At the Viz panel at FanimeCon this weekend, Marketing Director Candice Uyloan announced that Viz will publish two "film comics" based on the new Studio Ghibli movie Arrietty the Borrower (Karigurashi no Arietti), and Viz spokesperson told MTV Geek that the company is also planning to publish a picture book and an art book based on the movie, which will be released in the UK in July and the U.S. next February. (The English-language voice cast includes Carol Burnett and Amy Poehler.)
The movie, which is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, is based on the classic British children's novel series The Borrowers, which tells of a family of tiny people who live in the homes of ordinary humans and "borrow" things from them. (This is the official explanation for why you can never find a safety pin when you need one.) Arrietty updates the story (first published in the 1950s) and moves it to modern-day Tokyo, where 14-year-old Arrietty lives under the floorboards in a family's home. Viz's capsule description of the plot:
A young boy named Sho befriends Arrietty, but when adults discover the Borrowers, Arrittey and Sho must work together to save her family.
So it's pretty much your classic children's film, but done by Studio Ghibli, so it will be beautiful. Disney is releasing the film in the U.S. and since they have taken to publishing a lot of their own comics lately, I was curious as to why Viz got this license. While she didn't address that directly, Jane said, "VIZ Media has a great relationship with Studio Ghibli, having published English versions of their books under the Studio Ghibli Library Imprint since THE ART OF SPIRITED AWAY and the SPIRITED AWAY Film Comics in 2002. We are thrilled to continue releasing their titles with the new ARRIETTY titles this coming January." Fair enough.
Here's the rundown on the books:
The Art of Arrietty, by Hiromasa Yonebayashi: Paperback, 8.5" x 12", with dust jacket, (similar to Viz's The Art of Ponyo). Release date: January 3, 2012. Price: $34.99 (U.S.), $45.99 (Canada). Not rated.
Arrietty Picture Book, by Hiromasa Yonebayashi: Hardcover, 8.25" x 10.2", with dust jacket, color, 144 pages. Release date: January 3, 2012. Price: $19.99 (U.S.), $22.99 (Canada). Not rated.
Arrietty Film Comics, Vols. 1-2: Created & directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi; Screenplay by Keiko Niwa. Color, 5" x 7", with dust jacket. Vol. 1 has 272 pages, vol. 2 has 336 pages. Release date: January 3, 2012. Price per volume: $16.99 (U.S.), $19.99 (Canada). Rated "A" for All Ages.
Here's the Japanese website for the movie.