November 4, 2005
I'll do my initial post here talking about the cable channel Turner Classic Movies showing a Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli festival next January. In case you haven't heard, every Thursday evening in January will be devoted to showing most of the feature films from Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. (Only Grave of the Fireflies, Kiki's Delivery Service, The Cat Returns, and Howl's Moving Castle will be left out.) The films will be shown twice in each block. The first block will be shown with the English dub and the later showing will be in Japanese with subtitles. (The only exception here is Only Yesterday which doesn't have an English dub, so it will be shown subtitled both times.) Here's the schedule (note that all the times are eastern standard):

Thursday January 5 (Miyazaki's birthday, he will be 65)
8pm Spirited Away (dub)
10:15pm Princess Mononoke (dub)
1am Spirited Away (subbed)
3:15am Princess Mononoke (subbed)

Thursday January 12
8pm Nausicaa (dub)
10pm Castle in the Sky (dub)
12:15am Nausicaa (subbed)
2:15am Castle in the Sky (subbed)

Thursday January 19
8pm My Neighbor Totoro (dub)
9:30pm Porco Rosso (dub)
11:15pm Whisper of the Heart (dub)
1:15am My Neighbor Totoro (subbed)
2:45am Porco Rosso (subbed)
4:30am Whisper of the Heart (subbed)

Thursday January 26
8pm Only Yesterday (subbed)
10:15pm Pom Poko (dub)
12:30am Only Yesterday (subbed)
2:45am Pom Poko (subbed)

And since this is TCM, all of them will be shown in wide screen format. It's nice to see these films getting the proper treatment they deserve, but over at Nausicaa.net we've been scratching our heads over some of the odd things here. First off, according to our contacts at Disney, there are no plans to release Only Yesterday on home video, so taping it off the air may be the only way US fans will ever see it. (On the other hand, maybe this means they're considering a home video release at some point in the future.) The second odd thing is that the showing of Totoro and Whisper will be the first time (outside of a couple of film festivals) that the new Disney dubs of both films will be shown in the US. Both are scheduled for home video releases later next spring, so it's odd that they would allow them to be broadcast before the home video release. And last, why are they showing up on TCM and not on one of Disney's own channels?

My personal guess is that this class treatment on TCM is to showcase Miyazaki's and Ghibli's films to an audience that is serious about film and film watching. And it would be showing these films just as some of that audience are sending in their ballots for the Academy Awards. And it's a foregone conclusion that Howl's Moving Castle will be one of the nominees. (Though personally, I'm betting on Wallace and Gromit to win.) So it wouldn't hurt to remind folks (or introduce a lot of them) of the oeuvre of Miyazaki while they're considering their choice. Whatever the reason, I'm thrilled to see them getting this attention and I know where I'm going to spending my Thursdays in January.

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