Occasionally Facebook is good for something, like today, when a link to an article at the Comics Alliance popped up, describing a Miyazaki Hayao and Takahata Isao project that never happened: an adaptation of Astrid Lindgren’s famous children’s book series Pippi Långstrump (Pippi Longstocking). It’s a project that they apparently dreamt up back in 1971 and created some concept art for (see pictures below), but that, in the end, the Swedish author – for reasons unknown – did not give permissions for.
The watercolour art looks gorgeous and full of the magical whismy that so defines Studio Ghibli – and this was quite a while before Studio Ghibli came to be. It’s too bad it never happened, but as John Hughes writes in his piece, “All we can really do is sit back and think about how amazing this likely would have been. Alas.”
As someone who read pretty much all of Lindgren’s books as a child, I can’t but help imagine, what if they had tackled other works of the author? Indeed, more so than an animated Pippi (as much as I always loved her, with her fabulous red hair and mismatched socks), how wonderful would it have been to experience Ronja Røverdatter (Ronja the Robber’s Daughter – probably my favourite of Lindgren’s books) or Bröderna Lejonhjärta (The Brothers’ Lionheart – which I had to stop reading one chapter in at age 10 and only finished years later because it was devastigingly sad) through the eyes of Miyazaki and Takahata?
Which also makes me wonder, which works would you wish Studio Ghibli would animate (Lindgren’s or otherwise)?
Update: More Pippi pictures and details on the shelved project can be found at Ghibli World.
Note 1: The art has been made available to the public courtesy of the the Miyazaki and Studio GHIBLI Live Journal page (Note: link doesn’t seem to be working at the moment).
Note 2: Pippi never happened, but apparently Mimiko, the little girl in パンダ・コパンダ (Panda Kopanda, 1972), a pre-Studio Ghibli Miyazaki-Takahata collaboration, was modelled after her.