Panda Kopanda, also known in English-speaking countries as Panda! Go, Panda!, is a Japanese animated film regarded as one of the classics. Released in 1972, it was one of Hayao Miyazaki's first screenplays to be adapted to film and marked the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration with director Isao Takahata, which would result in the creation of famed Studio Ghibli in 1985. Papa panda was the inspiration for Totoro, and it's easy to see the resemblance.

Now, with a new panda craze rocking Japan thanks to baby Xiang Xiang in Ueno Zoo, Panda Kopanda is relevant once again, just as it was during the original panda craze when China lent a pair of giant pandas to Japan as part of panda diplomacy.

To celebrate the film's 45th anniversary, it is returning to movie theaters, along with its sequel, Panda Kopanda and the Rainy-Day Circus, in a completely new digitally remastered version!

If you have plans to be in Japan any time after February 17th, this is a golden opportunity to see this beloved classic in bright colors as the creators intended it.

The film will be playing at 68 screens throughout Japan in AEON cinema theaters, 7 theaters from Feb. 17 and 61 theaters (including two in Tokyo) from Feb. 24.

While supplies last, movie-goers will also receive one of these three special commemorative Panda Kopanda coasters.

You can also buy a copy of "Adochan to Panda Kopanda" a new CD single self-cover of the original theme song "Mimichan to Panda Kopanda" by voice actress Ado Mizumori, seen here in a promotional shot with Papa Kopanda:

When you go the movie theater and enjoy the film, look very carefully during a pan shot of a crowd at the zoo. You'll see cameos by Lupin and Jigen of Lupin the Third!

More details are available at the official Panda Kopanda website here.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.