Happy New Year and best wishes to everyone. Here's hoping the food is warm, the football is fun, and the hangovers are manageable. Here is Hayao Miyazaki's annual New Years Day card, and posted on Studio Ghibli's website. Has a nice Richard Scarry quality, doesn't it?
In this coming year, Father Miyazaki will finish his latest movie, a short film for the Ghibli Museum, while he assists son Goro on his sophmore feature, Kokuriko Zaka Kara. The Borrower Arrietty will arrive around the world on the big screen and on video, to great anticipation. On Blu-Ray, Castle in the Sky and My Neighbors the Yamadas are available in Japan, Nausicaa is coming to the US in March, and Arrietty will land in Japan and France this summer. Oh, and don't forget that Tales From Earthsea will arrive on DVD this March.
In the coming weeks, the long-awaited Heidi fansub project (!!) will see its completion, and we will finally be able to experience what is arguably Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece. Hopefully, more of the classic Toei Animation films will become available. Hey, maybe 2011 will finally be the year that Toei reissues their "Golden Age" movies (1958-72) on DVD and Blu-Ray! Those existing discs were released over a decade ago, and it shows. I want Horus on Blu-Ray..and with good subtitles!
By the end of this year, Ghibli will have announced their next feature film (for summer 2012), and hopefully announcements of Miyazaki and Takahata's next feature film. I suspect this will be the transitional year for the studio, as plans for the post-Miyazaki age are laid out. At this point, I do believe Studio Ghibli will continue; Arrietty's spectacular success was the home run that was so desperately needed. How will that future play out? In what manner will Ghibli evolve? Will the new directors have greater freedom to create outside of the established Heidi paradigm?
One personal request: Please give us another Yoshiyuki Momose anime! I'm such a great fan of his work; I just thew on the Ghibli Short Short DVD a couple nights ago, and Momose's three Capsule videos are as stunning and imaginative as ever. His 2009 film Piece was also excellent, and I'm always eager for more. I am curious to learn why he hasn't made the jump to feature-length movies, but perhaps he feels the short-form is more to his style. In this realm, he's brilliant, a true peer to Miyazaki and Takahata.
Overall, 2010 was an excellent year for Ghibli Freaks, and 2011 promises to be even more eventful and exciting. Oh, and by the way, Conversations on Ghibli/The Ghibli Blog turns five years old this spring. We'll definitely have to do something to mark the occasion. Enjoy the holiday!