Studio Ghibli is known worldwide for films like My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle. For years, distributors like Disney and, more recently, GKids have helped bring these Japanese masterpieces to international audiences, translating them into English and releasing them in theaters and on DVD.
But one of these movies, 1991's Only Yesterday, never received an English dub and official American release — one of the only Ghibli films to be confined to its domestic audience. On Jan. 1, however, GKids will bring an English-language version of Only Yesterday to American theaters, just in time for its 25th anniversary.
Starting in New York City before expanding nationwide Feb. 26, GKids announced in August that it would produce the very first English dub of the slice-of-life film, directed by studio co-founder Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, last year's The Tale of the Princess Kaguya). A frame narrative starring an older woman reflecting on her childhood, it will feature the voices of Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire).
GKids picked the rights to the film off of Disney, which has long held distribution rights to a vast majority of Studio Ghibli's most well-known titles. While Disney released English versions of many of the Ghibli films, Only Yesterday remained a notable exception.
This won't be the film's debut overseas, however. Only Yesterday aired once on cable channel Turner Classic Movies back in 2006 in Japanese, and was also shown in a single theater in New York City for a handful of showings; the studio allowed for these rare screenings so the film could be included as part of larger Ghibli retrospective series.
Among Studio Ghibli films remaining untranslated are Ocean Waves, a TV movie, and a number of shorter works directed by co-founder Hayao Miyazaki made exclusively for the Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan.