‘Earwig and the Witch’ Bows on Digital in March, Blu-ray Disc and DVD in April

Studio Ghibli has announced the March 23 release of Earwig and the Witch, a Japanese 3DCGG animated feature directed by Goro Miyazaki (From Up on Poppy Hill, Tales from Earthsea) and produced by studio co-founder Toshio Suzuki.

The film will first be available on digital platforms. On April 6 consumers can buy the film in a limited edition Steelbook and a Blu-ray + DVD combo pack from from GKIDS, with distribution from Shout! Factory.

Based on the children’s novel Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones, the film follows the story of a little girl named Earwig who is growing up in an orphanage in the British countryside. Her life is changed dramatically when a strange couple takes her in, and she is forced to live with a selfish witch. Having no idea her birth mother had magical powers, she sets out to uncover the secrets of her new guardians and, in the process, discovers a world of spells, potions, and a mysterious song that may be the key to finding the family she has always wanted.

Bonus features include feature-length storyboards, a documentary on the creating the film, interviews with the Japanese voice cast, teasers and trailers.

An official selection for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, Earwig and the Witch saw its premier in Japan on December 30, 2020 and is scheduled for release in theaters beginning Feb. 3.

Shout! Factory, GKIDS to Release ‘On-Gaku’ in March On Disc, Digital

GKIDS and Shout! Factory have announced a March 9 home release date for On-Gaku: Our Sound, an anime film animated and directed by Japanese filmmaker Kenji Iwaisawa.

The film will be available on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and digital platforms.

Based on the comics by Hiroyuki Ohashi, the film follows the story of a feared trio of high school delinquents who, having no skills, money, or even a full set of drums, decide they are destined for musical glory. They embark on the quest to impress their only friend Aya, avoid a rival gang, and — most importantly — jam out.

Featuring a lead performance by Japanese alt-rock legend Shintaro Sakamato, On-Gaku: Our Sound was an official selection at the 2020 Annecy Film Festival, and winner of the Nelvana Grand Prize at the 2019 Ottawa International Animation Festival.

In addition to a feature-length “making of” documentary, bonus features (exclusive to the Blu-ray and DVD release) include a live musical performance, “On-Gaku” (demo); “Our Movie: Behind the Scenes”; a rock festival pencil test; three short films by Kenji Iwaisawa, Mountain, Mourning Ice Pop, Nicky, and Taro Wanted to be Water; a gallery of storyboards; and trailers.

GKIDs, Shout! Factory to Send ‘Marona’ Home Nov. 10

GKIDS and Shout! Factory have announced the Nov. 10 home release of Marona’s Fantastic Tale, a new animated film from award-winning director Anca Damian (Crulic: The Path to Beyond).

The film will be available digitally and as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. Both the French version with subtitles and an English-language version will be included in the release. Bonus features include an interview with the director Anca Damian, a Q&A from the Animation Is Film Festival, an art gallery and trailers.

Marona’s Fantastic Tale is about an optimistic stray dog named Marona who looks back on the human companions she has loved throughout her life. Born the last in the litter, little Marona’s adventures take her through a series of names and owners ­— a colorful acrobat, a sensitive construction worker, and a little girl — with dazzling style. But through all of her ups and downs, Marona’s Fantastic Tale is told with the patient, boundless love of a dog, reminding us that happiness is a small thing.

In addition to Anca Damian, artists behind Marona’s Fantastic Tale include character designer Brecht Evens, an award-winning Belgian cartoonist and Eisner Award nominee who is known for his bright, stylized art, and background artists Gine Thorstensen from Norway and Sarah Mazetti from Italy.

The film had a virtual cinema release this summer, with further theatrical engagements planned for this fall as theaters re-open.

Shout! Factory Slates Home Dates for Anime Heist Film ‘Lupin III: The First’

GKIDS and Shout! Factory have announced home release dates for Lupin III: The First, a 2019 Japanese 3DCG comedy action-adventure heist anime film based on the “Lupin the Third” franchise.

The film will first be available for digital download on Dec. 15, followed by a Jan. 12, 2021, release in a Blu-ray Disc + DVD combo pack, as a standalone DVD, and as a Blu-ray Steelbook.

In Lupin III: The First, the iconic “gentleman thief” Lupin III returns with his colorful underworld companions as they race to uncover the secrets of the mysterious Bresson Diary, before it falls into the hands of a dark cabal that will stop at nothing to resurrect the Third Reich.

The release will be presented in both the original Japanese version and a new English dubbed version, featuring the return of the English cast that has voiced previous Lupin films and series.

Bonus features exclusive to the Blu-ray include interviews with director Takashi Yamazaki and the Japanese voice cast.

The Steelbook edition also includes a 16-page booklet featuring character concept art.

Fans who order the Blu-ray + DVD combo pack or SteelBook copies from ShoutFactory’s main website will receive an 18×24-inch lithograph, while supplies last.

Anime Film ‘Weathering With You’ Arrives in 4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition Nov. 17

GKIDS and Shout! Factory are following up their initial home release of Weathering With You with a special collector’s edition that becomes available Nov. 17.

The four-disc set includes the film on both 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Disc, along with the feature-length documentary “The Making of Weathering With You.” Priced at $79.98, the collector’s edition also includes the film’s soundtrack CD, a 104-page perfect-bound book, a mini poster, and a decal, all in a hard limited-edition case.

The set also comes with all the bonus features included on the earlier home releases.  Weathering With You first becomes available for home audiences on Aug. 4 as a digital download. A standard DVD and Blu-ray Disc, as well as a Steelbook, will be released Sept. 15.

A new film from director Makoto Shinkai and produced by Genki Kawamura, Weathering With You follows the story of a boy named Hodaka, who runs away from his remote island home in Tokyo the summer of his high school freshman year. He quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits, and notices the weather is unusually rainy and gloomy every day (a sign of his troubled future). He lives his days in isolation, finally finding his place as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine. One day, he meets a bright and strong-willed girl named Hina, who possesses a strange but wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky.

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Japan’s official submission for the Best International Feature at the 92nd Academy Awards, and a Toronto International Film Festival official selection, the film is backed by an all-star voice cast, including Lee Pace (Guardians of the Galaxy, “The Hobbit Trilogy”), Alison Brie (Glow, the “Lego” movie franchise), and Riz Ahmed (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Venom).

Japan’s official submission for the Best International Feature at the 92nd Academy Awards, and a Toronto International Film Festival official selection, the film is backed by an all-star voice cast, including Lee Pace (Guardians of the Galaxy, “The Hobbit” Trilogy), Alison Brie (Glow, the “Lego” move franchise), and Riz Ahmed (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Venom).

Two Acclaimed Anime Films Get Steelbook Treatment in October from Shout! Factory

Studio Ghibli and GKIDS, with distribution by Shout! Factory, in October will re-release My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and Princess Mononoke (1997), two Japanese animated films from Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki.

The films will be available Oct. 20 in a limited-edition Steelbook that includes a Blu-ray Disc and DVD combo pack, along with hours of bonus features and a booklet with art and statements from the filmmakers.

My Neighbor Totoro tells the story of a professor and his two young daughters, Satsuki and Mei, who move into a new home in the countryside, only to find life is not as simple there as it seems. They soon discover that the house and nearby woods are full of strange and delightful creatures, including a gigantic but gentle forest spirit called Totoro, who can only be seen by children.

Bonus features include feature-length storyboards, theatrical trailers, “Behind the Microphone”; textless opening and end credits; the featurettes “Creating My Neighbor Totoro,” “Creating the Characters,” “The Totoro Experience,” and “The Locations of My Neighbor Totoro”; a making-of featurette, “Producer’s Perspective: Creating Ghibli”; and an eight-page booklet with statements from the producer and director.

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Set in the late Muromachi period (1336-1573) in Japan, Princess Mononoke follows young warrior Ashitaka as he heads west in search of a cure for a deadly curse he’s been inflicted with. He stumbles into a bitter conflict between Lady Eboshi, the proud people of Iron Town, and the enigmatic Princess Mononoke, a young girl raised by wolves who will stop at nothing to prevent the humans from destroying her home and the forest spirits that live there.

Bonus features include feature-length storyboards, theatrical trailers, TV spots, a “Behind the Microphone” featurette; and an eight-page booklet with statements from the producer and director.

Shout! Factory to Re-release 2013 Japananese Drama ‘The Wind Rises’

Studio Ghibli and GKIDS, with distribution by Shout! Factory, in September will re-release The Wind Rises, a 2013 Japanese animated historical drama film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

The film will first be available for digital download and on demand Sept. 1, with the Blu-ray + DVD combo pack and standalone DVD version coming Sept. 22.

A fictionalized biopic of Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the Mitsubishi A5M fighter and A6M Zero aircraft, the film begins when he moves to Tokyo in 1923 to fulfill his dream of becoming a highly accomplished airplane designer. He had always been fascinated by aviation but was unable to become a pilot due to a medical condition. As rumors of war escalate, Horikoshi reunites with a young woman he met shortly after his big move. The two fall deeply in love, just as the young woman falls ill with tuberculosis. Horikoshi becomes inspired by visions of Italian aeronaut Caproni, and he realizes he must confront the mounting tragedies with dignity.

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Special features will include an exclusive booklet, a feature-length storyboard, the documentary episode “10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki,” “Behind the Microphone,” a film completion press conference, original theatrical trailers, and more.

The Wind Rises was the highest-grossing Japanese film in Japan in 2013, and received 13 nominations and 17 awards, including one Academy Award nomination. Hayao Miyazaki won the award for “Writing in an Animated Feature Production” at the 41st Annie Awards, and the film’s musical composer, Joe Hisaishi, was awarded the Japan Academy Prize in the category of Best Music Score.

The Wind Rises was also selected as “Audience Favorite – Animation” at Mill Valley Film Festival.

Shout! Factory, GKIDS Set Aug. 4 Home Release Date for ‘Weathering With You’

GKIDS and Shout! Factory have announced the Aug. 4 release date of Weathering With You, a  new film from director Makoto Shinkai and produced by Genki Kawamura.

Initially available for digital download, the film will be available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, including a Steelbook, on Sept. 15. Then, in November, Shout! Factory will release a limited-edition collector’s set.

Weathering With You follows the story of a boy named Hodaka, who runs away from his remote island home in Tokyo the summer of his high school freshman year. He quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits, and notices the weather is unusually rainy and gloomy every day (a sign of his troubled future).

He lives his days in isolation, finally finding his place as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine. One day, he meets a bright and strong-willed girl named Hina, who possesses a strange but wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Japan’s official submission for the Best International Feature at the 92nd Academy Awards, and a Toronto International Film Festival official selection, the film is backed by an all-star voice cast, including Lee Pace (Guardians of the Galaxy, “The Hobbit” Trilogy), Alison Brie (Glow, the “Lego” move franchise), and Riz Ahmed (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Venom).

Bonus features to be included on disc editions include the featurette “Weather Front,” “Exploring Makoto Shinkai’s Filmography,” and the theatrical trailers and movie spots. The Blu-ray and SteelBook copies will also include a talk show interview with Shinkai.

GKIDS, Shout! Factory Set Home Dates for Anime Film ‘Ride Your Wave’

GKIDS and Shout! Factory have set an Aug. 4 home release date for Ride Your Wave, the latest film by anime amateur Masaaki Yuasa, who is known for  Night Is Short, Walk on Girl.

The film will be available for digital download, on demand, in a Blu-ray Disc-and-DVD combo pack, or as a standalone DVD.

Winner of the 2019 Best Animated Feature award at the Fantasia, Sitges, and Shanghai International film festivals, Ride Your Wave follows a surf-loving college student named Hinako who has just moved to a small seaside town. When a fire breaks out in her apartment, she is rescued by Minato, a handsome firefighter with whom she eventually falls in love. Just as they become inseparable, Minato loses his life in an accident at sea, which leaves Hinako so distraught that she can’t even look at the ocean. One day, as she is singing a song that reminded her of their time together, he appears on the water and she realizes she can summon him on any watery surface as soon as she sings the song.

Featuring an all-star Japanese voice cast that includes Ryôta Katayose and Rina Kawaei, Ride Your Wave also has a hit theme song in “Brand New Story,” performed by Generations From Exile Tribe. The home entertainment release also includes an all-new English-language version of the film, featuring the voices of Joey Richter (A Very Potter Musical) as Minato, Merit Leighton (“She-Ra and the Princesses of Power”) as Hinako, Sarah Williams (Kill la Kill, Puella Magi Madoka Magica) as Yoko, and Michael Johnston (Teen Wolf) as Wasabi.

Additional bonus features include an interview with producer Eunyoung Choi, animated storyboards, a character still gallery, trailers and TV spots, as well as an exclusive 12-page booklet with a statement from Masaaki Yuasa and other art.

Anime Classic ‘Tokyo Godfathers’ Gets Home Release from Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory and GKIDS on March 30 announced the upcoming release to home audiences of Tokyo Godfathers, which will be available for digital download on May 19 and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on June 2.

The release of the 2003 family anime film has been restored and remastered from a 4K transfer, and marks the first time the film is available with an English dub in addition to the original Japanese audio track.

From acclaimed director Satoshi Kon (Paprika, Perfect Blue), and co-written by Keiko Nobumoto (Cowboy Bebop), Tokyo Godfathers features a tale of hope and redemption in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Set in modern-day Tokyo, the film centers on three homeless people whose lives are changed forever when they discover a baby girl at a garbage dump on Christmas Eve.

As the New Year approaches, the three forgotten members of society band together to solve the mystery of the abandoned child and the fate of her parents. Along the way, encounters with seemingly unrelated events and people force them to confront their own haunted pasts — teaching them to face their future.

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Bonus features include an interview with actress Shakina Nayfack, the featurettes “The Process of Animation,” “The Unexpected Tours,” and “Making of Tokyo Godfathers”; a film introduction by K.F. Watanabe, deputy director of film for the Japan Society of New York City; Ohayo, a short film by Satoshi Kon; and an art gallery.