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We get two versions of Princess Mononoke in movie theaters this January, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Studio Ghibli classic. On January 5th you can see the original Japanese version with English subtitles, while on January 9th you can watch the English Dub version. Both versions were the work of Hayao Miyazaki, but you may not be aware the English language version was written by Neil Gaiman, and performed by such talents as Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, and Gillian Anderson! The special event screening is a combined project of Fathom Events and GKIDS.

Studio Ghibli has done amazing animations over the years, and in this fan made video from Kojer called Studio Ghibli in Real Life we get to see just that. If you have done any work with video editing and compositing you will recognize just how masterful this creation is, but anyone without those skill sets who loves Ghibli will want to live in the world where this kind of thing can happen. Thanks to Otaku USA for the heads up on this one!

Studio Ghibli’s Only Yesterday and live action Gods of Egypt both hit the big screen this weekend. The 1991 animated classic Only Yesterday has finally been released in the US now, 25 years after the rest of the world got to see it, and is filled with exactly the kind of touching heart-felt story one expects from them. Its run in the theaters is extremely limited, opening in a single theater in New York on January 1st and expanding on Friday to another double dozen cities. If you are not close enough to make one of them, it will be in still more cities each week over the next four, and then released on DVD for the first time in this country. Gods of Egypt is the flip side of that coin, brand new live action/adventure epic fantasy, although I do admit to studying the trailer carefully looking for a Stargate. I look forward to seeing at least one of them.

Studio Ghibli has produced some amazing animations in its history, and it looks like When Marnie Was There is yet another in a long line of triumphs. The box office results in Japan were poor for this one, but the critical reaction was positive to the point of acclaim, and this is another beautiful feature length production in the Miyazaki style. It will be premiering in New York and Los Angeles on May 22nd, and go into wider (but still limited) release after that. If you are lucky enough to be in a town where you can catch it on the big screen, you should try to do so.

According to Anime News Network, the latest film from Studio Ghibli, From Up on Poppy Hill, has blown away the competition to become the number one box office film in Japan for 2011. It did it so completely that it exceeded the box office draw of its next two competitors combined by $400,000 US, and is currently pushing the $54 million range. This is another work directed by Goro Miyazaki, son of renowned filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki who wrote and planned the movie. No word yet on when Disney will be releasing the film either in theaters or on DVD for the US market, but it is at least making the rounds of the usual film festivals in North America.