Happy Anniversary, Takahata’s Only Yesterday

Despite his influence, it’s unfortunately not as easy as it should be for Americans to get ahold of Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata’s films.

But North American indie distributor GKIDS is beginning to address this disparity by at last importing Takahata’s 1991 animated drama Only Yesterday, which (believe it or not) is the only Studio Ghibli film never to have received a North American release. GKIDS and Ghibli are planning a theatrical bow in 2016, which marks Only Yesterday’s 25th anniversary.

“With this 25th anniversary release, a broad new audience will now be able to discover what passionate supporters have known for years,” said GKIDS senior vice president of distribution, David Jesteadt, about the deal, which encompasses all North American theatrical, non-theatrical, home video, and television rights. “Only Yesterday is a groundbreaking classic, and further demonstration of Isao Takahata’s incredible legacy as a filmmaker.”

While Only Yesterday may not be as well-known as Takahata’s masterpieces like Grave of the Fireflies and his most recent release, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, its realistic story about a Tokyo worker’s revelatory journey through the rural countryside still covers familiar territory. Led by women and empowered by the natural world, Studio Ghibli’s Only Yesterday reissue arrives stateside with an English voiceover cast in tow, including Star Wars stars Daisy Ridley and Ashley Eckstein, as well as Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel and Orange is the New Black’s Alison Fernandez.

But the best news is that importing Takahata’s film will fill in America’s memory gaps regarding the director, whose Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki has become a global legend. From the appearance on Netflix of the wistful documentary Kingdom of Dreams and Madness and Amazon Prime’s offering of the charming but tragic The Great Adventure of Horus, Prince of the Sun (where it has been retitled Little Norse Prince Valiant) to GKIDS’ latest international outreach, it’s thankfully becoming easier to brush up on Takahata as Studio Ghibli enters a new chapter.

This article appeared at Cartoon Brew

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