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ghibli logo kaze

An early Christmas present came from Studio Ghibli today in the form of an official announcement of its next two feature films:「風立ちぬ」(Kaze Tachinu/The Wind Rises) and「かぐや姫の物語」(Kaguya Hime no Monogatari/The Story of Princess Kaguya), directed by Miyazaki Hayao and Takahata Isao respectively.

Both films are due out in Japan in the summer of 2013 and will premiere on the same day. The announcement did not come out of the blue – it has already been known for a while that both Miyazaki and Takahata were working on projects, and some information about the upcoming films’ contents had been previously circulated – but this was the official announcement, with first posters and all.

More details on each film:

  • 「風立ちぬ」(Kaze Tachinu/The Wind Rises)
Kaze Tachinu.

Kaze Tachinu.

Director: Miyazaki Hayao (「風の谷のナウシカ」/Kaze no Tani no Naushika/Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, 1984; 「もののけ姫」/Mononoke Hime/Princess Mononoke, 1997; 「千と千尋の神隠し」 /Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi/Spirited Away, 2001; 「ハウルの動く城」 /Hauru no Ugoku Shiro/Howl’s Moving Castle, 2004)

Kaze Tachinu is said to be loosely based on Hori Tatsuo’s short novel of the same name (from 1936/37) about Horikoshi Jirō, the designer of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane from World War II. Miyazaki first created a manga mini-series about Horikoshi in 2009 and has now turned it into a feature film – though how closely he will stick to the biography of the real-life man and to what degree manga and film adaptation overlap are anyone’s guess at the moment.

The poster, certainly, is quite Miyazaki-like and invokes the feeling of Hauru no Ugoku Shiro for me – that female painter reminds of the young Sophie. (That said, I doubt we’ll get a fantasy world with magicians and witches like in Hauru.) It’s notable that it is a woman that it is depicted, given that the film itself is said to focus on a man – but then Miyazaki nearly always provides us with an interesting female character (if not story heroine).

Official website: kazetachinu.jp (in Japanese only, nothing much to see yet)

  • 「かぐや姫の物語」(Kaguya Hime no Monogatari/The Story of Princess Kaguya aka The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter)
Kaguya Hime.

Kaguya Hime.

Director: Takahata Isao (「火垂るの墓」/Hotaru no Haka/Grave of the Fireflies, 1988; 「おもひでぽろぽろ」/Omohide Poro Poro/Only Yesterday, 1991), 「ホーホケキョ となりの山田くん」 /Hōhokekyo Tonari no Yamada-kun/My Neighbors the Yamadas, 1999)

Story: Takahata’s project, meanwhile, is based on a 10th century Japanese folktale: that of Princess Kaguya, a mysterious girl that is found inside the stalk of bamboo as a baby (hence the alternative title of Tale of the Bamboo Cutter). Wikipedia has more info on the folktale, but don’t read too much just yet (Wikipedia tends to be quite plot-spoilerish in my experience).

Confession: I haven’t yet watched anything by Takahata (I’m still mentally and emotionally prepping myself for Hotaru no Haka, while Omohide Poro Poro has been lingering in my DVDs-to-watch pile since I bought about a year ago), but the soft, watercolour-like poster certainly matches with style of his 1999 film. It’s all simplistically drawn, but could be very beautiful I think.

Official website: kaguyahime-monogatari.jp

Kaze Tanuchi is Miyazaki’s first project in five years (「崖の上のポニョ」 /Gake no Ue no Ponyo/Ponyo, in 2008, was the last one), while Takahata hasn’t made a full-length feature since Hōhokekyo Tonari no Yamada-kun in 1999 – since forever, really. Given that both Miyazaki and Takahata are getting on in years (the former was born in 1941, the latter in 1935), these may or may not be their final feature-length animations. So let’s look forward to them and hope for a double premiere in London soon after their release in Japan.