Karigurashi no Arrietty (The Borrower Arrietty) - Image Boards
Much thanks to GhibliWorld, as always, for sharing much-needed news from Japan on Studio Ghibli's newest movie, Karigurashi no Arrietty ("The Borrowers"). These photos come from Japanese television, presumably NHK. As per tradition, the network has the first scoop on Ghibli's project, including image boards and interviews with producer Toshio Suzuki.
I'm going to have to scour Youtube for a video of this broadcast. If I'm able to do so, I'll share it on the Ghibl Blog.
Now a few thoughts about these image boards. As always, the artwork is brilliant, very detailed. The patented Ghibli "look" is there, but these drawings don't seem derivative at all. It feels unique. That's a very real concern for Ghibli as it prepares for a post-Miyazaki future. The temptation, and popular demand, will be to hue to the formula, and safely copy the old Miyazaki classics - another Kiki, another Totoro, another Sen. The challenge is for the studio's next generation of artists to forge their own style.
I'm not willing to settle into formula and nostalgia just yet; I still want Studio Ghibli to surprise me. I still want to see something new. It's very clear that Hayao Miyazaki's presence is felt on this film, but I don't want him to overwhelm it. The young director, 36-year-old Yonebayashi Hiromasa, needs to discover his own voice.
I'm impressed with the art style from these image boards. I've always enjoyed how Studio Ghibli - and Heidi Marco Anne back in the '70s - adapts Western stories to Japan, joining the two cultures together. These characters are distinctly Japanese, set in a 19th Century Europe ala Heidi.
That's the name that darts out at me when I see these artworks, especially that first image board at top: Heidi. The layout of that house is nearly identical to the Grandfather's home from Heidi, down to the oven, the wooden beams, and the humble arrangements. Isao Takahata's neo-realism can still be felt today, 36 years later. I wonder how much influence Heidi has on director Hiromasa and the younger members of Ghibli's staff. Personally, I'd rather have one Heidi or Marco or Anne than a hundred Wall-E's, and I hope the naturalist tradition continues down the line.
Karigurashi no Arrietty is looking very, very good. I have very high hopes for this movie. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed until summer.