Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki Retires from Anime

Leading Japanese animation film director Hayao Miyazaki will retire from movie production, it was learned Sunday.

According to participants in the ongoing Venice International Film Festival, Studio Ghibli Inc. President Koji Hoshino told a press conference in the Italian city that Miyazaki, 72, will retire with the latest full-length film, “The Wind Rises” (Kaze Tachinu), released on July 20. The movie, which features the chief engineer of the Zero fighter plane used in World War II, has become a box office hit drawing an audience of over 6.49 million as of last Monday.

After producing the “Future Boy Conan” (Mirai Shonen Konan) television animation series in the late 1970s, Miyazaki started his career as a movie director with “Lupin the Third: Castle of Cagliostro.” Later, he launched Studio Ghibli and released many animated features.

With Ghibli, Miyazaki helmed the feature films Laputa: Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, and finally, The Wind Rises. He also co-produced Takahata’s directorial efforts and directed smaller projects such as the “experimental film” On Your Mark and Ghibli Museum Shorts such as Mei and the Kitten Bus and Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess.

Spirited Away remains the highest earning film ever at the Japanese box office, 12 years after it opened in 2001. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film in 2003.

Studio Ghibli: Japanese anime fans set new Twitter record

Move over, Beyonce — there’s a new record-setter on Twitter.

Last weekend, a Japanese television broadcast of classic Studio Ghibli anime Castle in the Sky prompted more than 11,349 tweets per second at a key moment in the movie. This perfect storm of tweets broke the previous record of 8,868 tweets per second after pop star Beyonce announced she was pregnant.

Read the rest of the story: Japanese anime fans set new Twitter record.

Ghibli’s newest film “Kokurikozaka Kara” opens at a dismal third place

“Kokurikozaka Kara,” the latest animated feature film from Studio Ghibli, opened at #3 over the three-day holiday weekend July 16-18, facing stiff competition from the final “Harry Potter” movie and the newest “Pokemon” project, which ranked #1 and #2 respectively.The movie is the second film directed by Miyazaki Hayao’s son Goro “Tales from Earthsea”. It opened in 457 theaters across the country but only managed to bring in an audience of about 450,000 viewers, for a gross of approximately 587 million yen. In comparison, last year’s “Karigurashi no Arrietty” opened on 447 screens and earned 1.35 billion yen from nearly 1.04 million moviegoers.“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ had a huge opening, with roughly 1.2 million people attending over three days for a gross of 1.761 billion yen.The new “Pokemon” release actually consists of two separate full-length films that opened simultaneously, a first for Japan’s animation industry. Combined, the two movies pulled in 790,000 people on 351 screens, for a total of 826 million yen.

2011 film announced by Studio Ghibli is to be “Kokuriku-Zaka Kara” by Goro Miyazaki

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.

New Stage Musical of Ghibli’s ‘Only Yesterday’ Film

A stage musical version of Isao Takahata and Studio Ghibli’s Only Yesterday (Omohide Poro Poro) film will run in Tokyo’s Ginga Gekijō theater from April 16 to 29, 2011. It is the first stage play adaptation of any Studio Ghibli work.

The 1991 film follows a 27-year-old Tokyo office lady named Taeko as she takes a sabbatical to visit her brother-in-law’s hometown in the countryside. The journey invokes nostalgic memories of her childhood and leads her to reconsider her path in life. The film was Takahata’s second Ghibli work after Grave of the Fireflies three years earlier, and it featured actresses Miki Imai and Youko Honna in the shared role of Taeko. The film also included "Ai wa Hana, Kimi wa Sono Tane" — Harumi Miyako’s Japanese rendition of "The Rose" song made famous by Bette Midler.

Read the rest of the story: Ghibli’s Only Yesterday Film Gets Stage Musical.

Studio Ghibli’s new film Karigurashi no Arrietty and a new short film

Suzuki Toshio’s radio show Ghibli Asemamire airs every week. The main guest a couple of weeks ago was Google Japan president Tsujino Koichiro and during their talk, Studio Ghibli producer Suzuki told that the famed Japanese animation studio is making a new short film; 10 minutes in length and made by Miyazaki Hayao. As many of the studio’s animators are working on the new feature Karigurashi no Arrietty, Miyazaki himself is even working on animating it as well. Though the short will have no dialogue, Suzuki mentioned it is very interesting, but can’t tell anymore details yet. Suzuki and Miyazaki spoke about the internet and how they were considering to use it for Studio Ghibli’s future. One idea was releasing the short on the internet on a site like Youtube. To help them, Japan’s biggest advertising agency Dentsu is providing them advice.

On another note Studio Ghibli’s new film Karigurashi no Arrietty is due for release in Japan on July 17th. The director is Hiromasa Yonebayashi.

Below is Miyazaki Hayao’s original project plan for the film:

The project of the feature length animation Chiisana Arrietty is based on Mary Norton’s The Borrowers. Its location has been moved from England 1950s to Japan 2010 though. To be more exact, its specific detail location is around Koganei where things are familiar to us. A family of tiny people live under the floor of the kitchen of an old house; the fourteen year old Arrietty and her parents. They are “borrowers”; to live they borrow everything they need from the humans above them. They can’t use magic, nor are they fairies. Instead, they fight against mice, suffer from termites, dodge pesticide spray attacks, escape from cockroach traps and live cautious in order not to be seen. There still remains a classical family image though. The father has enough bravery and patience to go hunting for his family, the mother is responsible for keeping the house with creative thinking and the daughter Arrietty is a curious girl with a rich sensibility. With this, seen by 10cm tall tiny people, a world familiar to us will be restored with freshness. The story starts from the tiny people’s life. Arrietty meets a boy, makes a fellowship and separates. Finally, they escape from the storm blown up by callous humans and go into the field. The wish for this film is to comfort and encourage people who live in this chaotic and anxious time.

On Miyazaki’s project plan Studio Ghibli producer Suzuki Toshio commented, “As can you see, Miyazaki’s original title was Chiisana Arrietty (Little Arrietty), a bold change he made compared to the title of the original novel.

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