Hot damn will you look at the typography on that poster
If you’re clued into the anime-o-sphere you probably noticed that Studio Ghibli went through a bit of a rough patch last year. Their future is still up in the air, but the upshot is that they currently aren’t producing any films. There had been rumblings for a while of financial trouble- they were pretty much the last studio to retain a full salaried staff working exclusively in Japan, both of which are incredibly expensive- but the news still came as a shock to many. Studio founders Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki had both just retired. People were looking forward to Ghibli’s future, a future that seemed to include younger upstarts like Hiromasa Yonebeyashi, who directed Arrietty a few years earlier.
Then the plug was pulled, putting Yonebeyashi (who has since left the studio alongside the other Ghibli animation staff) in the unenviable position of having possibly directed Ghibli’s last movie. That would be a difficult reputation for any movie to shoulder, but it’s especially unfortunate for one that’s as quiet, unambitious and unexpected as When Marnie Was There is.