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.
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.
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)
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 email@example.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.