On Wednesday, Studio Ghibli announced its next film, scheduled for summer 2011. The movie will be an adaptation of the shojo manga "Kokuriku-Zaka Kara," created by Chizuru Takahashi and Tetsuro Sayama. The director will be Hayao Miyazaki’s son Goro, who previously made his debut with "Tales from Earthsea" ("Gedo Senki") in 2006.
Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki made the announcement with a message to Goro: "For a director, your second work is important because your true measure is shown. Your first one includes beginner’s luck."
"Kokuriku-Zaka Kara" was originally serialized in Kodansha’s Nakayoshi magazine in 1980. The Studio Ghibli version is set in 1963 Yokohama and focuses on a young girl named Komatsuzaki, whose family runs a lodging house. The film depicts her everyday life with the other students at her high school, including the student council president and the head of the newspaper.
Although the movie is slated for summer 2011, Suzuki said that production is very much behind schedule, and it is currently in the final storyboarding stages. Hayao is involved with the script, and Suzuki is producing. The theme song will be sung by Aoi Teshima, who sang the theme song for "Tales of Earthsea" (she also starred as the voice of Therru).
During the announcement, Suzuki talked about Studio Ghibli’s "5-year plan," which the older Miyazaki showed him at the end of last year. According to that plan, the movies in the first three years would be given to younger talents, while the last two years would be very big projects. The plan has already begun, with Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s work on "Karigurashi no Arrietty" marking the first of the five years. "Kokuriku-Zaka Kara" will be the second.
The movie’s official website has also launched with more details.