The lovely thing is, even though it's not as 'slick' (read, completely fluid) as the hand drawn animation we've gotten used to, nor has the flashy effects that are now standard of CG production, people everywhere are LOVING this! Almost every report, article, blog post I've read since we first saw footage remarks on how beautiful it is and how refreshing - "like a story scroll brought to life".
Possibly the most telling thing is that you don't need any translation or narration for the visuals, despite it being created in a foreign language (at least, for most of the readers here). The art here speaks loud and clear of its story and that's very much resonating with everyone who has seen this.
The film, (The Tale of Princess Kaguya-hime no Monogatari) adapts the Japanese story Slashfilm), in which an aged and childless bamboo cutter slices open a glowing bamboo stalk to find a tiny child inside. He and his wife raise the girl, Kaguya, who grows into a delicately beautiful woman. The cutter also finds himself rich as his work, impossibly, yields gold from bamboo. The strange truth of her existence is revealed, as hopeful suitors arrive to ask for Kaguya’s hand in marriage. (With this very extended trailer we get to see much more of the gorgeous animation (the baby stuff is so nicely handled!) and the subtle human touches (like where her hair falls out of her bun as she's putting it together feeling 'of the moment' rather than a practiced gesture) that help make the story feel very relatable and human.
Sit back and enjoy - no Japanese required and there are no subtitles in the way either:
Ah... :) So lovely, yes?
While a bittersweet ending, typical of the story, is likely under Takahata it will still feel like a fairy tale and will be beautiful. I'll be very interested to hear the Japanese response once it's released since this story is truly precious to them (and Ghibli is taking somewhat of a risk in making it as a result).
There are no release dates set outside Japan as of yet, but the Japanese theatrical release is next Saturday, November 23rd.