Getting Ghibli with it

It’s been an … interesting past few weeks since I last posted something here on the Otaku Ohana blog. The first half away was spent working on a profile of Hitbox Music Ensemble (here’s the link for you subscribers out there) in advance of Kawaii Kon. The second half has been spent a) taking time to recover the introvert life-hearts I drained socializing at Kawaii Kon (trust me, it takes a lot out of me), b) finally seeing Your Name with the Otaku Ohana Anonymous Director of Forced Social Interaction on Wednesday, and c) rigging up what I had intended to be a travel netbook computer as my primary computer after my former primary computer died a horrible, meltdown-y death … on the day before Kawaii Kon began. Fortunately, I’ve kept multiple backups of my archive of photos from events I’ve attended throughout my blogging career, so those are safe. But it’s probably going to be slow going for a while until I get things up to speed and pull enough pennies from my couch to get a new computer.

I’m finally back, though! And I come bearing news that there’s going to be another Studio Ghibli film festival rolling through our fair state. Here, have a trailer.

(By the way, is it just me, or does it sound like the voice-over guy says “Hi-yo Miyazaki?” Hi-yoooooooooo~~~! Ahem. Sorry. Pronunciation pet peeve.)

Ghibli logoGranted, the lineup for the GKids Studio Ghibli Fest isn’t nearly as comprehensive as Consolidated’s screen-all-the-things Ghibli Film Festival last year, but it’s still a chance to catch six favorites from the studio’s vault on the big screen. My Neighbor Totoro leads off on June 25-26, followed by Kiki’s Delivery Service July 23-24, Castle in the Sky Aug. 27-28, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Sept. 24-25, Spirited Away Oct. 29-30, and Howl’s Moving Castle Nov. 26-27. Those are all Sunday-Monday date combos; the English-dubbed versions will be screening locally at 12:55 p.m. on the Sundays, with the English-subtitled versions screening at 7 p.m. on the Mondays.

Three Regal theaters will be hosting the festivities this time around: Dole Cannery Stadium 18 in Iwilei, Makalapua Stadium 10 in Kona, and the lusciously luxe Kapolei Commons 12, with its reclining plush seating, upscale food offerings and Eating House 1849, La Tour Cafe and Gyu-Kaku just outside. Yum.

(It should be noted that Regal’s theater list includes a fourth venue, the Prince Kuhio 9 in Hilo, but no tickets are listed for sale there on Fandango for any of the series films. It’s not listed in the GKids site listings, either. Curious.)

Tickets are $12.50 each, but if you really want to go all in and commit to seeing every movie, Regal’s offering a $60 series pass that comes with what they’re calling “an exclusive decommissioned Spirited Away 35mm film cell,” plus 6,000 bonus points for Regal Crown Club members. There is a shipping cost involved; the cheapest that I can see is $2.50 for USPS first-class shipping, which keeps the cost per ticket lower than buying each show individually.

For more information or to buy individual tickets, visit gkidstickets.com/movies/.

That would be the end of the story if not for an anomaly I stumbled upon while I was poking around to see what was up with the Prince Kuhio listing: Tickets seem to be available for another Ghibli fest, this one at the Consolidated Kahala 8 theaters. Screenings of the English-subtitled movies begin May 31 and run most Wednesdays after that through Aug. 9 at 7 p.m., and include:

  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, May 31
  • Spirited Away, June 7
  • Ponyo, June 14
  • Howl’s Moving Castle, July 12 (with the dubbed version screening July 13 at 11 a.m.)
  • The Wind Rises, July 19
  • My Neighbor Totoro, July 26
  • When Marnie Was There, Aug. 2
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service, Aug. 9

The inclusion of Ponyo thrills me, because now I can stick this picture into the post. Call it a tradition of sorts around here.

Ponyo

For tickets, visit ow.ly/utmN30bh0hR. Open the “pre-sale tickets” column on the right for the full listing of movies.

Keep an eye on that page and Consolidated’s social media in general, too … call it a hunch, but you’ve got to think some kind of formal acknowledgment of this is coming down the line. More theaters, perhaps? Are these the first shards we’re seeing of Consolidated Ghibli Film Festival 2017? And why is there almost a one-month gap between Ponyo and Howl’s Moving Castle? I can’t wait to find out …

A whole lotta Ghibli goin’ on

Not shown: The part where Ponyo says she likes haaaaam. (Why yes, we used this same joke with Wilma's Ponyo review in 2012. We're all about the running gags here.)
Sosuke and Ponyo prepare for their magical boat ride. (Photo courtesy Nibariki-GNDHDDT)

Remember all those times I’ve said in the past few years that [INSERT MONTH/YEAR HERE] is going to be the best month ever for theatrical anime being screened locally? First of all, congratulations, you have a very good memory. Second, you may now forget I ever said that before, because April 2016 is claiming that title of best month ever now and forever.

The reason: Starting Saturday and running through May 5, for every day except Fridays (gotta make that new-release box office bank, after all!), Consolidated’s theaters across Oahu and their Kaahumanu complex in Kahului will be home to the Studio Ghibli Festival, screening every major Studio Ghibli film ever made. That’s everything from 1984’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Hayao Miyazaki’s pre-Ghibli feature that led to the creation of the studio, through 2014’s When Marnie Was There, plus the live-action Kingdom of Dreams and Madness documentary for good measure. That’s 22 good-to-great movies and Tales From Earthsea — which was kind of a disappointment for me — over roughly a month.

… yeah, I’ll just leave this meme here.

take my money meme

Most of the films will be screened two or three times each over the month, with English-dubbed and English-subtitled versions available. The more popular films — Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away — will be shown four times each.

But the real rarity in the group is Ocean Waves (Umi ga Kikoeru), the 1993 made-for-TV movie that is the only major Ghibli project never to see wide release in the U.S. now that GKids finally picked up Only Yesterday. The film’s rights belong to Disney, which kinda has bigger fish to promote, so we probably won’t be seeing that in wide release any time soon, either. Ocean Waves will be shown exactly once — mark your calendars for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14, and set your GPSes for the Koolau 10 complex, across from the Valley of the Temples cemetery in Windward Oahu.

Breaking down the numbers further, the big winner in terms of number of screenings is the Kapolei 16 complex, which will be showing 15 out of the 23 movies available, all of them subtitled. The Koolau, Mililani 14 and Pearlridge 16 theaters come in tied for second with 10 apiece, in both subbed and dubbed flavors at the first two and all subbed at Pearlridge.

Here’s the full screening schedule organized by theater, with GhibliWiki links in case you’d like to learn more about each movie. (Trust me, if I had to write 23 synopses and attach 23 trailers like I usually do with these previews, this post would have been posted sometime in February 2022.) Prefer to see what’s on deck chronologically? Here’s Consolidated’s “coming soon” list. Tickets, at $10 each, are available now on Fandango (except for the April 30 Kahala screening of The Wind Rises for some weird reason). Sorry, no passes are being accepted.

Kahala 8

All films dubbed; screenings at 11 a.m. Saturdays.

Castle in the Sky: April 2

Kiki’s Delivery Service: April 9

Spirited Away: April 16

Howl’s Moving Castle: April 23

The Wind Rises: April 30 (note: ticket sales not available yet)

Kapolei 16

All films subbed; screenings at 7 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: April 4

Castle in the Sky: April 5

My Neighbor Totoro: April 7

Kiki’s Delivery Service: April 11

Only Yesterday: April 12

Pom Poko: April 14

Whisper of the Heart: April 18

Princess Mononoke: April 19

The Cat Returns: April 21

Tales From Earthsea: April 25

Ponyo: April 26

From Up on Poppy Hill: April 28

The Wind Rises: May 2

Kingdom of Dreams and Madness: May 3

When Marnie Was There: May 5

Koko Marina 8

All films dubbed; screenings at 11 a.m. Sundays.

My Neighbor Totoro: April 3

Whisper of the Heart: April 10

Secret World of Arrietty: April 24

Tale of the Princess Kaguya: May 1

Koolau 10

11 a.m. Sunday screenings dubbed; 7 p.m. Thursday screenings subbed.

Porco Rosso: April 3, 11 a.m.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: April 7, 7 p.m.

Pom Poko: April 10, 11 a.m.

Ocean Waves: April 14, 7 p.m.

The Cat Returns: April 17, 11 a.m.

Princess Mononoke: April 21, 7 p.m.

Tales From Earthsea: April 24, 11 a.m.

Ponyo: April 28, 7 p.m.

When Marnie Was There: May 1, 11 a.m.

Tale of the Princess Kaguya: May 5, 7 p.m.

Mililani 14

11 a.m. Saturday screenings dubbed; 7 p.m. Wednesday screenings subbed.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: April 2, 11 a.m.

Castle in the Sky: April 6, 7 p.m.

Only Yesterday: April 9, 11 a.m.

Whisper of the Heart: April 13, 7 p.m.

My Neighbors the Yamadas: April 16, 11 a.m.

Tales from Earthsea: April 20, 7 p.m.

Ponyo, April 23, 11 a.m.

Howl’s Moving Castle: April 27, 7 p.m.

From Up on Poppy Hill: April 30, 11 a.m.

Kingdom of Dreams and Madness: May 4, 7 p.m.

Pearlridge 16

All films subbed; screenings at 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

My Neighbor Totoro: April 5

Grave of the Fireflies: April 6

Kiki’s Delivery Service: April 12

Porco Rosso: April 13

Spirited Away: April 19

My Neighbors the Yamadas: April 20

From Up on Poppy Hill, April 26

Secret World of Arrietty: April 27

The Wind Rises: May 3

Tale of the Princess Kaguya: May 4

Ward Stadium

All films subbed; screenings at 7 p.m. Mondays.

Grave of the Fireflies: April 4

Only Yesterday: April 11

Spirited Away: April 18

Howl’s Moving Castle: April 25

When Marnie Was There: May 2

Kaahumanu (Maui)

11 a.m. Saturday screenings dubbed; 7 p.m. Thursday screenings subbed.

My Neighbor Totoro: April 2, 11 a.m., April 7, 7 p.m.

Kiki’s Delivery Service: April 9, 11 a.m., April 14, 7 p.m.

Princess Mononoke: April 16, 11 a.m., April 21, 7 p.m.

Spirited Away: April 23, 11 a.m., April 28, 7 p.m.

Howl’s Moving Castle: April 30, 11 a.m., May 5, 7 p.m.

Elsewhere around town

Aiea Library Polar Bear Cafe & Friends Anime Club: Every month, I joke with young adult librarian Diane Masaki that she ought to change the name of the Anime Club to the Polar Bear Cafe & Friends Club, seeing as how the screening schedule for the past few months has consistently been two episodes of the 2012-2013 anime followed by two more episodes of something else. (April’s “friends” are the ship-gals of KanColle.) The response this time around: Crisis! Diane’s approaching the end of the Polar Bear run! And there aren’t very many KanColle episodes left, either! What will the club screen next? And what will be the next running gag for this item?!? At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place, where, yes, there’s still plenty of parking. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

Sanrio Ala Moana Anniversary Party: Head out to Ala Moana Center and take pictures (or selfies, if you’re alone) with a giant Hello Kitty mascot character and also enjoy: Special product promotions! Free face painting and Hello Kitty hat with any purchase! And a special gift with any $75 purchase! 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center; check their Facebook page for where in the mall they’ll be meeting. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.