only Yesterday, informally understood to be the studio’s forgotten masterpiece. The 1991 film played like gangbusters in its native Japan, but with Ghibli’s relatively minor stature in America at the time, combined with the absence of fantastical elements that characterized many of the other Ghibli releases, it never received a U.S. release, or even a home-video format for domestic markets. Ghibli completists have long obsessed over this hard-to-find gem, but at long last, the film is preparing to make the long voyage across the Pacific.

A new trailer has surfaced for the long-awaited American dub of Only Yesterday, due in American cinemas on February 26, 2016. Ascendant star Daisy Ridley steps in to voice our heroine Taeko, a self-possessed woman who spends the film figuring out who she is, what she wants, and how she can reconcile that with Japanese society’s demands of her. Dev Patel (Chappie) will also contribute vocal work in the role of Toshio, a young man who Taeko has sort of known her whole life, and yet never really known at all. The new trailer shows off Takahata’s gentle, faded animation style and Katz Hoshi’s lovely score. This one might be a difficult sell for the kids, but animation obsessives would do well to mark their calendars.

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