Japan's Studio Ghibli Producing Its First Film With a Theme Song in English

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"When Marnie Was There" will be the first Ghibli film that studio founder Hayao Miyazaki isn't involved in.

American singer-songwriter Priscilla Ahn is writing the theme for "When Marnie Was There," which will also feature two female leads -- another first for the anime hit factory.

TOKYO — American singer-songwriter Priscilla Ahn is providing the theme song for Studio Ghibli film When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Marnie), the first English-language theme tune for a production from the Japanese anime hit factory.  

Ahn will record "Fine on the Outside," a song she wrote in high school, for the upcoming Ghibli film.

"My biggest dream came true — I'm writing & singing the theme song to the next Studio Ghibli film — out this Summer!!!" Ahn tweeted after the announcement.

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Ahn's music has appeared in numerous U.S. films and TV dramas, including Grey's Anatomy, Brothers and Sisters and Pacific Rim.

When Marnie Was There, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, was the first Ghibli production announced after anime legend and studio backbone Hayao Miyazaki went public with his retirement decision last September. This is the first Ghibli production that neither Miyazaki nor his studio co-founder Isao Takahata will be involved in.

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Sara Takatsuki and Kasumi Arimura will provide the voices for the two main characters in When Marnie Was There, the first production from the anime studio to feature two female leads.

Takatsuki, 16, has appeared in movies such as Daily Lives of High School Boys and TV dramas including Otomen, both manga adaptations. Arimura, 21, got her big break in public broadcaster NHK's Amachan morning drama, which ran from April to September last year.

The film is an adaptation of British author Joan G. Robinson's children's book, with the story transported to Japan's northern island of Hokkaido. Ghibli has a history of reinterpreting European children's stories into Japanese settings.

When Marnie Was There will be released in Japan by Toho on July 19.

Twitter: @GavinJBlair