Here is the second and most recent handbill, or "chirashi," for Miyazaki's Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea. It's wonderful and beautiful, just as we always expect. This gives us a good opportunity to examine the artwork and the movie's visual style. There is definitely a move towards simplicity, towards the iconic. Gedo Senki did this, and it was just about the only thing I liked about that movie. And Wall-E, of course, is very iconic. Does this now qualify as a movement, a new visual style in animation? Perhaps we are finally seeing the creative backlash against CGI's obsession with realism and detail and complexity.
Ponyo will echew CGI entirely, so perhaps there is something to this. Miyazaki and Takahata are famous for their nostalgia, and now they are the final great holdouts for traditional, hand-drawn animation. I often wonder what would have happened if Howl's Moving Castle was permitted to be shown on enough screens in the US. Would it have inspired a revival of classical animation? Would other studios return to their roots?
The background art for Ponyo is also different from the past, with more emphasis upon watercolors and pastels. There's a certain pastoral quality to the art style that really catches my eye. I can't wait to see what Miyazaki and Ghibli have in store for us.
I won't reprint all the translated text for you, in the hopes of avoiding any and all spoilers. I'll just post the final lines, which are quite poignant, and I'm sure will grab your interest. Mother and child are evoked, and this is really interesting. It's known that Ponyo began with Miyazaki's attempt to reconcile with his first son, Goro, whose family drama swirled all around Gedo Senki. The master filmmaker's relationship with his own mother was equally complex and troubling, and this was a theme he only treaded upon rarely. My Neighbor Totoro is probably the best example, but there's also a short speech in vol. 7 of Nausicaa that's simply heartbreaking. Perhaps this movie sees Miyazaki, ever the personal filmmaker, trying to make his peace with three generations of his family. We shall see, we shall see.
The text comes, once again, from GhibliWorld. Hmm. I really wasn't planning on pilfering all the vaults from that site; there just happens to be a lot of great news that should be shared. Be sure to send him your thanks when you can.
"A boy and a girl. Love and responsibility. Sea and life. In the age of psychoneurosis and anxiety, this is a story of a mother and child that Miyazaki Hayao depicts without any hesitance."