Author Topic: Studio Ghibli  (Read 11894 times)

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Lottery

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Studio Ghibli
« on: April 08, 2014, 12:06:42 AM »
+6
So I really, really dig Studio Ghibli.

1. Princess Mononoke
An epic adventure which draws heavily from old Japan and forges its own mythical identity, which remains unmatched in quality and depth. A number of interesting and likable characters are present (except San maybe), especially Lady Eboshi who is arguably one of the most complex characters in the Ghibli Canon. The finest action-adventure there is.

2. Spirited Away
An enchanting folk fairytale, beautifully created. Absolutely delightful. A typically fantastic score by Joe Hisaishi. Brimming with originality. Hyperbole, hyperbole. This one scores high points on its setting alone. Like other Ghibli films, it features a young female protagonist coming to terms with the events around her as well as her own nature. There have been few film worlds rendered with such individuality and visual brilliance as Spirited Away.

3. Porco Rosso
Lean and fun. While it features the typical Miyazaki charm, Porco Rosso features more serious thematic power to it than it first appears. While Porco is a cool badass, his character is informed by some serious happenings. The ring of pilots sequence maybe one of the most powerful moments in a Ghibli film. It features all the classic hallmarks of Ghibli films and can be experienced as pure entertainment or something deeper.

4. My Neighbours the Yamadas
My personal favourite from Isao Takahata. Different from other Ghibli works, it does not follow a typical plot, it explores middle-class Japanese family life in the form of vignettes. Sharp and very funny, it really puts across the absurdity and wonder of family life. A fantastic selection of characters. Like most of Takahata's works, the whole spectrum of emotion is felt throughout the experience. It's one of the most visually different and gorgeous Ghibli films.

5.  Kiki's Delivery Service
A charming and heartwarming film about a young witch finding herself. There is no antagonist, no opposing force to the main character. It's just about self-discovery. This is another Miyazaki work where one simply just falls in love with the setting. There is just something so warm and loving about this film.

6. Howl's Moving Castle
Pure over-the-top Ghibli magic which is endlessly entertaining. The writing doesn't maintain its high quality towards the end but it doesn't even matter much as the execution is so superb and sincere. The English dub for this one is fantastic. Miyazaki at his most extravagant.

7. Only Yesterday
One of Takahata's adult dramas. A film that feels so real and honest. There's a sad sense of nostalgia throughout the film- the sense of a confusing and disconnected childhood or the feeling of looking back on the happy moments from so long ago. Also present is the uncertainty and confusion of adult life. The back and forth between the protagonist's present day life and her childhood past works well, especially with the distinction between art styles (ultra-realistic for present day and slightly stylised and washed out for the past). A sensitive and beautiful film.

8. Castle in the Sky
An ultra-compelling action adventure which features a great blend of humour and intense action. One of the few Ghibli films with a conventional antagonist. Fantastically structured and paced. Another great show of world-building as well, from the small towns etched into cliff-sides to Laputa itself.

9. Grave of the Fireflies
The most sombre and serious of Ghibli's films. Takahata claims that it isn't an anti-war film but the effect is undeniable. It's difficult to watch the despair and death these children face as their relationship and their actions are rendered with such a sense of truth and reality. Seeing the spirits of the children bathed in the red glow may be one of the most haunting things I've ever seen on screen.

10.  My Neighbour Totoro
A delightful film speaks for Ghibli as a brand and as an idea better than any other. Another Ghibli film where the drama is light or mostly amps up near the end. Much of enjoyment is felt in exploring and feeling the environment that is portrayed which such love and detail. Lovely characters and a pleasant setting. It actually improves on subsequent viewings. Great atmosphere, aided both by the art and Hisaishi's great score.

11.  From Up on Poppy Hill
Goro Miyazaki proves that he is a worthy successor to masters Miyazaki and Takahata by delivering his post-war drama From Up on Poppy Hill. The film is done in a formal style, full of restraint and elegance- somewhat like Ozu's work (I'm pretty sure I saw some pillow shots too!). The story takes a surprising twist at the midpoint which puts the relationship of the two main characters into question but the film resolves itself in a mostly satisfying way. This film makes me excited about the future of Goro Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.

12.  The Wind Rises
Hayao Miyazaki's final feature film, a meaningful and mature addition to the Ghibli canon. The film brings together many of Miyazaki's interests as well as aspects of his personal life, to create a film which feels original and touching. There is a sort of finality to the work but also a sense of hope, the urge to continue living, an idea which is central to the film. The film, while decidedly taking on a different approach to Miyazaki's earlier works, still feels distinctly Miyazaki. He even manages to incorporate a fantastical element to the film, which in no way detracts from the straightforward realism. Above all, I admire the way the film evolves into a true love story, because it feels heartfelt and it's handled differently to all other Ghibli films. I don't think Miyazaki could have finished his career with a more appropriate film.

13. Whisper of the Heart
The only directorial effort by Ghibli veteran Yoshifumi Kondo, who unfortunately died 3 years after its release. Whisper of the Heart is a drama which stays rooted in reality but the story itself is wonderful. The protagonist of the film is unique and prone to self-doubt, leading her to be quite an interesting central figure. The film features that typical Ghibli pleasantness which makes the actual emotional nature of the film even more powerful. There is a romantic element film to this film but it does not take the main stage as it focuses its attention on other ideas such as the will to prove oneself and the need to find an identity, making it a thematically rich feature. John Denver makes things a little awkward though.

14. Ponyo
Arguably the cutest Ghibli film. Pure entertainment that presents its themes at a kid-friendly level. The rise in drama isn’t entirely compelling but the focus on the colourful characters and the story-world is largely appealing. Visually stunning.

15. Pom Poko
Takahata's foray into fantasy, something more commonly associated with Miyazaki's works. Despite its superficially happy styling, this one has some dark themes and implications to it. In terms of the fantastic, it's clear that Takahata can stand up to Miyazaki. There's a central sequence in this film which is almost absurd with how brilliant it is, easily one of the best Ghibli fantasy sequences. This, like all of Takahata's films, demonstrates his range and willingness to experiment- he takes far greater risks than Miyazaki. The story is told in a fairly interesting manner, the sense of community to the events and the focus on a number of different characters makes it distinct. It's also the most bizarre Ghibli work, you won't see more magic scrotums in any other animated film.

16. Nausicaa of the Valley of The Wind
Solid action fare. A favourite of most Ghibli fans but I think Miyazaki has greatly surpassed this film- heck, he surpassed it on his next project (Castle in the Sky). Miyazaki was already accomplished by this stage but I feel he was still a little undeveloped here. This is a serious work and it shows the beginnings of 'True Ghibli Miyazaki'. Almost seems like this could share the same universe as Castle in the Sky. Though I have not read it myself, I hear the Manga is the more accomplished version of the story.

17. Ocean Waves
This is probably the most unheard of Ghibli film. Made for TV by Ghibli's younger staff, it's a short drama focussed on a few highschool students. It’s a surprisingly mature effort, I wish it could have been longer. It really depicts how confusing love can be and how we can't even understand how we truly see and feel about people. Probably the most grounded of Ghibli's work. The visual style is realistic, light and appealing and it is complemented by a unique soundtrack. People are complicated.

18. The Secret World of Arrietty
Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s first directorial effort. Visually perfect. A somewhat weak screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa but it's interesting enough. It's very clear that Yonebayashi could do something incredible with a stronger, more daring script supporting him. A modest but enjoyable adventure.

19. Tales of Earthsea
Goro Miyazaki's first attempt at the directing job without any prior experience. It almost works. There is no doubting the level of quality in the craft but the film becomes rather disengaging as it continues. It's disappointing, as the early parts of the journey are greatly intriguing. It hints at a stunning world and a grand adventure but for half of the film we're bogged down at a farm and a grey castle. The characters aren't particularly interesting and the protagonist is a very, very confused and confusing lad. Far too on the nose at times.

-add Kaguya atsp.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 09:48:54 AM by Lottery »

N

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2014, 10:13:02 AM »
+2
7. Only Yesterday
One of Takahata's adult dramas. A film that feels so real and honest. There's a sad sense of nostalgia throughout the film- the sense of a confusing and disconnected childhood or the feeling of looking back on the happy moments from so long ago. Also present is the uncertainty and confusion of adult life. The back and forth between the protagonist's present day life and her childhood past works well, especially with the distinction between art styles (ultra-realistic for present day and slightly stylised and washed out for the past). A sensitive and beautiful film.

Spoilers

I just finished this now, your description is fantastic. I'm about to commence gushing.

The film's structure works perfectly. You can barely recognize 10-year old Taeko in her grown up face. I'd love to say more about this but the words aren't coming tonight, I'll sleep on it.
The transitions, along with the art style create a vivid sense of nostalgia. This reminds me of Koreeda's Still Walking in that respect. They differ in context, but the themes certainly overlap. Still Walking builds a touching story and it's sense of nostalgia around the subsequent effects of a past tragedy over time. On the other hand, Only Yesterday has no tragedy other than time itself. That may be incorrect and it definitely doesn't do justice to the films, feel free to correct me if I'm completely wrong.

The characters are so human it feels like you've known them all your life. I found myself actually becoming emotionally attached to them, which is a rare thing for me. It could take me days of writing to find the right words to describe Only Yesterday so I'll keep the primitive analysis as short as I can. The ending was incredibly sweet, which reminds me of another film you could compare it with: Satoshi Kon's Millennium Actress, particularly in regards to it's handling of time.

Glad you made this thread, I'll be stopping by to discuss others that I watch/have watched in the future, unless I die or something.
Thanks.

tldr;
I really enjoyed Only Yesterday.

Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2014, 11:03:24 AM »
+2
Good, good. They've got an extraordinary catalogue which is most certainly worth checking out. Have you seen any others?

I do like what you mentioned about time in regards to both this and the Kon film. The unavoidable catalyst.

There such a strong sense of 'direction' and 'filmmaking' in Only Yesterday. It's entirely natural but I think it really makes Takahata stand out as strictly a 'director' unlike Miyazaki, the animator/director auteur. It's hard to describe but the film is so distinct and emotionally resonant, played out in Takahta's sense of human logic. There are some creative ideas and flourishes in the film which just seem so 'spot on' in that moment. The movie is based on a manga but it was actually Takahata's idea to have the entire adult Taeko aspect. It's hard to imagine the story without that dual-structure, there would be no point really.

Also, the film has one of the best main themes ever.


A little pissed off because a while ago I watched a making of documentary thing for this film and I can't find it (streaming) with English subs anymore. It was really interesting, it went on to discuss more than the film. Stuff about early Ghibli as well the curious working relationship between Miyazaki and Takahata (it's actually really fascinating, in this particular instance they don't talk to each other during production even though they're working on the same film- which is reflected in Goro Miyazaki's and his father's working relationship on From Up on Poppy Hill).
Anyway, Spanish subs here. Still an interesting watch.




Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2014, 07:17:07 PM »
+4
Might as well post these too, Ghibli's new year's cards. Drawn by Miyazaki (usually if not always?).










Alexandro

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2014, 09:24:00 AM »
+1
shit, there's a bunch of these titles I haven't seen. Thanks!

N

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2014, 04:15:03 PM »
0
Good, good. They've got an extraordinary catalogue which is most certainly worth checking out. Have you seen any others?

I do like what you mentioned about time in regards to both this and the Kon film. The unavoidable catalyst.

There such a strong sense of 'direction' and 'filmmaking' in Only Yesterday. It's entirely natural but I think it really makes Takahata stand out as strictly a 'director' unlike Miyazaki, the animator/director auteur. It's hard to describe but the film is so distinct and emotionally resonant, played out in Takahta's sense of human logic. There are some creative ideas and flourishes in the film which just seem so 'spot on' in that moment. The movie is based on a manga but it was actually Takahata's idea to have the entire adult Taeko aspect. It's hard to imagine the story without that dual-structure, there would be no point really.

I've seen Mononoke Hime   Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. Both great films, I lean a little more in the direction of Spirited Away, Mononoke was difficult to understand at the time I saw it. I might watch it again sometime. Right now I'm dying to see Totoro.

In hindsight, mentioning Still Walking was quite arbitrary, I don't think I explained the connection I made very well at all.
They're both very pretty. Human movies.

A little pissed off because a while ago I watched a making of documentary thing for this film and I can't find it (streaming) with English subs anymore. It was really interesting, it went on to discuss more than the film. Stuff about early Ghibli as well the curious working relationship between Miyazaki and Takahata (it's actually really fascinating, in this particular instance they don't talk to each other during production even though they're working on the same film- which is reflected in Goro Miyazaki's and his father's working relationship on From Up on Poppy Hill).

If I knew Spanish I'd very much enjoy this. I'll keep my eyes out.

Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2014, 09:10:22 AM »
+1

I am so happy Miyazaki made the Wind Rises. It's a beautiful film. Never has he made a work so personal and heartfelt.
In a way this feels truer than all his other films- since Porco Rosso anyway. Interestingly, he states that this film and Porco Rosso were foolish pursuits- his only two films not made for children. And perhaps he is opposed to the creation of these works because he's so close to the subject matter. Miyazaki, a pacifist who experienced his early life during WW2, has spent his entire life being obsessed with flight and aviation. In The Wind Rises, he brings together so many aspects of his life and makes something worthwhile of it. He even managed to incorporate his desire to create a film about the great Kanto Earthquake into this. It makes so much sense for this film to be his final film, producer Toshio Suzuki with his powers of persuasion and premonition must have felt the same way.

This film attempts to balance the ideas of death, war, life, art and inspiration- it places major emphasis on the will to live, moving forward and persevering. Miyazaki is a man focussed on oblivion, the end of everything- a collosal pessimist. But he has always tried to make positive films which inspire hope. Perhaps this film marks a change in his attitude or maybe it simply reinforces what he's been trying to do with his films for years. This is why he will always differ from Isao Takahata. Miyazaki is typically a more subjective filmmaker, Takahata is arguably more distant but he can sometimes/somehow be twice as affecting in his work. The Wind Rises embraces emotion and is possibly Miyazaki's most moving film, it certainly struck me with how tender it was. It didn't shy away from the romance at all.

I'm pleased to see that Miyazaki managed to keep his fantastical edge in this film despite its grounded nature. On reflection, the dream/fantasy elements actually comprise a fair bit of the film. Hisaishi's score is one of his best yet and I did notice some of his recurring melodic ideas in this one. The human voiced sound effects were also a surprising but interesting idea.

One point worth discussing is the controversy that the film raised, the creation of weapons of war or excessive smoking or whatever. There is mention of pointlessness of violence/war etc but Miyazaki chooses not to dwell on that particular topic for long. It's not necessary, too much emphasis on that would detract from the primary drama in the second half of the film. The commentary is mostly subtle. I've previously observed that Japanese right-wingers complain about the pacifism and lack of nationalism this film and I've also noticed people state that Miyazaki is an irresponsible filmmaker for making a movie about a warplane designer and dealing with the idea in such a 'light' manner. All that needs to be said about the implications of Horikoshi's actions are there in the film, and it fits into the story in a satisfying manner. I strongly recommend watching The Kingsom of Dreams and Madness because it's obvious they have given the issue a fair bit of thought and it overall provides a fascinating look into the creation of the film.

I believe my experience of the film was probably richer than others because of my understanding of the context but the quality of the filmmaking, the ideas behind it, the emotion etc can't be ignored. It's a great film either way. I can't imagine Miyazaki ending his feature film career in a more appropriate manner and it makes me doubly hyped to see what his buddy/rival Takahata has created for Kaguya-hime no Monogatari.

Will update OP list at some point.

Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2014, 10:01:56 AM »
0

Ooooooh.

Looks interesting. Looks kinda mysterious. Will probably be more emotionally affecting that Yonebayashi's last. Hope it's totally awesome.

Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2014, 05:55:52 PM »
+1
Bad news- announcing closure for the time being, to think about future strategies and shit, if they want to continue- will likely downsized into copyright maintenance company. Hopefully, they'll change their decision (for whatever reason). Sad news but they had a better run than pretty much everyone else. Ending with a streak of great films is a good way to end it.

But still.



Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2014, 07:59:02 PM »
+1
Dramatic US release trailer for Tale of the Princess Kaguya. Damn this movie looks good.

Pwaybloe

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2014, 10:09:58 PM »
+1
I'm sure the movie will be excellent, but I would hesitate to really make an opinion based on the trailer. The clip looks like a simple animated storyboard of a running girl.

Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2014, 10:55:13 PM »
+1
Well, to be fair, there is a 6 minute extended trailer out there as well as a bunch of reviews (it was released in Japan like last November), and there are a handful of interviews/features about the film/Takahata's artistic interests. I think it's kinda unfair to describe it as a simple animated storyboard, the look of the film is entirely intentional (to be expected from Takahata), drawing on Takahata's past decades of research. Takahata's a sort of expert on animation and Japanese art, in this film he's bringing together his appreciation of traditional Japanese styles as well foreign animators (Frederic Back). Takahata's spent the last 15ish years pursuing stuff academically rather making films (he had three projects at various stages of pre-prod research which I'm afraid he will ever get to make). It's good that he's finally released something (after the arduous production). Also, the original folk tale is pretty interesting. So there's a lot leading up to this film really.



His experimentation with art/animation styles seems like a logical continuation from his last feature film (though the Yamadas art style is pretty close to the original comic).

Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2014, 09:29:43 PM »
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Man, The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a magnificent film. It's pretty interesting to think about the film after watching The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness. Throughout half the documentary, people (mainly producers) were very concerned if Kaguya would ever get finished. Thank god it did. Takahata approaches a classic folktale with a incredible degree of artistry, sensitivity and humanity. In that way, it's like any other Takahata film.

Deeply emotional and human at its core, I was pleased to see the way this film managed to be very funny and heartwarming (I was promised a tearjerker over and over again). While being derived from the folktale, the focus is on the girl- her parents and her emotions. The protagonist appears as an individual with a great hunger for life and the world but at the same time has a restless sense of isolation, uncertain of her place. The film shows her at her highest and lowest points, it's hard to describe but at her lowest, she is depicted with a very convincing sense of depression- the sort of emotional depth Takahata is known for. It's reminiscent of Only Yesterday in some regards but it certainly makes sense as the next film after My Neighbors the Yamadas (I have to mention, Pom Poko also has relevance here).

I mentioned in previous posts that the art is a logical stylistic continuation of the Yamadas, I feel that Kaguya is a full realisation of some of the visual ideas present in Yamadas, but of course it is still considerably different to what has come before for Ghibli. It's perfectly well-suited to the story being told, while the art has an inherent Japanese quality to it, some of Takahata's non-Japanese animation influences are apparent. Line, form and colour are approached in a relatively unconventional manner. In that way, it truly seems unique and not something which is totally restricted to 'anime'. This is easily one of the best the best looking Ghibli films yet (seriously). Joe Hisaishi also shines here, providing a score which is traditional in nature (some of the Koto moments are absolutely stunning) but features a rather surprising sounding cue towards the end of the film.

I was initially concerned with its duration, but I did not feel the length at all. I imagine this mainly comes down to Takahata's direction and the incredible animation. His depictions of daily life and nature are as stunning and effortlessly beautiful as ever. I can imagine some audiences not enjoying some of these little digressions, this is understandable. Similarly, I can see people being disappointed with the actual story being told. While it is not a slave to the folktale, it is rather faithful. All of this becomes secondary to the concerns of the protagonist. The film does touch on a number of themes such as the life of (noble)women in the era, the inevitability of  fate, the inability to live the way one chooses, the idealised image of life etc this ultimately helps inform the nature of the protagonist (certainly her sense of rebelliousness).
With this film, Takahata and crew has created another masterpiece of animation. Something which is deeply traditional (it is based on a folktale after all) but also manages clearly stand out and be different in the stagnating world of mainstream animation.
Really special stuff.


Aparently Takahata has two or three more film projects he wants to make. But with his age and the resource intensive nature of his productions, I fear that we'll never get to see them. He's wanted to adapt The Tale of the Heike for quite some time but hasn't had the opportunity- curiously both The Tale of the Heike and The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter have been previously referenced in his films. It is depressing to think that The Wind Rises and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya really are the final features from Miyazaki and Takahata respectively but at the same time, I am very happy that they ended their careers with films that are of an incredibly high standard. Films that effectively represent their directing careers but also feel fresh. With Ghibli currently in hibernation, one can only hope that its return will result in films that are as artful as the work created by Takahata and Miyazaki.

Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2015, 08:39:07 PM »
+1
http://ghiblicon.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/miyazaki-meets-kurosawa-1993-broadcast.html

This has been floating around for a while in different forms, an interview/meeting between Akira Kurosawa and Hayao Miyazaki. They cover some really interesting stuff.
One cool thing about it is that is has Miyazaki talking about how he was struggling to make a Jidaigeki film and of course, in 1997 he released Princess Mononoke which is an absolute masterpiece.


http://www.wewillfindsomething.com/images/portfolio/wfs_still_24_1140.jpg

Also a partial interview with the younger Miyazaki, who talks about his career, his father's genius and evolving  new mediums.

Highlight:

Q: Has Hayao Miyazaki told you what he thinks of “Ronia”?
A: “I hear the work is well received,” he told me recently, though I don’t really know if he meant it as a compliment.

Lottery

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Re: Studio Ghibli
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2015, 09:58:44 PM »
+2
A real shame that this lost to Big Hero 6. Oh well. I expect Yoshiaki Nishimura to be there next year as well.

In more exciting news:

Quote
Takahata has his mind set on his next work, a story about exploited girls, forced to work as nannies with infants strapped on their backs. Most lullabies in Japan were not for parents singing babies to sleep, but for such young women, crying out about their suffering, Takahata said.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_OSCARS_OVERSEAS_PRINCESS_ANIMATION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

I think I've briefly heard of this before. I really hope he can see this to completion (if they actually plan on getting it made). I've just realised that Takahata gives me a bit of a Mizoguchi vibe at times.

There will also be a future making-of doc of Kaguya.

Quote
Part 1 (approx. 43 minutes) Animation director Isao Takahata embarks on production of "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya", his first film in 14 years. The first half of the documentary covers the process by which he came to take on the project, the pre-recording of the character voices, and the reasons behind the establishment of "Ghibli Studio 7", a facility set up to meet the demands of a new type of animation that does not fit easily into the traditional Ghibli animation process. Deriving characters from the recorded voices, the production gets underway, but quickly falls behind schedule.

Part 2 (approx. 43 minutes) Production on "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya" is already well behind schedule when director Isao Takahata decides on composer Joe Hisaishi to score the film's soundtrack, and singer Kazumi Nikaido for the theme song. With a third of the film's storyboards remaining to be done, producer Yoshiaki Nishimura suspends all other activities while Takahata and Storyboard Artist Osamu Tanabe work through the New Year's holiday. A simultaneous release with Hayao Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises" is abandoned, and the staff works frantically to meet the new date, now set for November 2013.

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2015-02-16/princess-kaguya-docmentary-released-march-23/.85038

 

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