by AFP/ pic by BLOOMBERG
SINGAPORE – Animated films from Japan’s Studio Ghibli, including Oscar winner “Spirited Away”, are coming to streaming giant Netflix, delighting many fans but leaving US subscribers disappointed as they will miss out.
Twenty-one films from Japan’s premier animation studio, co-founded by animator Hayao Miyazaki, will be made available in batches between February and April, Netflix announced this week.
The films – which also include “Princess Mononoke”, “Arrietty” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service” – will be on the service in most places worldwide, from the Asia-Pacific to Europe and Latin America.
But the productions, to be subtitled in 28 languages and dubbed in up to 20, will not be on Netflix in the United States, Canada or Japan.
“We’ve listened to our fans and have made the definitive decision to stream our film catalogue,” said Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki.
Aram Yacoubian, director of original animation at Netflix, described the news as a “dream come true for Netflix and millions of our members”.
Miyazaki is among the world’s most acclaimed animators, with huge followings in Japan and abroad, and “Spirited Away” won the Oscar for best animated feature in 2003.
Getting the films is a coup for the world’s biggest paid online streaming service, which faces fierce competition from the likes of Disney+ and Apple TV+.
And many fans were delighted.
“The half dozen or so I have seen over the years were pure magic,” said one post on Facebook. “Having access to more will be a real treat.”
Another user added: “I love Studio Ghibli, now I’ll be able to watch the ones I haven’t seen yet.”
But the films will not be available to Netflix subscribers in the US as AT&T’s WarnerMedia has acquired the American rights for its HBO Max streaming service, which is set to launch in May.
“Got real excited that Netflix was… adding Ghibli titles until I read NOT IN THE US,” fumed one Twitter user.
Another added: “Does the US not matter to you guys?.. I grew up on Studio Ghibli, and you’re breaking my heart with (this) news!”