At the start of the year, Yomiuri Shimbun ran an interview with Toshio Suzuki and Goro Miyazaki to discuss the upcoming Ghibli feature, Kokuriko-Zaka Kara. They revealed the first "image board," which is shown here. It looks more like a screenshot from the movie itself than an image board. Either way, it looks fantastic, in the Ghibli naturalist tradition.
Ghibli has announced that July 16 for Kokuriko-Zaka Kara's release date. There is no word yet on whether the earthquake and tsunami will affect production in any way, or push back that date, but that would be perfectly understandable. If anything happens, I'm sure they'll make an announcement.
Kara's official image album, "Piano Sketch Collection," will be released on May 18. This is the traditional soundtrack CD that features music inspired by the movie, as well as any music or songs that appear in the film.
T. Ishikawa was kind enough to send the newspaper photos, and he has translated the highlights of the press conference. No doubt this is old news by now, but I still wanted to share it with everyone:
In this conference Suzuki mentioned that he suggested three choices to Goro after Gedo Senki (Tales From Earthsea):
1. Continue a director
2. Back to the museum
3. Go another way
Suzuki mentioned that he said to Goro, "If this second film is bad, you may be dismissed".
Suzuki and Hayao Miyazaki suggested Kokuriko-zaka project in December 2009. The storyboard is not yet completed (Arrietty production had begun after storyboard completion). Suzuki also revealed that Hayao Miyazaki does not yet recognize Gedo Senki.
Suzuki says "He (Goro) considerably grows up by this film. I remembered Musashi Miyamoto.
Musashi studies in Hakuro Castle for three years and comes out. Then, he becomes a very excellent man."
The reporter asks Suzuki a question: "How does Hayao Miyazaki feel that Goro directs this film?"
Suzuki replies: Miya-san says "If make one film, he/she is a director. Decide the later thing by oneself."
According to Suzuki, Miyazaki uses Cutback/Cutaway a lot in the script for the first time. And in this film, a model of a school drama, classroom and bad person principal do not appear.
Suzuki revealed that Katsuya Kondo does Character Design (and probably Animation Director). Suzuki recommended character design-style of Hayao Miyazaki to Goro. Because the audience is familiar with character design of Hayao Miyazaki. According to Suzuki, background work is decided by a representative system. There does not seem to be a selected art director.
Suzuki exlains: It is said that Japan does not have spirit. Why did Japan become like this. Postwar, Japan grew up highly, and bubble economy burst open, and Japan was given the decisive blow by Lehman Shock. Miya-san said "When did such times begin ? It is the Tokyo Olympics". Demolish all the old things and make a new thing. It was absolutism.
According to Suzuki, another reason for choosing 1963 is because Miyazaki entered Toei in this year.
My heartfelt thanks to T. Ishikawa for all his dedication and hard work. He is arguably the one person most responsible for Ghibli news reaching the outside world. Let's hope he and his family are safe and sound.