Just when you thought Studio Ghibli was out, they pull you back in.
Today, the studio unveiled the first of three planned animated short films for Marubeni Power. This campaign promotes Japan's "Plan G," a new electric power option that Marubeni Power is offering to homes as an alternative to nuclear power. Studio Ghibli, and especially Hayao Miyazaki, are strong opponents of nuclear ever since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that led to the Daiichi power crisis in 2011.
This film is based on Japan's oldest art scroll, Chōjū-Jinbutsu-Giga Emaki, or "Scrolls of Cartoons of Birds, Animals, and People." These scrolls are among Japan's most famous and influential artworks; Isao Takahata wrote a book about this very subject, 12th Century Animation, in 1999. Needless to say, I would love to score the US publishing rights for that book.
This first short will begin airing in Japan on April 1; two more are promised and will follow in short order. Longtime Ghibli veteran Katsuya Kondo directed and animated this piece. Pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii provided the music, and Toshio Suzuki provides his own voice at the very end.
The short film plays below. Enjoy: