Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Studio Ghibli through the Years

Studio Ghibli


Studio Ghibli, Inc is a Japanese animation and film studio founded in June 1985. The company's logo features the character Totoro (a large forest spirit) from Hayao Miyazaki's film My Neighbor Totoro. It has its headquarters in Koganei, Tokyo. 
Many anime features created by Studio Ghibli have won the Animage Anime Grand Prix award including: Castle in the Sky in 1986; My Neighbor Totoro in 1988; and Kiki's Delivery Service in 1989. In 2002, Spirited Away won a Golden Bear and an Oscar for Best Animated Feature which remains the only film made outside the English-speaking world to have done so.

History in the Making
              Founded in June 1985, the studio is headed by the directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and the producer Toshio Suzuki. Prior to the formation of the studio, Miyazaki and Takahata had already had long careers in Japanese film and television animation and had worked together on Hols: Prince of the Sun and Panda! Go, Panda!; and Suzuki was an editor at Tokuma Shoten's Animage manga magazine.

The studio was founded after the success of the 1984 film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, written and directed by Miyazaki for Topcraft and distributed by Tōei. The origins of the film lie in the first two volumes of a serialized manga written by Miyazaki for publication in Animage as a way of generating interest in an anime version.Suzuki was part of the production team on the film and founded Studio Ghibli with Miyazaki, who also invited Takahata to join the new studio.

The studio has mainly produced films by Miyazaki, with the second most prolific director being Takahata (most notably with Grave of the Fireflies). Other directors who have worked with Studio Ghibli include Yoshifumi Kondo, Hiroyuki Morita and Gorō Miyazaki. Composer Joe Hisaishi has provided the soundtrack for all of Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli films.

Many of Ghibli's works are distributed in Japan by Toho. Internationally, the Walt Disney Company has rights to all of Ghibli's output that did not have previous international distribution, including the global, non-Japan distribution rights to Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.As of September 7, they currently share North American theatrical rights with GKids while domestic right remain with Disney.

Over the years, there has been a close relationship between Studio Ghibli and the magazine Animage, which regularly runs exclusive articles on the studio and its members in a section titled "Ghibli Notes." Artwork from Ghibli's films and other works are frequently featured on the cover of the magazine. Between 1999 and 2005 Studio Ghibli was a subsidiary of Tokuma Shoten, the publisher of Animage.

In October 2001, the Ghibli Museum opened in Tokyo. It contains exhibits based on Studio Ghibli films and shows animations, including a number of short Studio Ghibli films not available elsewhere.

The company is known for its strict "no-edits" policy in licensing their films abroad. This was a result of the dubbing of Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind when the film was released in the United States as Warriors of the Wind. The film was heavily edited and Americanized, with significant portions cut and the plot rewritten. The "no cuts" policy was highlighted when Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein suggested editing Princess Mononoke to make it more marketable. In response, a Studio Ghibli producer sent an authentic katana with a simple message: "No cuts".

On February 1, 2008, Toshio Suzuki stepped down from the position of Studio Ghibli president, which he had held since 2005, and Koji Hoshino (former president of Walt Disney Japan) took over. Suzuki said he wanted to improve films with his own hands as a producer, rather than demanding this from his employees. Suzuki decided to hand over the presidency to Hoshino because Hoshino has helped Studio Ghibli to sell its videos since 1996, also helping to release the Princess Mononoke film in the United States. Suzuki still serves on the company's board of directors.

Currently, Takahata and Goro Miyazaki (director of Tales from Earthsea and Hayao's son) are developing projects for release after Hiromasa Yonebayashi's The Borrower Arrietty. Goro Miyazaki's next film will be From Up on Poppy Hill while Takahata is working on an adaptation of the tale of Princess Kaguya or the bamboo cutter, Taketori Monogatari.

Never before has a Studio Ghibli short been shown outside Japan, but for the Carnegie Hall Citywise Japan NYC Festival, "House Hunting" and "Mon Mon the Water Spider" were screened on March 26, 2011.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

From up on Poppy Hill|Kokuriko-zaka Kara|From Kokuriko Hill

From up on Poppy Hill
Is a 2011 Japanese animated drama film directed by Gorō Miyazaki, written by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa and produced by Studio Ghibli.

The film is based on the manga series of the same name by Tetsuo Sayama and Chizuru Takahashi.
Plot of the Story
The story is set in 1963 in Yokohama.

Kokuriko Manor sits on a hill overlooking the harbour. A 16 year-old girl, Umi, lives in that house. Every morning she raises a signal flag facing the sea. The flag means "I pray for safe voyages". A 17 year-old boy, Shun, always sees this flag from the sea as he rides a tugboat to school.

In preparation for next year's Tokyo Olympics, people are destroying the old and believing only in the magnificence of the new. In that time, at a high school in Yokohama, a small struggle occurred. The building of the Culture Club, nicknamed Quartier Latin, is old but full of history and memories. Should it be destroyed or preserved? In the middle of this, Umi and Shun meet. Shun appeals to the students who want to protect the building. Umi suggests a big clean up of the building to show its good parts.

Gradually the pair are drawn to each other but they are faced with a sudden trial. They may be siblings. Even so, they keep going without running from reality. Then, in the middle of the battle and the aftermath, they come to know how their parents met, loved and lived.

The Secret World of Arrietty|The Borrowers Arriety|Kari-gurashi no Arietti

The Secret World of Arrietty
Is a 2010 Japanese animated fantasy film based on Mary Norton's juvenile fantasy novel The Borrowers. The film was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, written by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa, and stars the voices of Mirai Shida as the titular character, Ryunosuke Kamiki as Sho, and Tatsuya Fujiwara as Spiller. The film tells the story of Arrietty, a young Borrower who lives under the floorboards of a typical household. She eventually befriends Sho, a human boy with a heart condition since birth who is living with his great aunt Sadako. When Sadako's maid Haru becomes suspicious of the floorboard's disturbance, Arrietty and her family must escape detection, even if it means leaving their beloved home.
Ghibli announced the film in late 2009 with Yonebayashi making his directorial debut as the youngest director of a Ghibli film. Miyazaki supervised the production as a developing planner. The voice actors were approached in April 2010, and Cécile Corbel wrote the film's score as well as its theme song.

Released in Japan on July 17, 2010, The Secret World of Arrietty received critical acclaim, all of whom praised the animation and music. It also became the highest grossing Japanese film at the Japanese box office for the year 2010, and is currently grossing over US$126 million worldwide. The film also won the Animation of the Year award at the 34th Japan Academy Prize award ceremony.The film is scheduled to be released on February 17, 2012 in North America by Walt Disney Pictures.

 Plot of the Story

The story takes place in 2010 in Koganei, western Tokyo and like the novel revolves around a group of "tiny people" who are 10 cm tall and live under the floorboards of a typical human household.

A boy named Shō arrives at the house his mother lived in as a child, to live with his great aunt Sadako. When Shō leaves the car, he sees a cat trying to attack something in the bushes, but the cat leaves after being attacked by a crow. Shō goes to see what the cat was trying to attack. He then sees a Borrower named Arrietty.

That night Arrietty's father Pod takes Arrietty above the floorboards to show her how he gets sugar. Their first stop is the kitchen, then they walk within a wall to reach a dollhouse in Shō's bedroom, to get tissue. Before Arrietty and Pod can leave, Arrietty notices Shō is awake, and accidentally drops the sugar cube they got. Shō tells them not to be afraid of him.

The next day, Shō leaves the dropped sugar cube beside an underground air vent where he first saw Arrietty, but Arrietty's mother Homily warns them not to take it because their existence must be kept secret from humans. Still, Arrietty sneaks out to visit Shō in his bedroom, and the two become friends. On her return, Arrietty is intercepted by her father. Pod and Homily realize they have been discovered, and decide the family must move out of the house.

Shō learns from Sadako that his ancestors have seen Borrowers in this house, and they had the dollhouse made especially for the Borrowers, with working electric lights and ovens. However, the Borrowers had not been seen since, and the dollhouse stayed in Shō's room. Shō uncovers the floorboards above the Borrower household, uproots their kitchen and replaces it with the kitchen from the dollhouse.

Pod returns injured from a borrowing mission, helped by Spiller, a Borrower boy he met on the way. Spiller suggests some places the Borrowers can move to, and, after he recovers, Pod goes to check them out. Arrietty goes to say goodbye to Shō. During their subsequent conversation Shō theorises that the Borrowers are becoming extinct, which hurts Arrietty. Apologising, Sho reveals he has had a heart condition since birth, and will have an operation in a few days. The operation does not have a good chance of success.

Meanwhile Haru, Sadako's maid, notices the floorboards have been disturbed. While Sadako is out, Haru locks Shō in his room, unearths the Borrowers' house and puts Homily in a jar in the kitchen. Haru calls a pest removal company to smoke out the Borrowers and bring them to her alive. When Arrietty returns to find Homily missing and their house disturbed, she goes to Shō for help. Arrietty helps Shō break out of his locked room, Shō then carries Arrietty to the kitchen and distracts Haru while Arrietty rescues Homily. Sadako returns soon after the pest removal company comes, and tells them to leave. Haru tries to prove to Sadako the Borrowers really exist, but Homily has escaped, and there is nothing below the floorboards: The Borrowers have already set off on their move, and Shō has destroyed the remains.

The Borrowers stop for dinner during their move, and Shō's cat spots Arrietty. The cat brings Shō to Arrietty. He gives her a sugar cube as a parting gift, and tells her the Borrowers' fight for survival has given him hope to live through the operation, which will happen in two days' time. In return, Arrietty gives Shō her hairclip. The Borrowers then go into a teapot, which Spiller steers down a river.


Ponyo|Gake no Ue no Ponyo|Ponyo oh the Cliff


Initially titled in English as Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, is a 2008 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli. It is Miyazaki's eighth film for Ghibli, and his tenth overall. The plot centers on a goldfish named Ponyo who befriends a five-year-old human boy, Sōsuke, and wants to become a human girl.

The film has won several awards, including the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. It was released in Japan on July 19, 2008, August 14, 2009 in the US and Canada and February 12, 2010 in the UK. The film reached #9 in the US box office charts for its opening weekend.

Plot of the Story

 "Ponyo"is a fish-girl who lives in an aquarium in her father Fujimoto's underwater castle with numerous smaller sisters. One day, when her father takes her and her siblings on an outing in his four-flippered submarine, Brunhilde is driven by a desire to see even more of the world and floats away on the back of a jellyfish. She ends up stranded on the shore of a small fishing town and is rescued by a boy named Sōsuke, who cuts his finger in the process. She licks his wound when he picks her up, and the wound heals almost instantly. After taking a great liking to her, Sōsuke names her Ponyo and promises to protect her forever. Meanwhile, Fujimoto is looking for his daughter. Upset that she ran away, he believes the humans have now kidnapped her, and he calls his wave spirits to return Ponyo to him. After the wave spirits take Ponyo away, Sōsuke is heartbroken and goes home with his mother, Lisa, who tries to cheer him up to no avail.

Ponyo and Fujimoto have a confrontation, during which Ponyo refuses to let her father call her by her birthname, "Brunhilde." She declares her name to be Ponyo and voices her desire to become human, because she has started to fall in love with Sōsuke. Suddenly she starts to grow legs and turn into a human, a consequence of the human blood she swallowed when she licked Sōsuke's finger. Her father turns her back with difficulty and goes to summon Ponyo's mother, Granmamare. Meanwhile, Ponyo, with the help of her sisters, breaks away from her father and releases his magic to make herself human. The huge amount of magic released into the ocean causes an imbalance in the world, resulting in a huge tsunami. Riding on the waves of the storm, Ponyo goes back to visit Sōsuke. Lisa, Sōsuke, and Ponyo wait out the storm at Sōsuke's house, and the next morning Lisa leaves to check up on the residents of the nursing home where she works.

Granmamare arrives at Fujimoto's submarine. On her way there, Sōsuke's father has seen and recognized her as the Goddess of Mercy. Fujimoto notices the moon has come out of its orbit and satellites are falling like shooting stars. Granmamare declares that if Sōsuke can pass a test, Ponyo can live as a human and the world order will be restored. If he fails, Ponyo will turn into sea foam. Sōsuke and Ponyo wake up to find that most of the land around the house has been covered by the ocean. Lisa has not come home yet, so with the help of Ponyo's magic, they make Sōsuke's toy boat life-size and set out to find Lisa.

While traveling they see prehistoric fish swimming beneath them. After landing and finding Lisa's empty car, Ponyo and Sōsuke go through a tunnel. There Ponyo loses her human form and reverts into a fish. Sōsuke and Ponyo are taken by Fujimoto into the ocean and down to the protected nursing home where they are reunited with Lisa and meet Granmamare, both of whom have just had a long private conversation. Granmamare asks Sōsuke if he can love Ponyo whether she is a fish or human. Sōsuke replies that he "loves all the Ponyos." Granmamare then allows Ponyo to become human once Sōsuke kisses her on the surface. The film ends with Ponyo jumping up and kissing Sosuke, transforming into a little girl in mid-air.