Mary and the Witch’s Flower is based on the much loved children’s novel The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi.
It is adapted to anime by Studio Ponoc, founded by Yoshiaki Nishimura, formerly of Studio Ghibli, and this pedigree is clear to see.
“I thought it was a monkey. A red haired monkey covered in leaves.”
Her only companions are Miss Banks (Morwenna Banks – Damned, Miss You Already) the housekeeper and Zebedee (Rasmus Hardiker – Cockneys vs. Zombies) the gardener and all her attempts to help them seem to end in disaster.
She meets a local boy Peter (Louis Ashbourne Serkis – Alice Through the Looking Glass) who insults the colour of her hair and has two cats named Gib and Tib. Everything changes one day when she goes into the forest looking for the cats and finds a broomstick and a strange flower called a fly-by-night.
She accidentally squashes the flower, relaesing magical power which allows her to ride the broom like a witch. It takes her far away through the clouds to Endor College for witches, where she meets the sinister Headmistress Madam Mumblechook (Kate Winslet – Collateral Beauty, The Dressmaker) and Doctor Dee (Jim Broadbent – Another Year, The Iron Lady). She makes some startling discoveries and sets in motion a series of events which will endanger them all.
Mary and the Witch’s Flower is a lovely story, well adapted and with some stunning animation. It is a visual extravaganza, colourful and full of action from start to finish. The plucky heroine Mary is typical for the genre and an inspiration to young girls everywhere.
Sure to delight children and Studio Ghibli fans of all ages, this film is well worth adding to your collection.
“Look, this is how they transformed Gib. Awful, how dare they do this?!”
Mary and the Witch’s Flower is available to buy now on DVD and Blu-ray.