“Mary and the Witch’s Flower,” a Weird and Beautiful Journey

You don’t have to be of a background to be influenced by a culture. You can read more on my website info about my experiences growing up with elements of Japanese culture and its lifelong positive impact on my love of Japanese style animation. Needless to say, were I to have watched this film as a child, I would have smiled.

 Mary and the Witch’s Flower  (メアリと魔女の花) has a simple plot over unusual, weird, wacky fun graphics. The illustration colors are bright. The lead character as with classic Japanese toons is a curious girl coming of age as she finds herself in the plot.

If you love strangeness, you’ll adore the round almost kawaii monsters found throughout. I’m talking about big eyed, softly drawn characters like Hayao Miyazaki’s fine films.  Rilakkuma. 90’s Cartoon Network specials.

The drawn details in every scene feel special. Sure. CGI artists inspire me with their animation. 2D people leave their (pencil) marks.  You feel whatever they’re feeling when they sit down and work on the films. I’m sad how 2D is becoming obsolete. Thank goodness for the Japanese film industry keeping it going.

The English version stars Kate Winslet and established Western actors. Watching this film, you wouldn’t know who stars in it as none of the talented voices are recognizable. A personal dream of mine is studios begin using a mix of stars and new people. Two stars is enough. London and LA have tens of thousands of unemployed and/or partially employed trained actors who would give it their all for a tenth of the paycheck.

People who want standard animation probably won’t like this movie. These people are responsible for the new Disney plots and characters now steering clear of “offending” people.  I want more old Disney where villains were villains, and more Japanese inspo making its way west.