studio ghibli founder's film debut is coming to u.s. theaters

Hayao Miyazaki's 'The Castle of Cagliostro' was released to Japanese audiences in 1979, and never had a nationwide Stateside release.

by Hannah Ongley
Jul 14 2017, 4:45pm

Many Studio Ghibli fans weren't even born when the beloved Japanese animation company was founded in 1985 — let alone when Hayao Miyazaki debuted his first feature film six years earlier. Ghibli's best-known co-founder released The Castle of Cagliostro in 1979, and to say it flew under the radar Stateside would be an understatement. The fantastical heist anime didn't hit any American theaters until 1991, and never received a nationwide release. That glaring omission is finally being remedied nearly 40 years after Cagliostro first charmed still-limited audiences in Japan. Indiewire reveals that Miyazaki's debut feature will screen here on September 14 and 19.

Cagliostro's history dates back even further than 1979. It's based on Monkey Punch's manga series Lupin the Third, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, hence Cagliostro getting some overdue American recognition. The escapade follows casino robber Arsène Lupin III, who discovers his plunder is counterfeit and flees to the tiny country of Cagliostro in pursuit of the real deal. Lupin then embroils himself in a slightly more admirable plot to save a princess from an arranged marriage to a sinister count. The pre-Ghibli project is no My Neighbor Totoro or Princess Mononoke — the latter of which also recently had a theatrical re-release for Miyazaki's 76th birthday — but it's not like the animation legend ever made a bad movie. And while Cagliostro wasn't huge in Japan, Miyazaki's homeland is still beating us in the fandom stakes, what with getting a full-on Ghibli theme park and all.

Tickets for The Castle of Cagliostro go on sale August 18 via Fathom Events.


Text Hannah Ongley
Image via YouTube

Hayao Miyazaki
Studio Ghibli
the castle of cagliostro