For the First Time, Studio Ghibli’s Entire Catalog Will Soon Be Available for Digital Purchase

Some describe Stu­dio Ghi­b­li, the ani­ma­tion com­pa­ny found­ed by Hayao Miyaza­ki and Isao Taka­ha­ta, as “the Japan­ese Dis­ney.” That does jus­tice to the true nature of nei­ther Ghi­b­li nor Dis­ney, though both ven­tures have dis­played an uncan­ny abil­i­ty to pro­duce beloved ani­mat­ed films — and beloved ani­mat­ed films that haven’t always been easy to see on demand. Just this past sum­mer we fea­tured the release of Ghi­b­li’s Spir­it­ed Away in Chi­na, eigh­teen years after its pre­miere, but even in less polit­i­cal­ly sen­si­tive ter­ri­to­ries, fans have had their chal­lenges: find­ing a way to stream Ghi­b­li movies, for instance, which (at least in North Amer­i­ca) will become much eas­i­er on Decem­ber 17th.

On that date, reports Vari­ety’s Dave McNary, “GKids will release the entire Stu­dio Ghi­b­li cat­a­log of ani­mat­ed films for dig­i­tal pur­chase.” From Nau­si­caä of the Val­ley of the Wind and My Neigh­bor Totoro to From Up on Pop­py Hill and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Ghi­b­li’s films “will be avail­able to pur­chase in both Eng­lish and Japan­ese lan­guages on all major dig­i­tal trans­ac­tion­al plat­forms.”

This marks “the first time the Stu­dio Ghi­b­li films will be avail­able for dig­i­tal pur­chase any­where in the world,” includ­ing the stu­dio’s home­land of Japan — a coun­try, in any case, with a slight­ly dif­fer­ent rela­tion­ship to the inter­net than most, and one that tends to result in a pref­er­ence for phys­i­cal dis­tri­b­u­tion over dig­i­tal.

If you’ve nev­er seri­ous­ly watched Stu­dio Ghi­b­li’s films, don’t be fooled by the name GKids: the Amer­i­can dis­trib­u­tor spe­cial­izes in arti­sanal ani­ma­tion, most­ly but not entire­ly Japan­ese (its cat­a­log also includes Nina Paley’s Sita Sings the Blues), and those in charge there know full well the draw of Ghi­b­li for demo­graph­ics far beyond those still in child­hood. One can fair­ly argue, in fact, that young­sters aren’t Ghi­b­li’s pri­ma­ry audi­ence; where­as Dis­ney makes ani­ma­tion for kids that many grown-ups can enjoy, Ghi­b­li in some sense does the oppo­site. The films of Miyaza­ki, Taka­ha­ta, and Ghi­b­li’s oth­er stal­warts will thus make ide­al mate­r­i­al for the all-ages at-home movie marathons with­out which no hol­i­day sea­son is com­plete, see­ing as their ani­mat­ed mag­ic will arrive in the realm of on-demand not a moment too soon.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How the Films of Hayao Miyaza­ki Work Their Ani­mat­ed Mag­ic, Explained in 4 Video Essays

Watch Hayao Miyazaki’s Beloved Char­ac­ters Enter the Real World

Stu­dio Ghi­b­li Releas­es Tan­ta­liz­ing Con­cept Art for Its New Theme Park, Open­ing in Japan in 2022

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­maand the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future? Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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