Miyazaki Riffs #5

Here is a perfect example of two of Miyazaki's most important works colliding into one another. The first shot comes from the first episode of Heidi, Girl of the Alps, from 1974. On this series, Miyazaki was responsible for layout and continuity for the entire series. What that means is that he designed and drew the layouts for all the locations, and worked with director Takahata on all the camera shots. He drew endless sketches from every conceivable angle, in tremendous detail. This is an exhausting job for any one person to do for a single episode, let alone 52. It was something the endlessly hungry Miyazaki was eager to take advantage of, and is another potent reminder of the legendary workaholic drive.

Miyazaki seemed very fond of this particular shot of Heidi running up the mountainside, because he used that same shot two more times: this next shot comes from the opening of every episode of Future Boy Conan, in 1978. It's essentially the exact same shot, with a similar amount of detail.

Miyazaki served again on Layout for the first 15 episodes of Anne of Green Gables in 1979, before moving on to direct Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro over at Telecom. Here, again, he quotes Heidi in episode 9. This is the episode when Anne Shirley meets Diane Barry. This moment occurs after they've exchanged their vows in the garden.

It should be noted that Takahata was very fond of Heidi, as it was one of the great triumphs of his career. He pays homage with the occasional riff, although nowhere near as often as Miyazaki, who sometimes seems to be following Frank Zappa's idea of Conceptual Continuity. Next time, we'll take a look at some of Takahata's riffs, including some more from Heidi.


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