Since its start nearly three decades ago, Studio Ghibli has been dominated by the creativity of co-founders Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. But since the turn of the millennium, five of its 10 feature films have been made by other, younger directors.
One reason is that Ghibli releases about one film a year, but Miyazaki and Takahata preferred a more deliberate pace. The gap between the two most recent Takahata films was 14 years, while Miyazaki spent five years on his last full-length animation, 2013's "Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises)," before announcing his retirement in September 2013. Ghibli seems to have prepared for the inevitable changing of the guard by giving its younger animators chances to direct.
One of those directors, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, had a hit in 2010 with "Karigurashi no Arrietty (Arrietty)" and now, with his new animation "Omoide no Marnie (When Marnie Was There)," he has made the first Ghibli film without Miyazaki or Takahata's names anywhere on the credits. Based on a 1967 children's book by British writer Joan G. Robinson, it is also the studio's first film with two heroines: Anna (voiced by Sara Takatsuki), an unhappy 12-year-old orphan who calls her kindly adoptive mother "aunt," and Marnie (Kasumi Arimura), an outgoing, if mysterious, blonde-haired girl who Anna befriends while spending a summer on the Hokkaido coast with her mother's relatives.