Disney has been receiving a lot of flack lately, due to what many people are saying is a mishandled marketing campaign for this week’s release of John Carter. The same might be said for the manner in which the Mouse House has been selling U.S. audiences on Pixar’s latest computer-animated production, this summer’s princess fairy tale, Brave.

Previous trailers for Brave have highlighted the film’s impeccable animation style, but mostly focused on the family-friendly humor and the “empowered princess” aspects of Pixar’s first venture into the realm of fairy tales. That changes with today’s new Japanese-dubbed trailer (with English subtitles) which features a whole lot of new footage, and dives right into the heart of the film’s darkly epic adventure storyline.

You can learn more about the actual plot of Brave – and the dangerous quest which the fire-haired Princess Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald) must take on therein – by watching the Japanese trailer (followed by the poster) for Brave, below:

Head on over to Disney’s Japanese site for the HD version (w/o subtitles)

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This Japanese promo for Brave makes it all too clear: Tangled with a bow and arrow, this ain’t. If anything, this new trailer makes the movie look more like a 3D animated variation on Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke (with a Scottish flavor).

Brave also comes off as an invigorating departure from previous Pixar titles; not only in terms of its dazzling Celtic aesthetic and Pictish design-inspired animation style, but also due to its grand-scale fable narrative which co-writer (and original director) Brenda Chapman has admitted was heavily influenced by scarier and more threatening stories set in faraway lands, as conceived by such authors as The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson.

Princess Merida faces a mystical challenge in 'Brave'

While Brave – which is also Pixar’s first film with a female protagonist – doesn’t look to feature so many of the nightmare-inducing elements often found in those famous storytellers’ “children’s tales,” the movie does come off as more ominous and action-packed than any of the studio’s prior releases; still, it appears to provide entertainment for both underage and adult moviegoers alike.

That’s all to say: Brave both looks and sounds like a nice return-to-form for Pixar, which should help to wipe away any lingering memories of last year’s underwhelming Cars 2.

Brave is slated to hit 2D and 3D theaters in the U.S. on June 22nd, 2012.

Source: Walt Disney Pictures [via Bleeding Cool]