GKIDS and Fathom Events Return with a New Studio Ghibli Series Lineup of Animated Masterpieces in U.S. Cinemas Throughout 2019

After kicking off in 2017 and returning for an even more successful 2018, STUDIO GHIBLI FEST is back for 2019. GKIDS, the distributor of multiple Academy Award®-nominated animated features, and Fathom Events are proud to continue their collaboration and deliver a new and expanded selection of celebrated animated films to U.S. cinemas throughout the year with STUDIO GHIBLI FEST 2019.

Featuring nine of Studio Ghibli’s masterpieces, the series kicks off with the 15th anniversary of the Academy Award®- nominated fantasy adventure Howl’s Moving Castle, and continues with the 35th anniversary of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Whisper of the Heart, the 30th anniversary of Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, The Secret World of Arrietty, the Academy Award®- winning Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and concludes with the Academy Award®- nominated The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.

Tickets for STUDIO GHIBLI FEST 2019 can be purchased online beginning Thursday, March 7, 2019 by visiting www.FathomEvents.com, www.ghiblifest.com, or at participating theater box offices. A complete list of theater locations will be available on the Fathom Events website March 7, 2019 (theaters and participants are subject to change). Weekday showings begin at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday showings begin at 12:55 p.m. (all local times).

Tickets for Studio Ghibli Fest 2019 in Canada go on-sale on March 7, 2019. Visit our partners at www.Cineplex.com for more information.

“After two extraordinary years of STUDIO GHIBLI FESTs, we couldn’t be more pleased to partner with GKIDS once again,” Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt said. “The 2019 anime series gives fans across the nation a unique opportunity to experience these renowned titles together at their local cinemas and we’re proud to be able to make these communal viewings possible.”

“GKIDS is extremely proud to be bringing the beloved Studio Ghibli films back to the big screen with Fathom Events, so fans can discover and rejoice in these wonderful, iconic animated works throughout 2019!” GKIDS Co-Founder and President Eric Beckman said.

STUDIO GHIBLI FEST 2019 SCHEDULE:

  • Howl’s Moving Castle: 15th Anniversary – Sunday, April 7; Monday, April 8; and Wednesday, April 10, 2019
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind: 35th Anniversary – Monday, May 20; Tuesday, May 21, 2019
  • Whisper of the Heart – Monday, July 1 and Tuesday, July 2, 2019
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service: 30th Anniversary – Sunday, July 28; Monday, July 29; and Wednesday, July 31, 2019
  • My Neighbor Totoro – Sunday, August 25; Monday, August 26; and Wednesday, August 28, 2019
  • The Secret World of Arrietty – Sunday, September 29 and Monday, September 30, 2019
  • Spirited Away – Sunday, October 27; Monday, October 28; and Wednesday, October 30, 2019
  • Princess Mononoke – Sunday, November 17; Monday, November 18; and Wednesday, November 20, 2019
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya – Monday, December 16 and Wednesday, December 18, 2019

List: My Favorite Anime Cats

This time, I’m trying my hand at another list article, this time on my favorite anime cats. Rather than being a top 5 list, however, I am presenting my choices in alphabetical order.

Chi from Chi’s Sweet Home

My first exposure to Chi came from reading the Chi’s Sweet Home manga. I loved following the stories of this curious young kitten in print, but I wondered what it would be like to see Chi in an animated form. I was thrilled when I discovered I could get a hold of the North American releases for the Chi’s Sweet Home anime through my local library system.

Seeing Chi moving around in an animated form made me like Chi even more. Let’s admit it, Chi looks really cute. And for the anime, the director chose the perfect voice actor to portray Chi, because the cuteness level of the voice matches the character’s adorable look.

Chi is one of my favorite anime cats thanks to being so cute, adorable, and lovable. If Chi was a real cat, she’s one I would love to just hold and cuddle all day long.

Jiji from Kiki’s Delivery Service

Jiji is the familiar for Kiki, a young witch in training. But he’s not just an ordinary cat, he’s a talking cat. Early on in the film, Jiji seems to fill in for the role of a guardian, since Kiki leaves home and doesn’t have her parents around. He serves as the voice of caution and reason, although he can be a little over-the-top at times. But Jiji always has Kiki’s best interests at heart.

Jiji is also there to help Kiki out when she needs it. When she loses a black cat toy that she was supposed to deliver, Jiji fills in for the stuffed toy until Kiki can locate it. Yes, he agrees to do it grudgingly, but he still does it. How many cats would be willing to go that far for their owner?

I like Jiji because even though he can be snarky, he still cares about Kiki and wants to do what he can to help her succeed in her training.

Karin from Dragon Ball

Karin is a wise old cat who is over 800 years old and lives on top of a giant tower. He’s also a martial arts master. We first meet Karin in Dragon Ball, when Goku climbs up Karin Tower in order to drink the “Sacred Water” that is supposed to increase his strength and speed. Goku hears about Karin before heading up the tower, but has no idea that Karin is actually a cat. Over the course of the Dragon Ball franchise, just about anyone who encounters Karin are surprised to discover that he’s actually a cat.

Karin is a martial arts master, but he’s also got a bit of a tricky and sarcastic streak in him. But considering that Karin later winds up having Yajirobe hanging around him at the top of the tower, that sarcastic streak certainly comes in handy! But even though Karin can be sarcastic, he still does genuinely care about the other characters.

I like Karin because he can teach others how to effectively use martial arts, and be snarky yet caring.

Luna from Sailor Moon

Luna is another black talking cat, but unlike Jiji, she’s from the Moon Kingdom and serves as an adviser to Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon. While their bond is an uneasy one at first, both Usagi and Luna grow closer over time. Luna tends to give unsolicited advice, which annoyed Usagi early on. But as time goes on, Usagi seems to start to realize that Luna is trying to help, rather than annoy her, with the advice.

Like the other talking cats that appear on this list, Luna will sometimes get some witty lines… with some of those lines being slightly snarky observations of Usagi. I don’t think Luna intends to be mean when she says these things, though. I think she says them more out of frustration than anything else.

But Luna is cool for more than just being able to talk. She can also use a computer when she provides aid and knowledge for Sailor Moon and the other Sailor Guardians. I guess the fact that Luna comes from the moon makes her more technologically advanced than regular cats.

Even though Sailor Moon also features two other cats, Artemis and Diana, I think that Luna is the best one of the three. To be honest, it’s always felt like that Artemis and Diana were never as well developed of characters as Luna was.

Yoruichi from Bleach

Yoruichi has a major difference from the other cats on the list. Yoruichi is actually a female human who has the ability to transform into a small black cat. In her black cat form, Yoruichi has a distinctive male voice when she speaks. Yoruichi appears to prefer spending her time as cat rather than as a human. She loves her cat form so much that she will become upset if someone damages it or insults it.

Regardless of what form Yoruichi is in, she is witty and has a vast knowledge of Soul Society. Her knowledge comes in handy, especially early on in the series when she’s helping to train Ichigo Kurosaki. But she also likes to tease people if she can.

No matter what form Yoruichi is in, she can be rather badass, which is why I wanted to include her cat form in this list. I have to admit that I wanted to limit this list to include only one human who can transform into a cat, so I had to make a choice between Yoruichi and Kyo from Fruits Basket. While I like Kyo, I ultimately ended up choosing Yoruichi because of how she can kick butt, but can also be laid-back and flirty when she wants to be.

Anime Film Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki’s Delivery Service is the fourth theatrical anime film released by Studio Ghibli, and it was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The film was based off a novel written by Eiko Kadono; however, unlike the novel, only what happens during the summer is covered in the film.

Kiki’s Delivery Service
Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki
Written by: Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: Minami Takayama, Rei Sakuma, and Kappei Yamaguchi
Run Time: 102 minutes
Rated: G

Kiki’s Delivery Service was also the first film released under the Disney / Studio Ghibli deal. The dubbed version of the film was recorded in 1997, and features Kirsten Dunst as Kiki and Phil Hartman as Jiji; this was Phil Hartman’s last voice-over work before his death. The English dub made its debut in the United States at the Seattle International Film Festival on May 23, 1998; this was followed by a release on home video in the United States on September 1, 1998.

The film tells the story of Kiki, a 13-year-old witch in training. In the tradition of witches, Kiki leaves home to spend a year alone in a new town to establish herself as a witch. With her black cat, Jiji, Kiki decides to settle in the seaside city of Koriko. At first, Kiki has a hard time adjusting to life in the city; but after being taken in by a baker and his wife, Kiki establishes a delivery service, which allows her to take advantage of her flying abilities. Kiki has to endure some setbacks, which include slow business, misplaced merchandise, illness, and rude customers.

However, Kiki has also managed to catch the eye of Tombo, a young man who has an interest in aviation and is intrigued by Kiki and her ability to fly on a broom. At first, Kiki rebuffs Tombo’s attempts at friendship, but she eventually becomes friends with him.

As time goes on, Kiki discovers her powers are starting to diminish. Within a short time, she loses her ability to fly altogether. Thanks to Ursula, a young artist Kiki befriended in the forest while she tried to make her first delivery, Kiki learns how to overcome the obstacles that keep her from believing in herself and her abilities. When Tombo is lifted into the air as part of a dirigible accident, Kiki needs to find the inspiration she needs to regain her flying abilities and save her friend.

Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli produced a film that tells a wonderful “coming of age” tale of a girl trying to find her place in the world, as well as trying to discover her self-confidence. Kiki’s Delivery Service is a family-friendly anime film, which can be enjoyed by children and parents alike. Kids will enjoy the story and the antics that Kiki gets into. Teenagers will be able to relate to the struggles Kiki has with growing up, and adults will remember what it was like to go through those struggles at that age.

The animation is top-notch, and it really complements the story that Miyazaki is trying to tell in the film. Some of the sequences with Kiki flying on her broom look pretty impressive.

When Disney released Kiki’s Delivery Service on DVD, it was released as a two-disc set. The first disc in the set includes three bonus features. The first one is an introduction to the film done by John Lasseter from Pixar; however, since this already appears at the beginning of the film, I’m not entirely sure including it as a separate entity is really worth it as a special feature.

Next is “Behind the Microphones,” which has interviews and recording footage of Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman, Matthew Lawrence, and Janeane Garofolo. This is a decent “behind the scenes” feature; however, it’s kind of awkward seeing Phil Hartman in it, since I know that he’s no longer living.

The third bonus feature has the original Japanese trailers for the film. This feature runs for about 10 minutes, and they all play as one continuous piece. Unfortunately, the audio quality on the trailers is not as good as one would expect. The only thought I had on that was perhaps these trailers weren’t preserved as well as they could have been.

The second disc contains the film in a storyboard version. Once again, I will say that I just don’t understand the appeal of watching the full film in a storyboard version.

After watching the movie, I believe that Kiki’s Delivery Service should be in the home video collection of anyone who is a fan of Hayao Miyazaki or Studio Ghibli, as well as in the collection of viewers who appreciate well-told “coming of age” stories.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Kiki’s Delivery Service that my husband purchased for me as a gift.