Thursday, December 13, 2012

Two new Studio Ghibli films in the works for 2013 - let's hope the Mayans were wrong

Christmas has come early for fans of heartwarming anime!

Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli announced that it is planning to release two new movies this summer.  Apparently convinced that the Mayans were wrong about this whole end of the world thing, and that nothing else but another Studio Ghibli movie can compete against a Studio Ghibli movie, the two films will open across Japan on the same day.

The first announced film, Kaze Tachinu ("The Wind Rises") follows the life of Dr. Jiro Horikoshi, the chief engineer behind many of Japan's WWII fighter planes including the famous Zero. It apparently also mixes in elements from the life story of Hori Tatsuo, a novelist who wrote a maudlin book that shares the same name as the movie (Kaze Tachinu) set in a tuberculosis ward.

Kaze Tachinu sounds like a real toe-tapper in terms of its source material, but then Studio Ghibli has been moving in some rather weird directions lately. Happily, Kaze Tachinu will be directed by no less a man than Hayao Miyazaki himself and it marks his first theatrical release since 2008's Ponyo.

The second Studio Ghibli film announced is Kaguya-Hime no Monogatari (“The Tale of Princess Kaguya”), and it looks much closer to the classic fairy tale that Ghibli has become known for in the west. The film is an adaptation of the folktale of the bamboo cutter, which centers around an old bamboo cutter finding a baby girl inside of a mystical, glowing stalk of bamboo.

Without giving too much of the story away, it turns out the girl (Princess Kaguya) is a from the capital of the moon who grows up on earth but is afraid of being taken away by the moon people.  Yes, the moon people.

Interestingly, Kaguya-Hime no Monogtari is being directed by Isao Takahata who is best known for his work on the incredibly beautiful - and incredibly depressing - Grave of the Fireflies.

It's not known at present when or if either of these two films will make it out of Japan, but if they follow the lead of Ponyo or Arrietty we might only need to wait for a year or two before they see a theatrical release.

This is, again, assuming that the Mayans were wrong and we'll all live to see 2013.  Merry Christmas!