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GKIDS Will Release Takahata and Miyazaki's 'Panda Go Panda' In US Cinemas And Home Video

The films of Studio Ghibli remain as popular as ever- if not more so. Thanks to their release on streaming (on HBO Max in the United States and on Netflix elsewhere) they're more accessible than ever. There's still no substitute for seeing them on the big screen though... which explains the success of GKIDS Films Ghibli Fest, which returns for a fifth edition starting next month.

Before Studio Ghibli was founded, star directors Hayao Miyazaki and the late Isao Takahata career saw them work on numerous other series and films, most of which have since had a western release in some form or another. Even Future Boy Conan, the TV series created and directed by Miyazaki and long assumed to be unliscenceable, has been released now.  And now another part of their earlier career is about to get a new release courtesy of GKIDS.

Panda Go Panda was an early collaboration between the future Ghibli co-founders with Takahata directing a script written by Miyazaki. The GKIDS release actually comprises of two separate shorts, Panda Go Panda and Rainy Day Circus, originally released in 1972 and 1973 respectively. Both films will screen in brand new High-Definition restorations and will be released theatrically and on home entertainment platforms later in 2022, in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

Produced by TMS Productions, the film was made when Japan was gripped by a Panda craze after a pair of Pandas on-loan from China moved to the Ueno Zoo in Japan. A charming feel-good family film (with an incredibly catchy theme tune), Panda Go Panda is recognizable as a precursor to future Ghibli films such as My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo.

Mimiko is a cheerful young girl who is left on her own while her grandmother is away. When little Panny Panda and his father Papanda stumble into her home, Mimiko welcomes them in as her new family. Adventures ensue as Mimiko discovers the challenges of taking care of her new cuddly friends. Directed by Isao Takahata and based on a concept by Hayao Miyazaki, Panda! Go Panda! is a charming early-career classic from two animation legends before they co-founded the award-winning Studio Ghibli.

Expect more information to be announced about the release in the near future. In the meantime, you can get your tickets to the 25th Anniversary Ghibli Fest screenings of Princess Mononoke which are on sale now.