The collection includes Japanese animated treasures like My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away
Netflix Canada is about to get considerably stranger, and a lot more beautiful.
On Thursday (June 25), the streaming service will add 20 titles from the Studio Ghibli catalogue to its library. Included in the cornucopia of Japanese animated treasures are the all-ages classics My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service, the more mature adventures Princess Mononoke, Porco Rosso and Howl’s Moving Castle, and the Oscar-winning fantasy Sprited Away.
Studio co-founder Hayao Miyazaki’s 2013 historical drama The Wind Rises will join the platform later on August 1.
The Ghibli library arrived on Netflix in a number of other countries this past February, but it appears the studio’s North American distributor GKids complicated things by striking a deal with the HBO Max streaming service in the U.S. (Ghibli films are available in Canada on various digital platforms, including iTunes and YouTube, but only for purchase.)
At any rate, if you’ve got Netflix and you’re growing desperate for an escape into fantastical worlds filled with arresting imagery, plucky heroes and complex mythologies that function on emotional rather than narrative levels because that’s just how Miyazaki rolls, prepare to gorge yourself on Ghibli’s bounty.
Given the way GKids has handled the films on disc and digital elsewhere, it seems likely that both the original Japanese audio and the celebrity-heavy English-language tracks – produced when the movies were distributed by Disney – will be included. (Yes, it still feels weird to hear Billy Bob Thornton and Gillian Anderson’s voices in Princess Mononoke – though the casting of Christian Bale and Lauren Bacall in Howl’s Moving Castle works remarkably well.)
I’d advise you to keep an eye out for When Marnie Was There, Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s dreamlike drama about a sickly girl befriended by a spirited young woman, and Isao Takahata’s The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya, a visually stunning allegory for parenthood that marked the final film of Ghibli legend Isao Takahata.
Regrettably, the film that assured Takahata’s legendary status, 1988’s devastating wartime drama Grave Of The Fireflies, is not included in the package because its North American rights are held by another party. But Takahata’s Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, My Neighbors The Yamadas and Winter Days are all there. Get ready to lose yourself in them.