Exclusive: Watch the English Trailer for 'Okko's Inn' From Studio Ghibli Veteran Kitaro Kosaka | The Mary Sue
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Exclusive: Watch the Gorgeous Trailer for Okko’s Inn From Studio Ghibli Veteran Kitaro Kosaka

Based on the novel Wakaokami wa Shogakusei! by Hiroko Reijo, the kid-centric, ghost-laden Okko’s Inn is directed by Kitarō Kōsaka for Madhouse Productions.

Joining Studio Ghibli in the ’80s, Kōsaka worked as animation director and key animator on beloved titles like Spirited Away, Grave of the Fireflies, and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. In 2014, he won Best Animator for Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises at the Tokyo Anime Award Festival.

So what does the uber-talented Kōsaka have in store for us with Okko’s Inn? We have the first look at the film’s English trailer!

After losing her parents in a car accident, Okko goes to live in the countryside with her grandmother, who runs a traditional Japanese inn built on top of an ancient spring said to have healing waters. While she goes about her chores and prepares to become the inn’s next caretaker, Okko discovers there are spirits who live there that only she can see – not scary ones, but welcoming ghosts who keep her company, play games and help her navigate her new environment.

The inn’s motto is that it welcomes all and will reject none, and this is soon put to the test as a string of new guests challenge Okko’s ability to be a gracious host. But ultimately Okko discovers that dedicating herself to others becomes the key to taking care of herself. The latest feature from famed anime studio Madhouse and director Kitaro Kosaka, who was a key animator on numerous classic films at the venerable Studio Ghibli, seamlessly blends immersive, idyllic landscapes with the storybook charm of Okko’s beloved ghosts. Okko’s Inn delivers a rare ghost story that – despite several floating characters – is firmly grounded in the trials and joys of humanity.

Okko’s Inn has a timely message at its heart. “These days, a lot of conflicts arise from the self-centered attitudes of individuals and nations,” Kōsaka says in his Director’s Note. “I wanted to depict a girl, at a self-conscious and impressionable age, growing up and learning that there are things you can and cannot manage by yourself. Her growth will come from opening up to society and accepting others.”

This is an important lesson for people of all ages, and Kōsaka’s wish is that kids will learn from Okko’s adventures. “I hope children growing up to be the adults of tomorrow will watch this film and reflect on it together.”

The film looks fun and touching—not to mention stunning:

Okko's Inn

Okko's Inn

Okko's Inn

We’ve never met an animated friendly ghost story that we didn’t love. Okko’s Inn will be in select theaters on April 22nd and 23rd. You can find tickets here.

(images: GKIDS, Madhouse Productions)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.