Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Newest Ghibli Film

One of Japan's most famous animation production Studio Ghibli announced its ongoing project of a new animation film. Its title revealed yesterday is Gake no Ue no Ponyo (Ponyo on the Cliff) (N.B. the title and translation I give here is only a pure romaji conversion and literal translation for the official English title has not been announced) and it is an original story created and directed by the master of Ghibli, Miyazaki Hayao.

Not much of the story has been revealed but we know that it is a "Japanese version of The Little Mermaid" (Producer Suzuki) and the main characters are a mermaid who wants to become a human, and a 5-year-old boy named Sosuke. I think the story takes place in Japan, maybe in an unverified town in the western seaside regions, as it is said that Miyazaki fell in love with this town facing the Seto Inner Sea (close to Osaka and Kobe, the northern shore of Shikoku Island located mid-west of Japan) when he visited the place in 2004 and rented a house for 2 months coming up with the story. But this is just my guess. As far as I know, the locales in most of his stories are untold clearly to the viewers but are based on existing towns.

The announcement also included the information about the model figure of Sosuke being Miyazaki's eldest son Goro, and mentioned the relationship between the creation of Ponyo and Miyazaki Goro's director debut film Ged Senki (Tales from Earthsea). Producer Suzuki spoke for Miyazaki Hayao that, "Miyazaki took Ged as a rebellion of Goro against his father, and believes that such situation developed because of his (Miyazaki's) lack of attention to his son (Goro) when he was a young child, coming from his work busyness. In Ponyo, Miyazaki puts in his feelings of reflection so that children like him will not increase."

The images are not yet available, but according to the news article they are softer in touch, quite differing from the previous Ghibli works. In this new film, Miyazaki hopes to return to the very basics of animation.

I'm pretty sure that this announcement has given much anticipation in the hearts of many Japanese people. Miyazaki's films always enjoy great attention, part of it because the name "Miyazaki (Hayao)" or "Ghibli" have become an established brand (sadly, kind of) but also because his works are worth the attention and are enjoyable as well as well themed. Apart from the fact that his works are marvelous pieces of art and creation, they carry messages throughout the stories that makes the audience think during or after watching the movies. Once I commented to somebody that some of his movies are difficult to understand, but he only responded, "which part of it was so hard? It was very simple: this happened, that happend so they bla bla bla...". Of course I understood the flow of the story, but that's on the surface. There's always much more to his films (that perhaps some people don't want to discuss about).

Well, I don't mean to become so enthused about the topic so I'll stop here. I really look forward to its release though. It's scheduled summer 2008.

Today's update on Japan Mode:
country names in kanji
This, for a while, is the last update of country names converted in kanji. The kanji conversions are of existing ones so don't think we (Japan Mode) did it. Most of them don't make sense as a word or a name. They're converted purely phonetically. Today's update covers the Central and South American countries, Central Asia to Middle East and African countries.

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