Online streaming has been very good for the anime industry, opening flows of revenue both domestic and international by delivering the product to ravenous fans in the fastest manner possible. For a while, though, it looked like Studio Ghibli was going to stick to its “physical media-only” policy until the end of time.
However, the animation house that Hayao Miyazaki co-founded has just agreed to grant its anime films to the most powerful and influential video streaming service on the planet, as Netflix has announced that it’s secured streaming rights to almost the entire Ghibli animated collection (only "Grave of the Fireflies" is left out), and that users will be able to start watching them very soon.
Seven films will become available to stream on Netflix on Feb 1, mixing some of Ghibli’s most widely loved hits with its most unpopular work.
● "Castle in the Sky"
● "My Neighbor Totoro"
● "Kiki’s Delivery Service"
● "Only Yesterday"
● "Porco Rosso"
● "Ocean Waves"
● "Tales from Earthsea"
March 1 sees the addition of Hayao Miyazaki’s warrior princesses and Isao Takahata’s moon one.
● "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind"
● "Princess Mononoke"
● "Spirited Away"
● "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya"
● "The Cat Returns"
● "My Neighbors the Yamadas"
And finally, April 1 rounds out the lineup with:
● "Howl’s Moving Castle"
● "Pom Poko"
● "Whisper of the Heart"
● "The Wind Rises"
● "When Marnie Was There"
● "From Up on Poppy Hill"
Okay, time to slot those all into your viewing schedule for the next three months, right? Not so fast. In announcing the deal, Netflix says it’s looking forward to bringing Ghibli’s wonderful films to fans in roughly 190 countries in Europe, South America, and Asia. However, the company has specifically stated that it will not be streaming Ghibli anime in Japan, the U.S. or Canada.
While the announcement doesn’t specify why those three countries are being left out, it may have something to do with Ghibli having already struck a deal with HBO’s HBO Max streaming service back in October, which will be carrying Ghibli’s works in at least the U.S., and the deal’s territory may include Canada as well. As for Japan’s omission, Ghibli still has plenty of clout in its home market, and with its films being considered national treasures and readily available for purchase on Blu-ray from just about every video retailer in the country, perhaps the company thinks it can hold off going digital in Japan for just a while longer, much like how you still have to physically travel to the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo to see the "Totoro" sequel.
Sources: Nihon Keizai Shimbun via Otakomu. Twitter/@NetflixJP, Phile Web
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