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2020-04-06

2nd Anniversary of Isao Takahata's Passing


April 5 marks the second anniversary since the passing of animation legend and Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata. His loss continues to be profound, but we are blessed with a career of animated masterworks that span five decades. His work will stand the test of time and his legend will continue to grow.

In the United States, all of Takahata's Studio Ghibli features are available on DVD and Blu-Ray, courtesy of GKIDS. Of the pre-Ghibli period, Lupin the 3rd: The Complete First TV Series is available on DVD, and Horus, Prince of the Sun is available on DVD and Blu-Ray, all courtesy of Discotek Media.

The titles yet to be released on our shores include Heidi, Girl of the Alps, 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother (aka Marco), Anne of Green Gables, Jarinko Chie, Gauche the Cellist and The Story of Yanagawa Waterways. In addition, the 2003 anthology film Winter Days, of which Takahata contributed one segment, remains exclusive to Japan. Fan translations for all of these works do exist and can be downloaded online or seen on YouTube (visit the Videos sections for more details). The DVD and Blu-Ray for Gauche does include English subtitles, so you are welcome to import.

Much thanks to Studio Ghibli Weblog for their image of Takahata with his anime characters. Don't forget to visit their site and share with friends and family!

2020-04-03

Animal Crossing Meets Studio Ghibli







Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the newest installment in Nintendo's beloved series of cartoon virtual communities, where you move into a small town, build a house and spend your days and nights running errands, catching fish, growing trees and making arts and crafts. Its world is an idyllic rural dreamscape where you can relax, chat with friends, share fabric patterns and chase fireflies.

Studio Ghibli makes a perfect match for this laid-back videogame, and it's a joy to see fans bring the two worlds together. I found a sampling of screenshots from Animal Crossing that show off players' Ghibli creations, including costumes, flags and paintings. Some have even recreated the characters from the movies themselves, as shown in these photos. It's cute, it's fun and it's the perfect remedy for  the continuing quarantine.

So consider that your homework assignment: stay indoors, play videogames and create some Ghibli artwork to share with others.

2020-04-02

Ghibli Park Reveals New Concept Drawings

Progress on the highly anticipated Studio Ghibli theme park in Japan are proceeding rapidly. In February, Ghibli Park, Inc., a joint venture between the studio and newspaper Chunichi Shinbun, revealed new conceptual drawings and details of the park.

The Ghibli Park will incorporate several large sections inspired by the studio's movies such as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. The illustrations reveal details of the Ghibli Large Warehouse (Ghibli no Daisoko) and Youth Area (Seishun no Oka).



This first illustration depicts a shopping street in the Warehouse district, inspired by the theme park shown at the beginning of Spirited Away. Cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops will be found here.



This second drawing shows two large buildings: a blue one that will be used to host permanent exhibitions, and a yellow one that will house a 170-seat theater.




This third and fourth illustrations depict Youth Hill, a large forest area that will include a Cat's Office, inspired by the kingdom of cats in The Cat Returns. It will also feature a tall, Western-styled building inspired by Castle in the Sky and Howl's Moving Castle, as well as the Ghibli Museum.

These two areas, plus the third area, Dodonko Forest, will be completed in time for the park's grand opening in the fall of 2021. Two additional areas will be completed and open to the public in the following year.

Ghibli Park is expected to receive one million visitors in its first year, then 1.8 million the following year once all sections are opened. Construction began in 2019 with a budget of 31 billion Yen ($287 million), plus an additional 3 billion Yen ($27.78 million) for planning and conception.

Ghibli Blog's Greatest Hits: The Top Nine Articles


Since Ghibli Blog is now beginning its 15th season, I wanted to celebrate by taking a look at this website's top nine articles. These are the most popular posts based on page views and are based on current stats. Let's take a look at our greatest hits and the stories behind them:


1. Mononoke Hime (1980) - The Original Miyazaki Book (2008)

This post originally posted translated pages of the 1980 Mononoke Hime book that composed of storyboards for an unrealized animation project. This post sat unnoticed for three years until an article on io9 brought a lot of new traffic. Internet forums and message boards soon joined in, and word of Miyazaki's storybook spread far and wide. In 2014, Viz Media announced that they would publish the Mononoke book in the US, and so I deleted most of the pages on my post, leaving a sample of pages and encouraging readers to buy the new book.

Was Ghibli Blog responsible for making that happen? Eh, probably not, but who knows?


2. Totoro is Not the God of Death (2007)

I read about a conspiracy theory floating around Japan that My Neighbor Totoro is actually a horror movie based on a real-life massacre of two children. In this telling, Totoro is a gruesome "God of Death" who functions like a fuzzy Grim Reaper who carries children to their graves. I wrote this post to gently debunk the idea. As the conspiracy meme swept the internet, my post was used as a handy rebuttal.

Unfortunately, the "Sayama Incident" conspiracy theory refused to die, which led me to writing a more forceful rebuttal ten years later. Even Studio Ghibli was forced to make a public statement debunking the meme.


3. BREAKING: Disney to Acquire Studio Ghibli in 2014, Takahata and Miyazaki to Retire (2013)

This was my great April Fools joke on Ghibli Blog, and it caused panic attacks from fans throughout the world. And the best part is that they remained scared after realizing it was a prank. Comments continued through the following April. The illustration was not created by me, but found online. I never knew who drew it, but it looks terrific and the joke could never have worked without it.


4. "This Page Intentionally Left Blank" (2011)

This was the Downloads page, one of the main menu items on the site. I posted links to movie and television downloads, largely Toei Doga and Pre-Ghibli works. Most of the links pointed to an anime fan site called Baka BT. A few years ago, they completely shut down their torrent downloads and have closed all new memberships to their forum.

In 2015, I closed everything down and just left the page blank. I didn't want to cause any trouble, definitely didn't want to be tagged as a "pirate" website. And so the page is now blank and unlisted.


5. Ghibli Museum Sketching Set - Miyazaki Teaches You How to Paint (2015)

This informative post shared details of a paint set that was sold at the Ghibli Museum in Japan. Created under Hayao Miyazaki's personal supervision, this set included a set of 24 watercolor paints and a full-color comic drawn by the director who teaches you how to paint, offering several examples of his own work. Ghibli Freaks familiar with Heidi and the House Foods commercials that appear on Ghibli ga Ippai Short Short.

This post remains one of the most popular on Ghibli Blog to this day, which is great. I'm happy to share useful little gems such as this. Somebody ought to produce that paint set in the West!


6. What's the Deal With the Disney Princesses? (2011)

A short, snarky post featuring a cool cut-and-paste collage asking hard questions of all the famed "Disney Princesses" that were enormously popular among children and Disney fans. This is one of those quick bits that I'd zip out in five minutes, mostly as a lark and never deserving more than five seconds' attention. So, naturally, the internet grabbed it and ran wild for months.

It did spark a fascinating discussion about gender roles in Disney cartoons, both pro and con, and I think that's a good thing.


7. Heidi, Girl of the Alps Arrives on Blu-Ray (2012)

The arrival of the magnificent Blu-Ray box set of the landmark 1974 anime classic sparked interest from international fans, many of whom grew up watching Heidi and similar anime shows as children. This is a good example of a solid news article that connects with readers, and it demonstrates the popularity of Heidi around the world. This Blu-Ray set really ought to be released globally, but I fear the legal costs surrounding broadcast rights and dubbed soundtracks make this all but impossible.


8. Studio Ghibli Blu-Rays (Japan) - 2012 Holiday Edition

Another informative news post, this time showing the then-growing library of Studio Ghibli Blu-Ray releases in Japan. These discs came packaged in cardboard cases and included color booklets and postcards of the original movie posters. At the time, very few Ghibli movies were available in the West on Blu-Ray or DVD, leading diehard fans to import shops to pay a premium price for the expensive JP discs.

Today, all of Ghibli's theatrical features are now available on Blu-Ray, courtesy of our friends at GKIDS. Back in 2012, we weren't nearly so lucky. Heck, I remember importing DVDs back in 2005 before anybody knew any of these movies existed. How times have changed.


9. Studio Ghibli Feature Film Blu-Rays (2012)

This article was published in January 2012, whereas the previous article appeared in December. Once again, we see images of all the Studio Ghibli movies released on Blu-Ray in Japan, all of which look and sound fantastic and beat the pants off anything Disney was doing. At the time this article posted, Japan had eight movies on BD, while the US had only two. And those two, Nausicaa and Ponyo, both had problems with picture or sound that irritated fans.

Have I mentioned lately how much we all love GKIDS for their glorious treatment of Studio Ghibli? Go buy all their Blu-Rays as quickly as possible!

2020-04-01

Happy 14th Birthday to Ghibli Blog



A nice (and slightly belated) happy birthday to Ghibli Blog, which launched in late March, 2006. Here's a photo of a really cool Totoro-themed cake.

I spent most of today doing the annual spring cleaning, updating the links and content in the Reviews, Library and Videos sections so that everything is current.

Finally, this website has now surpassed five million page views. Hooray!

Toei Doga Movie Trailers: From Hakujaden to Sinbad




A YouTube member named Kenshiro Minami has posted a video compilation of trailers for the first six Toei Doga animated feature films. This is a terrific find that I am happy to share with you.

As we all know, Toei Doga was the leading animation studio in Japan's postwar years, growing into a powerhouse that trained, educated and inspired an entire generation of animators. Nearly every famous anime artist or director from the 1970s and 1980s got their start at "Toei University." And that includes Isao Takahata, Hayao Miyazaki and their many friends with whom they crafted so many classic films and television shows.

The movies featured in this compilation include: Hakujaden (1958), Shonen Sarutobe Sasuke (1959), Saiyuki (1960), Anju to Zuzhiomaru (1961), The Adventures of Sinbad (1962) and Wanpaku Oji no Orochi Taiji (1963).

All of these movies were given limited theatrical release in the US, usually with a change in title, all-star cast and the addition of new musical numbers. These are interesting historical curios that are worth checking out, and are available on VHS and LaserDisc. Alakazam the Great (aka Saiyuki) was even released on Netflix and Amazon Video.

Of course, none of these Westernized variants are anywhere as good as the Japanese originals, which stand as true animated classics of a bygone era, as good as animated classics from Russia, France and America. They remain almost entirely unknown, and only a small number of titles were released outside of Japan on DVD. In Japan, Toei is only now beginning to open the vaults for complete restorations on Blu-Ray, but only for a select few.

In the States, only three Toei Doga films were released on DVD, all by Discotek: Horus, Prince of the Sun, Puss in Boots and Animal Treasure Island. The latter two are now out-of-print and highly collectible, while Horus has also been released on Blu-Ray.

The first six Toei Doga features represent an era of complete creative freedom and dominance. In 1963, manga legend Osamu Tezuka, who collaborated on Saiyuki, Anju and Sinbad, founded his own animation studio called Mushi Productions and moved into television, sweeping in the TV anime era with Tetsuon Atom, aka Astro Boy. The winds of change were sweeping through the industry, and before long, nothing would ever be the same again.

2020-03-31

Hayao Miyazaki's Eulogy of Isao Takahata (English Subs)




It's hard to believe that Isao Takahata has been gone for nearly two years. His presence and impact found in his work continues to shine and inspire us, and will continue to do so for many years to come. But his loss is equally profound and will always linger in our hearts.

At the public memorial service at the Ghibli Museum, Hayao Miyazaki offers a touching tribute to his lifelong friend, colleague and rival, offering a couple personal anecdotes from their days at Toei Doga in the 1960s. We still feel the emotional weight of his words.

Studio Ghibli Full of Food







Studio Ghibli Full of Food (スタジオジブリの 食べものがいっぱい) is a wonderful little picture book that showcases the many examples and varieties of cooking in Studio Ghibli's movies. Food is an essential part of life, and features prominently in the studio's many animated features. We see all aspects of preparation, mixing, baking and eating. We are also shown many examples of dishes from around the world, from Japanese ramen and rice to Western casseroles, desserts and even the classic eggs-and-bacon combo. Hmm...I could go for some of that bacon right about now.

The layouts of this book are highly colorful and packed with screenshots from your favorite Ghibli films. Text is light and easy and also includes hiragana characters over the Chinese kanji to help you pronounce the words. If you cannot read the text, at least you will be happy with the artwork.

This book is part of a series of Ghibli-themed books. Other themes include vehicles and animals, and if you enjoy this volume, you should pick up the entire set.

Kudos, as always, to Halycon Dreams for their excellent post on this book, including more photos. If you'd like to purchase a copy of the book, please do so through the Amazon link on their site.

My Life at Studio Ghibli: Toshio Suzuki Book Available in USA



Mixing Work With Pleasure: My Life at Studio Ghibli (Amazon Link)

Toshio Suzuki has worked tirelessly as the driving force behind Studio Ghibli since its founding, and his impact and influence is equalled only by the studio's co-founders Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. Many of the story elements, visual designs and marketing concepts hail from Suzuki. His role as the studio's main producer is critical to its success in Japan and throughout the world.

In 2018, Suzuki's memoirs, titled Mixing Work with Pleasure: My Life at Studio Ghibli, shares many great insights into the drama behind the scenes and his relationships with the directors, as well as Yasuyoshi Tokuma, the boss of Tokuma Publishing who was Ghibli's patron and financial backer until his death in 2000.

This excellent book was published in the US in 2018, fully translated by Roger Speares and published by the Japan Publishing Industry Foundation for Culture. If you are eager for an inside view of the workings of Studio Ghibli, you can't do better than this.

Aaron Long wrote a great essay on this book that you should check out.

Hayao Miyazaki: From Horus to Ghibli, or A Very Long Interview-Slash-Homework Assignment

A couple years back, I received a request from a student named Isabelle Lai. She was writing a school essay on Hayao Miyazaki and wanted me to share my thoughts on his work and career from Toei Doga to Studio Ghibli. Hopefully, I did overwhelm her with my long and detailed answers.

After much thought, I decided that I should share the entire interview here in the pages of Ghibli Blog. Hopefully, you will find it enjoyable and illuminating and spark new discussions about these great works of art. It's very long, so be prepared for a lengthy read. Enjoy!





Could you tell me a little bit about your career and your connection to Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli?


I’m part of that first generation of American anime fans, back when it was known as “Japanimation” mostly to diehards who would trade videocassettes at sci-fi conventions. There was a show called Star Blazers that aired when I was in early grade school, and I thought it was the most amazing thing in the universe, after Star Wars, of course. Years later, we were exposed to shows like Robotech and a lot of American cartoons that were animated in Japan, shows like Inspector Gadget and Transformers and Ducktales.


In the late 1980s, comic books were going through a transformation, thanks to Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Scott McCloud and, of course, Art Spiegelman, whose Maus became required reading in schools. There was this fantastic comic book (“ugh, it’s a graphic novel,” the teenagers would whine) from Japan called Akira. It seemed to take the worlds of Blade Runner and Neuromancer and fuse that to the gritty violence and dark realism from The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke and take it to a whole new level.


Then the Akira movie arrived in the States sometime in the early 1990s, and it just exploded like a thermonuclear bomb. There were a few previous attempts to bring Japanese animation to our shores, but they met varying degrees of resistance and either played in a handful of art-house theaters or disappeared on home video. Those works could be dismissed as “cheap, low budget, Saturday morning cartoons” by critics and animation lovers who worshipped at the feet of Walt Disney. Akira just blasted through all of that. It became the first major anime work to be seriously respected. And, of course, it scared the hell out of parents who probably thought it was another nice cartoon to pacify the toddlers. You know, like Bambi, except that Bambi’s mom gets her head shot clean off with blood splattered all over Thumper’s back side while the forest animals slash out endless strings of f-bombs.


Anyway. I loved Akira and sometime around 1994 I found myself scouring the neighborhood video rental stores for more “Japanimation” to discover. I don’t remember any names, but the movies I watched were mostly terrible, low-budget affairs. One movie depicted God as a giant green slug who drove a flying saucer straight into the side of Mount Fuji. I have no idea what that was about. I lost interest shortly after.


In the late ‘90s, you could be expected to find at least one really good anime film per year making its way to the States. There was Ghost in the Shell, which I thought was pretty good but a little stiff. Ninja Scroll was very popular and would get played often when at a co-worker’s apartment for Saturday night binge drinking. I don’t remember the plot very much, only the ridiculous amount of sex and gore which always embarrassed me at the time.


The “big” anime movie for 1999 was Princess Mononoke. I knew nothing about the filmmakers, but I really enjoyed this movie. It felt more mature and disciplined than all the others, and actually had compelling characters and an interesting story. Over the next couple of years, I would stop and watch the movie anytime it was showing on cable, and my respect for it grew and grew. A housemate at the time told me that Mononoke was his favorite animated movie ever, and I found myself agreeing with him.

2019-12-10

Artist Spotlight: Gio Gio Art



I found this terrific illustration of San the Princess Mononoke at the Reddit Ghibli thread. It was created by a person named "Gio Gio Art," who also has an Instagram account at "Giorgio.rt."

This piece has a great sense of tension in its pose, a sense of action and motion. I think it defines the character very well, who is defined by action and assertiveness. San is not a "cutesy" anime character but a tough gal who will whomp you six ways from Sunday.

I also enjoy the color palette with its light brown fur and ample use of empty space. The red tones on the mask are especially nice as well, as are the blood splatters. All in all, great work.

3000 Leagues in Search of Mother (Marco): The Series Playlist




I present to you 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother (aka "Marco") in its entirety. This 52-episode series was the 1976 season of World Masterpiece Theater, and the second in Isao Takahata's celebrated Heidi-Marco-Anne trilogy of masterworks.

This video contains the playlist for all 52 episodes, presented in Japanese audio with English subtitles.

Now a few quick notes about its creators. This series was a teamwork collaboration between Takahata (director), Hayao Miyazaki (layout, scene design) and Yoichi Kotabe (character design). It is the direct followup to Heidi, Girl of the Alps, which became a groundbreaking success in Japan and throughout the world. The trio had begun at Toei Doga and continued as a team for a number of years, first teaming with alum Yasuo Otsuka on Moomin and Lupin the 3rd, then working tirelessly on the Pippi Longstocking project that was notoriously scuttled by author Astrid Lindgren, then finally to Heidi.

Heidi succeeded because the trio of Takahata-Miyazaki-Kotabe worked together as a team, contributing story ideas and characters together. With the Marco series, however, Takahata took a more firm control over the story, pushing relentlessly in the direction of emotionally-charged melodrama. Its scale became epic, spanning two continents, an ocean and a widely varied cast of characters, and all stylized after the Italian Neo-realists. Flights of fancy or imagination are almost nonexistent. Marco's journey is not driven by wonder or discovery, but obsession, suffering and pain. Imagine the Book of Job starring James Dean and you'll have some idea of what to expect.

It would seem that Marco's obsession reflected Takahata's, and is it said that his relationship with Miyazaki and Kotabe suffered as a result. By the end of the series, Kotabe walked away, effectively breaking up the band that had stuck together throughout the decade. He would return five years later to work with Paku-san again in the 1981 movie Jarinko Chie, and later with Miyazaki in Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind, but his animation career began to decline. In the mid-1980s, he found himself working at the most unlikeliest of places: Nintendo. There, he would help with art and character design for many of the company's most beloved videogames, including Super Mario Kart and Pokemon. Remember Pikachu? That's Kotabe.

Hayao Miyazaki would finally begin his solo directing career (not counting the 1972 Yuki's Sun pilot film) with the spectacular 1978 series Future Boy Conan. Yasuo Otsuka, who served as the animation director, famously noted how his friend's relentless creative drive and work ethic had exploded during his time as Paku-san's right hand. And while Miyazaki did return one final time to serve as layout/scene designer for Anne of Green Gables in 1979, he left the series after 13 episodes to join TMS's Telecom studio to direct his first feature-length movie, Lupin the 3rd: The Castle of Cagliostro, once again with old friend Otsuka by his side.

The next time Takahata and Miyazaki worked together was on the infamous Nemo movie project, traveling to California as members of the Japan delegation. Both walked away over creative differences, and while Takahata continued to thrive with the wonderfully sublime 1982 film Gauche the Cellist and the 1982-83 TV version of Jarinko Chie, his colleague struggled after several years of commercial and creative failures.

Miyazaki retreated to his first love, drawing manga comics, creating a serial comic for Animage Magazine called Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind in 1983. After a long period of begging and pleading by the magazine's young editor, Toshio Suzuki, Miyazaki was convinced to direct a film adaptation of Nausicaa which was released to great success in 1984. Its success led directly to the founding of Nibariki, Miyazaki's production company, and, of course, Studio Ghibli, which found its first commercial success in 1989 with Kiki's Delivery Service*. The rest, as they say, is history.

Takahata, as I've said, continued to enjoy success as a director, and he was the top dog at the time. He helped Miyazaki by guest-directing two episodes of Conan, and brought along young animator Yoshifumi Kondo as the animation director/character designer for Anne of Green Gables. Kondo had previously worked on Lupin Series One and he quickly became Paku-san's new prized student, the right-hand-man for the famous "director who cannot draw" in Grave of the Fireflies, Omohide Poro Poro and Pom Poko. Kondo died in 1998 from a brain aneurism, leaving Takahata reportedly guilt-stricken over working his prodigy so hard**.

3000 Leagues in Search of Mother sits at a fascinating crossroads in these three careers. It represents the peaks of the post-Toei years, drives the evolution of 1970s anime and sets the stage for Studio Ghibli. It represents a beginning, middle and end of converging eras. And despite any creative turbulence behind the scenes, this series remains a masterpiece of dramatic storytelling and naturalist animation. In my opinion, it is the greatest of the Heidi-Marco-Anne trilogy, the richest and deepest and most compelling, filled with mythic grandeur.

Watch this series. Just put down whatever is on your Netflix playlist and watch this instead.

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(*Note: That's correct, the first three Ghibli features -- Laputa: Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies -- all lost money in their initial theatrical runs. Their success, especially Totoro, would come years later with home video and merchandising.)

(**Note: This story came from a rather strange rant last year by Toshio Suzuki, who accused the late Takahata of being a tyrant who drove away talent and led Ghibli to ruin. It's very odd as this portrayal of the director as a hotheaded control freak is greatly at odds with his image as the epitome of zen cool ("walking logic" in Mamoru Oshii's words) and more descriptive of Miyazaki.)

2019-12-06

Artist Spotlight: Iggy Starpup

Studio Ghibli felt embroideries



Phoenix-based artist and illustrator Courtney Doom, aka Iggy Starpup, has created a series of lovingly crafted Studio Ghibli felt embroideries. According to her bio profile, she crafts pop culture-themed embroidery hoop art and subjects also include Harry Potter and Pokemon.

Iggy Starpup is an arts graduate of Arizona State University and enjoys crafting, drawing, photography and film. You can purchase her work directly from her Etsy page.

More photos of her Studio Ghibli craft works are available below the jump.

(h/t to the excellent Ghibli Collector)

Poster: My Neighbor Totoro (China)



This charming and artistic poster design for My Neighbor Totoro was created for the film's theatrical release in China on December 2018. It marked Studio Ghibli's long-awaited foray into mainland China and has already been followed by Spirited Away in June of this year. Four more Ghibli features are planned for release as well: Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle and The Wind Rises.

I enjoy the spaciousness of this poster design, very much in a classical Asian style of utilizing negative space. You can almost feel the fur of the giant Totoro as the two girls wade through, like walking through boundless fields of grass. The text simply describes the title, Hayao Miyazaki's name and the voice cast. No need for any tag line or description as this is a well-known children's classic.

Chinese movie lovers, of course, have long been able to watch My Neighbor Totoro on home video formats, to say nothing of pirated bootlegs. But this theatrical release was a first and marks a new development in the growth of Ghibli across the globe. Whatever becomes of the studio, its catalog titles are guaranteed a long and bright future.


Hakujaden Blu-Ray Box Released in Japan



This is great news for all animation lovers. Toei Doga's seminal 1958 animated feature Hakujaden is now available in Japan on Blu-Ray. This wonderful box set includes a treasure trove of memorabilia, including a copy of the poster, illustrations, newspaper clippings and a color booklet.

Hakujaden is Japan's first feature-length animated movie, as well as the first animated movie in color. The story is based on a Chinese folk myth of a magical serpent who transforms into a young woman and falls in love with a young man. She is pursued by a monk, and a pair of cartoon animals tag along for the adventure. The key animation was drawn entirely by the studio's founding veterans, Yasuji Mori and Akira Daikubara, and young animators who began their careers here include Yasuo Otsuka, Reiko Okuyama and Akemi Ota, as well as visionary anime director Rintaro, who I absolutely adore for his masterful 2001 Metropolis that he created with Katsuhiro Otomo.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that English subtitles are included in this release, which is extremely fortunate for those of you who have not seen it. A fansub translation was released a decade ago, but it has completely disappeared since then as the related anime sites have disbanded or shut down. It would have helped greatly if Toei would include subtitles in their home video releases, now that their legendary movies are (finally) arriving on Blu-Ray.

The Hakujaden Blu-Ray is available on Amazon JP for 10,258 Yen, or roughly $94USD. Be sure to spend a few minutes begging your favorite anime publisher to pick up this title for a Western release. Hey, GKIDS, is anybody listening? Discotek? Anybody? Bueller?

More Ghibli Blog Posts To Discover