In what may be the final animated feature from Japan’s celebrated Studio Ghibli, a sickly, unloved twelve-year-old girl from Tokyo gets sent to live with her “auntie and uncle” in a rural fishing village — and accidentally discovers her soul mate, the title character, an elusive blond girl from that decaying mansion at the edge of the water. Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi touches many of the same touchy-feely bases as the classic Ghibli tales of Hayao Miyazaki, though in a damper, even more melancholy mood. But the artwork and pacing are up to usual high standards. The screenplay is adapted by Keiko Niwa, Masashi Ando, and the director (English version: David Freeman) from a novel by children’s author Joan G. Robinson (103 min.).
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Producer: Yoshiaki Nishimura and Koji Hoshino
Cast: Sara Takatsuki, Kasumi Armura, Nanako Matsushima, Susumu Terajima, Toshie Negishi, Ryoko Moriyama, Kazuko Yoshiyuki and Hitomi Kuroki