Genre(s): Adventure, Fantasy
Age-Appropriateness: 7+ (Some action)
Episodes: One movie (1h 43m)
TheAwersome Rating: 7.3 / 10 (Good to ease someone into Ghibli-flavored movies)
Premise: One day while staying at her Great Aunt’s, Mary follows a strange cat into the forest where she discovers an old broomstick and the rare Fly-by-Night flower, which only blooms once every seven years, and only in that forest. The flower and the broomstick then whisk Mary far away to Endor College, a prestigious school of magic. But what secrets is this school hiding?
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: I did a bit of research, and it makes sense that this is from a former Studio Ghibli animator. The visuals are gorgeous and fantastical, and the whole movie has a very Ghibli-esque feel to it. But unfortunately, the magic isn’t really there (pardon the pun). The pacing suffers from somewhat frequent halts in momentum, which make the whole movie feel a bit choppy. Overall, I got the impression that the director tried to Frankenstein together elements from a slew of Ghibli movies but without really making it into one cohesive whole. If you’re a kid or you haven’t seen any Ghibli movies (Kiki’s Deliver Service, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, etc.) then it will likely be a very enjoyable and magical experience. If you have seen those movies, then this will be a bit of a let-down.
TLDR: Beautiful visuals, but is basically a less enchanting Ghibli knock-off.
Also, Netflix didn’t have the original Japanese version, so maybe that’s why I wasn’t as engaged as I was hoping. While dubs have improved greatly over the years, and the cast on this one is Hollywood-grade, I still mostly prefer subs.