The Quiet Dynamism of Studio Ghibli and Ponoc Animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Working under the umbrella of Studio Ghibli, Hiromasa Yonebayashi has been somewhat overlooked as a talented director. A new video essay from Channel Criswell, who also created the great “Hayao Miyazaki – The Essence of Humanity,” is all about the works of Yonebayashi, who recently directed the first Studio Ponoc film Mary and The Witch’s Flower.
Yonebayashi worked on Studio Ghibli productions like Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle, but his animation style especially comes through in works like From up on Poppy Hill and Ponyo, where he worked on key animation—and most distinctly his directorial work on The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There.
In the video, Lewis discusses the amount of movement in Yonebayashi’s works. While a lot of animation might focus only on the movement of one or two characters, the artist impressively animates everything around the character—landscapes, water, and plants all move in a way that tells us about the character’s inner world. The ways that Yonebayashi can communicate how his characters are feeling non-verbally is a wonderful lesson in storytelling, and makes the viewer appreciate how much care is put into each frame.
The video description adds:
“Be sure to support Studio Ponoc and all their future releases. They do not have the funding that they would under the ‘Studio Ghibli’ moniker and are working so hard to not only recreate but reimagine that magic. Studio Ghibli was important to many of us and hopefully Studio Ponoc will be able to carry on their amazing tradition. If you want to support their work, be sure to see ‘Mary and The Witch’s Flower’ in theatres now. Special thanks to the Studio themselves for supplying the footage.”
You can grab your tickets for Mary and The Witch’s Flower here.
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