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Anime AICN - Ghibli's Legend of Earthsea Trailer

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Column by Scott Green

Studio Ghibli is now hosting a flash based trailer for Gedo Senki or Legend of Earthsea, their adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin's sci-fi classic here. The movie is directed by Goro Miyazaki, the son of renowned director Hayao Miyazaki. has a translation of Miyazaki's production blog here.

The movie is target for a July release in Japan. Ghibli World recently translated from the production blog with the current status of the film:

Key animation: 1,201 cuts (97%)
Animation: 942 cuts (76%)
Background painting: 1,034 cuts (84%)

Other staff on the project include Tomohiko Ishii (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle) as assistant director and Tamiya Terashima as musical composer (the 2005 remake of classic Glass Mask, Key the Metal Idol). Voice talents include Bunta Sugawara (Spirited Away's Kamaji) as Ged and film/tv actor Junichi Okada Prince Arren.

Readers Talkback
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  • April 13, 2006, 6:43 p.m. CST


    by BibFortuna


  • April 13, 2006, 7:12 p.m. CST

    Gotta be better than the awful live-action version

    by covenant

    Miyazaki redux? If he has half the talent of his father, this will be good.

  • April 13, 2006, 7:21 p.m. CST


    by rebel299

    i couldn't agree more with you. i haven't seen a miyazaki film i haven't thoroughly enjoyed (granted, there's a couple i haven't seen, but i've been able to watch most of them). i'm not very keen on Earthsea and what its all about, but i do have to say that from the trailer i saw typically wonderful ghibli animation and eerily beautiful background music. now, we all know that trailer music and film score aren't necessarily the same thing, but watching this trailer got me hooked. i'll check this out when it comes stateside

  • April 13, 2006, 7:40 p.m. CST

    What? No dragons?

    by BeeDub

    Must be saving their big reveal for the movie itself. Classier than what we do in the States, i.e. tell the whole movie in the trailer.

  • April 13, 2006, 7:51 p.m. CST

    re: What? No dragons?

    by ScottGreen

  • April 13, 2006, 8:52 p.m. CST

    Who are you Scott Green?

    by chickychow

    Are you another fake person, like Merrick?

  • April 13, 2006, 9:19 p.m. CST


    by veritasses

    I hate it when we know there's good stuff out there that we're not going to get to see in the states for a long time. He seems to have all the story-telling gifts of his dad but with a slightly different approach... Though it's hard to tell from the trailer. Can't wait to see this.

  • April 13, 2006, 11:04 p.m. CST

    looks way better than the live action version

    by TaraLivesOn

    I liked the Earthsea story but the live action version disappointed me. Just from the trailer alone I get the feeling the story will really come to life in anime.

  • April 13, 2006, 11:30 p.m. CST

    Looks like the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

    by beastie

    If this guy is anywhere near as good as his dad, imagine all of the more Miyazaki films we have to look foward to.

  • April 14, 2006, 4:53 a.m. CST

    Ghibli rules

    by CuervoJones


  • April 14, 2006, 5:54 a.m. CST

    Nausicaa-like & Genki Sudo

    by turk128

    Really does feel Nausicaa-like... at least when she was in her valley. Also, I read Gedo Senki as Genki Sudo and thought I was having a bad acid trip....

  • April 14, 2006, 11:31 a.m. CST


    by victor laszlo

    I've read the books, and nothing about that trailer would make me think it was based on Earthsea. Is this a new story just set in the Earthsea world? Am I taking crazy pills? I dig Miyazaki a lot, but show me something new here, jr, it looks exactly like everything else Ghibli turns out only less imaginative.

  • April 14, 2006, 11:41 a.m. CST

    Looks cool

    by quadrupletree

    Can't wait for a US version!

  • April 14, 2006, 1:28 p.m. CST

    Trailer summary

    by Jonesey1111

    This guy walks around. These other guys walk around. This guy walks around with another guy on his horse. People walk, exciting!

  • April 14, 2006, 3:20 p.m. CST

    Imaginative and surreal = Great?

    by veritasses

    No good artist follows in the exact same footsteps as their predecesors. They learn from the masters that came before them but the works they create have their own distinct style. Isn't that the way it should be? There are many different things that make certain films great but as long as it somehow "works" and touches the audience emotionally then does it really matter if it's "less imaginative"? As far as we can tell from the trailer, Gedo Senki shares the same character design and artwork as previous Hayao/Ghibili releases but it also differs from them in important ways that may prove to be just as great and successful as Hayao's. The first is that it (obviously) isn't an original work but rather based on a story from a Western author. This important fact alone seems to have had an impact on the storytelling mechanics. Japanese original works tend to (more or less) have many scenes that are visually enclosed or cluttered. This probably stems from the cramped/cluttered/closed environment that Japanese people are raised (Japan is about half the population of the US crammed in the space roughly the size of the State of California with many sparsely populated mountain regions). For example, a typical scene might take place inside a room, standing in an alley between tall buildings, in a forest. Or if it takes place in an open environment they'll minimize the visual expansiveness of that environment by raising the horizon line or not drawing the distant background elements to emphaise the relative scale, having lots of other distracting elements in the scene thereby negating the impact of the openness of the environment or having foreground images that take up most of the shot. Also, the vanishing point in many Japanese works makes you seem like you are "part of the scene" vs "looking at the scene from a distance." From what we've been shown in the trailer, there seems to be a higher emphasis on great sweeping landscapes (like what might be found in "Dances With Wolves" or some of Robert Redford's films) which would give the film a more epic feel and a wholly different relationship between character and environment than more common Japanese works. There also doesn't seem to be much, if any eye-popping, jaw-dropping surreal elements that have almost become a hallmark of Hayao's works. And I think that's a good thing. That's distinctly the father's trademark and trying to immitate it or carry-on just that artistic element of the "family tradition" just for the sake of making it a "Miyazaki Story" doesn't make a lot of sense unless the story specifically calls for it. Of course I have to reiterate that this is only from what little we can see from the trailer and it's just one lay-person's opinion which could be completely wrong. Anyway, I for one think it's going to be exciting to see how the son of a recognized master tackles his first major work. I hope it's going to be a "re-imagining" of the story vs a strait adaptation since reimagining will give us a better sense of Goro's unique story telling style/voice and his mindset and skill as an artist.

  • April 14, 2006, 3:55 p.m. CST

    Nicely said, veritasses

    by Jonesey1111

    too bad noone will ever read it.

  • April 14, 2006, 4:06 p.m. CST

    Interesting Quote

    by ScottGreen

    according to Wikipedia, Mamoro Oshii said "I think Studio Ghibli is (like) the Kremlin. The real one is long gone, but it's still sitting in the middle of the field in Higashi Koganei (Ghibli's address) . But in a sense, there is a reason for its existence, meaning, I think it plays a certain role by existing. Just like those steel-like athletes could not be produced other than in the communist countries, a certain kind of people can not be produced by the principles of the market economy."

  • April 14, 2006, 4:24 p.m. CST

    Ghibli Going Foward

    by ScottGreen

    I'm sure Earthsea will be an outstanding movie, but it doesn't have the instant impact of Mononoke or Spirited Away. These days Studio 4 Degrees excites me more than Ghibli. Especially with Miyazaki's and Takahata's age, I think their reputation is starting to outstrip their ability to produce. Which is like the difference between Michael Jordan at his prime and past his prime, still at the top of the game, but not to the same degree. There are so few great animated movie being made, Ghibli are sure to stay special, but Tekkon Kinkurito/Black and White is what I'm really keeping my eye on.

  • April 14, 2006, 8:28 p.m. CST

    Ambitious - Quality - Commercial

    by veritasses

    I think the good anime movies have at least 2 of the 3. The great ones have all 3. Movies like GiTS:Innocence are ambitious and have high production quality but don't really have wide commercial appeal. Satoshi Kon's movies might fall in this same category. Not that I've seen a lot of anime movies but I think some of the quick and dirty "El Cheapo" movies strive to capitalize on an existing fan base of a popular TV/manga series and are thus geared to be (but not necessarily succefful on execution) "commercial" but are neither ambitious nor particularly high quality. Hayao's movies have almost always been ambitious, show high production value and usually appeal to a somewhat wide audience (male/female, children/teen/adults). In general, I think it's extremely difficult creating something "great" in any medium; movies, tv, novels, comics, manga, anime etc. Something ambitious threatens commercial appeal and almost always necessitates high cost (not to mention that it requires a certain level of an artistic genius (like a Hayao or Rintaro) with a solid vision to pull off successfully). High production value is at constant odds with cost/time and talent. And commercial appeal can be a crap shoot since it's hard to forecast if a given story (which is hard enough to conjure up) is going to be publically accepted. Beyond that, even if you start with a good story, it can be ruined by a horrible screenplay, bad acting, bad directing, crappy animation etc. This is true of live action movies and TV shows as well. But I think anime has a small advantage over other mediums of creating something "good enough", chiefly because anime can create worlds that are believably "larger than life" that dictate and captivate the senses more easily than live action or print media and also because anime still largely allows the "vision of one man" to create a large percentage of the world we see on the screen. Of course bottom line, anime houses like Ghibli are still businesses that are driven by the basic economic principles of profit and loss... Large commercial appeal + low production costs = maximum profit. I have no idea what problems are going on at Ghibli but as far as I can tell to their credit, they still seem to be staying true to their roots. What's potentially exciting is Gedo senki seems like it could be a movie that has wide appeal beyond Japan and anime geeks. Not only because it's based on a story that's had commercial success in the West for several decades, but because it appears (from the trailer) that they've tried to maintain the allure to a wide (ie non-Asian and anime fans) audience by keeping the story and visual/action elements "simple" and more in-line with live-action techniques. Western audiences still have the perception that anime is a child's medium in line with Hanna Barbera cartoons. I think even Hayao's works, despite being shown in wide distribution in western theatres and critically acclaimed by mainstream movie critics, are perceived more to be "children's" movies (it doesn't help that it's distributed by Disney and marketed more towards kids). But maybe Gedo Senki will start to change that. Maybe it'll be a new market/genre defining work. And with large commercial success in the West, anime houses will learn from this experience and start creating more great anime. I can easily see a new "shojo" anime market being created based on western stories that appeal to western audiences. Well, it's a lot to ask for but we can only hope...

  • April 15, 2006, 1:02 a.m. CST

    Link to downloadable trailer

    by quentintarantado

    This is the same trailer that Anime AICN put up last February, except this is in Flash and the other is in Real Video format. The other one was downloadable and it had the weather and temperature. If you want it, it's here: I'm interested in knowing if someone figured out to download this Flash version. I'd like to see it without the weather in Japan. The trailer shows costumes and production art similar to Nausicaa, which is also similar to Miyazake's tv series Future Boy Conan. I think there are some artists that strike out to be different with each work, like Kubrick, and there are some who stick in a genre, like Elmore Leonard, and there are others who explicitly keep repeating themselves like Philip Glass and Brian DePalma. I think Miyazake is one of the latter, and not because he has a lack of imagination. It's his way of perfecting himself, by doing variations of one theme. I think currently some old fans have grown tired of it, but I don

  • April 15, 2006, 3:24 p.m. CST

    The thing about Ghibli movies...

    by Johnno

    Yeah sure, the greenery, crowds, and nature scenes might be repetitive to some, but that's Ghibli damnit! I like that familiarity about Ghibli's worlds and designs... Ghibli is like that nostalgic place that you just love to revist over and over, where you hope nothing has changed and yet there's always something new to discover and love about it! That's how I feel anyway... It's kind like returning home to relax and enjoy a cup of tea... Most other anime films, I get pumped for! Excited! Intrigued! Things put out by Gainax, Production IG, Madhouse are entertaining, visual festivals that have you at the edge of your seat often with your mind working to understand the dialogue and subtexts, while you stare wide eyed at the visuals! Ghibli movies on the other hand... are those you want to sit down with on a comfortable sofa, alone on a dark evening, lean back, forget your troubles and just lose yourself in this nature filled world far different from your city lifestyle, let the characters move your heart and let the wonderful and haunting music and melodies of Hisaishi and other composers do their magic on you... it's the sort of thing where you close your eyes and smile slightly all through the end credits and say to yourself, "man, I really liked that..."

  • April 15, 2006, 8:17 p.m. CST

    That's a really good point Johnno

    by veritasses

    There's something oddly peaceful and familiar about seeing a Ghibli film. Almost like you're back being a little kid again and you're all tucked in bed ready to hear a good fairy tale to put you to gently sleep. Comfort food for the heart.

  • April 17, 2006, 11:42 a.m. CST

    I'm not entirely sure what is being depicted here...

    by ComicBookGeek77

    I can only assume the man and the boy who keep wandering around is Ogion and Ged.

  • April 18, 2006, 3:20 p.m. CST

    The greatest Ghibli movie wasn't even made by Miyazaki!

    by workshed

    That honour belongs to 'Grave of the Fireflies' with 'Only Yesterday' a very close second. Discuss.