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GKids Adds Ghibli's When Marnie Was There

posted on by Karen Ressler
English language version slated for this spring

Entertainment news source Deadline reported on Wednesday that GKIDS has acquired Studio Ghibli's When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Marnie) and will release an English language version this spring.

Geoffery Wexler (English dub producer on From Up On Poppy Hill) revealed in August that he is the English dub and subtitle producer from When Marnie Was There.

GKIDS handles North American theatrical and home video distribution for many other Studio Ghibli films, most recently The Tale of Princess Kaguya.

When Marnie Was There adapts Joan G. Robinson's classic English children's novel of the same name. In his second film, director Hiromasa Yonebayashi (2010's The Secret World of Arrietty) has shifted the setting from the novel's Great Britain to a Japanese village on the shores of Hokkaido. The screenplay was written by Yonebayashi with Keiko Niwa (Secret World of Arrietty) and Masashi Ando (A Letter to Momo, Spirited Away and Paprika), who also handled the character designs and animation direction. The film's soundtrack was composed by Takatsugu Muramatsu.

The cast includes 16-year-old actress Sara Takatsuki (Black President, Otomen, GTO, Daily Lives of High School Boys, Haganai) as Anna and 21-year-old actress Kasumi Arimura (Amachan, Hagane no Onna, Clover, Judge) as Marnie. As a result this is the first Studio Ghibli title with dual lead heroines and the film is the first animated feature that Sara and Kasumi have acted in.

About 300 candidates auditioned for the roles of the heroines at the end of 2013. The film opened in Japan on the 19th of July. Disney happened to have just released Frozen, its first animated feature with dual lead heroines (one of which was named Anna). Marnie producer Yoshiaki Nishimura said there was a time in film history where "the flawless hero saves the woman," followed by a time for films where "the woman supports the troubled hero." Now, he said, 2014 is the time when "the man doesn't have to save the woman."

American musical artist Priscilla Ahn contributed "Fine on the Outside," a song she wrote when she was in high school, as the film's theme song. It is Ghibli's first theme song entirely in English. (Only Yesterday used a Japanese version of "The Rose," while Whisper of the Heart used both the original English version of "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and a Japanese translation.) The film is also Ghibli's first anime feature after Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki retired.

The film opened in Japan in July.

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