Ghibli galore for January
The new year is starting off with a real treat for fans of anime, and particularly of Studio Ghibli: The Turner Classic Movies cable network is running a Ghibli film festival Thursdays throughout January.
It might seem unusual that these films are debuting on TCM instead of Cartoon Network, but the arrangement makes sense, according to TCM representative Michelle Rosenblatt.
"We felt (director Hayao) Miyazaki deserved to be exposed to a different audience and that his films genuinely can be considered classics," Rosenblatt said. "We always try to bring our viewers different, interesting pieces of film history (Bollywood films, classic documentaries, Kurosawa, etc.), and this festival is in that tradition."
Here's the lineup, along with local air times:
» Thursday: "Spirited Away" (3 and 8 p.m.) and "Princess Mononoke" (5:15 and 10:15 p.m.)
» Jan. 12: "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" (3 and 7:15 p.m.) and "Castle in the Sky" (5 and 9:15 p.m.)
» Jan. 19: "My Neighbor Totoro" (3 and 8:15 p.m.), "Porco Rosso" (4:30 and 9:45 p.m.) and "Whisper of the Heart" (6:15 and 11:30 p.m.)
» Jan. 26: "Only Yesterday" (3 and 7:30 p.m.) and "Pom Poko" (5:15 and 9:45 p.m.)
Every movie except "Only Yesterday" will air first with English dialogue, then with the original Japanese dialogue and English subtitles. "Only Yesterday" will air only with subtitles.
Worth noting is that three of the movies -- "Whisper," "Only Yesterday" and Disney's new English dub of "Totoro" -- will effectively be making their American wide-release debuts on the network. The new "Totoro" and "Whisper" are scheduled for DVD release, along with "Howl's Moving Castle," on March 7, while "Only Yesterday" is in DVD limbo.
Noticeably absent from the schedule: "Kiki's Delivery Service" and "The Cat Returns."
"We obtained the rights to all of these films from Buena Vista; unfortunately, those two were not available," Rosenblatt said. "We felt it was a very strong festival, however, with those that we could obtain."
So what does your "Cel Shaded" team recommend seeing? I have soft spots for "Totoro," the tale of two girls' adventures with a bunch of cuddly creatures that you just want to reach out and hug, and "Pom Poko," about the struggles of shape-shifting tanuki against human development. Wilma J. likes the Academy Award-winning "Spirited Away," the story of a girl's journey into a spirit-filled hot-springs inn to free her parents from a curse. But if you're a true fan, you'll want to catch 'em all ...
In Sunday Today
American manga hits the Sunday comics ... and we have it! Join me for a look at Tokyopop's "Peach Fuzz," premiering this Sunday, as well as a sneak preview of "Van Von Hunter." Then in "Drawn & Quartered," Wilma J. looks at three of Rumiko Takahashi's short stories, "Fire Tripper," "Laughing Target" and "Maris the Chojo," in the latest monthly installment of "Project T."
, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. E-mail Jason S. Yadao at firstname.lastname@example.org