We’ve never made it much of a secret that most of the staff around here doesn’t like anime movies. I personally don’t have anything specifically against them. I just haven’t found any that really appeal to me. Of course, anime fans are quick to try to remedy this, and I’ve always been told that I should stat with the films of Miyazaki, who probably makes movies with the most potential mainstream appeal, and has even garnered Oscar attention with some of his stories.

Anime fan-site Ghibli World.com thinks Miyazaki’s next picture, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, is very likely to break into the mainstream, not only due to an exceptionally high quality story, but also because of the people providing the English dub work on the picture. The cast for the English version will include as diverse a crowd as Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, Betty White, and Cloris Leachman. Pretty eclectic mix, eh?

I don’t pretend to be an expert in these areas, but I have to wonder if a vocal cast is enough to push the movie toward the mainstream. After all, some of Miyazaki’s other pictures have had a pretty popular vocal cast (Princess Mononoke included Claire Danes, Billy Crudup, Billy Bob Thornton, and Minnie Driver, while Spirited Away featured Michael Chiklis and Daveigh Chase), but none of them have truly won over mainstream audiences. What makes anyone think Matt Damon will be the guy to do so? I mean, his video with Sarah Silverman earlier this year was pretty funny, but just providing a voice for an animated movie doesn’t seem to be quite the same.

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