Anime fans will rejoice at the return of Studio Ghibli alumni Hiromasa Yonebashi to the big screen. He follows the critically acclaimed When Marnie Was There with a fantasy based on the British children’s book about a young girl transported to a school for witches when she picks a magic flower.
The setting has a Rowling-esque quality, but the story goes in a very different direction, far lighter and more self contained. The animation is spectacular, and the story simple enough that the whole experience becomes a glorious blur of colour. The English dubbed version has some big names in Kate Winslet and Jim Broadbent as the school’s shifty teaching staff, adding weight and character to the visuals.
While not as multi-layered as the sublime output of Studio Ghibli proper, Mary and The Witch’s Flower is vibrant and thoroughly entertaining, one for kids and parents alike.