studio ghibli documentary trailer

The best documentaries take a great subject and then get hit by lightning. You’re filming your movie and then, over the course of it, something incredible and magical happens that takes the story in a whole different way. For filmmaker Mami Sunada, unprecedented access into one of the most famous animation studios in the world, Studio Ghibli, was just the beginning. Things got very interesting when their most famous and revered filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki, decided to announce his retirement.

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness is the result of that crazy story. It’s a documentary about the behind the scenes drama at Ghibli and the aftermath of Miyazaki making the bombshell announcement. A trailer for the film has now released in advance of a limited theatrical release November 28 and then a VOD window early in 2015. Check out the The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, a Studio Ghibli documentary trailer, below. Read More »

Studio Ghibli Clarifies Future Plans (Slightly)

Studio Ghibli future plans

The internet nearly exploded a few days ago when a poor translation of quotes from Toshio Suzuki of Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli suggested the company would cease production of new animation. The situation is a bit different than that, as Ghibli is looking at “housecleaning” or “restructuring” as it moves forward. While the company’s animated features are work-intensive and very expensive to create, Studio Ghibli isn’t necessarily giving up just yet.

In fact, Suziki has made another appearance on Japanese television to clarify his weekend comments. He even suggests that we’ll see more work from Hayao Miyazaki, who retired from feature directing last year. Whatever Miyazaki makes next probably won’t be a feature, however, and you might have to go to Japan to see it. Suzuki also had a bit more to say about how the company is approaching its future.  Read More »

Studio Ghibli documentary

We’ve told you about The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, the documentary about Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli. Now we get to tell you that GKIDS, the US distributor which has taken up distribution of some Ghibli titles in the States, will bring the doc to US theaters this year. Read More »

Films of Hayao Miyazaki

Rumors of the closure of Studio Ghibli are not true, but it seems that Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro director Hayao Miyazaki may be done with feature filmmaking for good. In a career that spanned over thirty years directing features, Miyazaki refined his own storytelling and helped change the world’s idea of what stories animated films can bring to audiences of all ages. And yet even with the muscle of Disney behind them, the films of Hayao Miyazaki have been somewhat slow to hit DVD and then Blu-ray in the US. (For Blu-ray that is in part thanks to a measured release plan in Japan.)

With the recent US Blu upgrades for Kiki’s Delivery Service and Princess Mononoke, and the debut release of The Wind Rises on Disney home video, all but three of Miyazaki’s films are now on blu-ray in the States. (Disney will probably have Spirited Away out by Christmas 2015.) That’s as good a reason as any to look back at the filmmaker’s illustrious career. There aren’t any films on his CV you should not see — he has not made a bad movie — but below we’ll look at the films of Hayao Miyazaki in ranked order, to help you figure out what to prioritize, in the event you’re relatively new to his work.

Update: Disney has now also released Porco Rosso on blu-ray, along with excellent discs of Pom Poko and Tales From Earthsea. Disney’s blu releases of Miyazaki (and Ghibli films in general) have been excellent, and stand as essential upgrades from previous releases.

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simpsons-miyazaki

When Homer Simpson and a salaryman friend wander the streets after drinking too much wine, they find themselves in an altered reality derived from the films of Hayao Miyazaki. Yep, in The Simpsons‘ ceaseless quest to catch our attention with short, referential sequences, the show has bowed deeply to the master animator with a sequence packed with visual gags that will be recognizable to even casual fans of the director.

That’s one of the sequence’s big nods, above, but there are plenty more in the scene, which you can see below. Read More »

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wind-rises-US-trailer-2

Hayao Miyazaki‘s final feature film, The Wind Rises, just finished its Oscar-qualifying run in New York and LA, and will be back in theaters for a full run in February. This first brief run of the film was a subtitled affair, preserving the original Japanese voice track. When the movie returns next year there will be a choice of subtitled and dubbed versions.

We’ve got a new trailer for the US release, but we don’t get to hear those performances. In fact, we don’t even know who the English voice actors are. The sound here is mostly via one of the film’s songs.

Therefore, while this trailer gives you some idea of a few visual flights of fancy that take place in the movie, as Jiro Horikoshi dreams of becoming an aeronautical engineer and follows through to succeed at his goal, it does not let us hear much of the film’s stunningly unique sound design. I won’t be more specific, but the aircraft and natural events in this film don’t sound quite like you’d expect them to.  Read More »

hayao-miyazaki-01

We may not ever see another new feature film directed by animation master Hayao Miyazaki, but with the revelation of his post-filmmaking plans, it’s easy to imagine that at least one more of the director’s stories is destined for the screen.

This past weekend, Stuio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki appeared on Japanese television show Sekai-ichi Uketai Jugyo, where he was asked about Miyazaki’s plans now that he’s done with directing feature films. The answer was surprising: “I think he will serialize a manga. From the beginning, he likes drawing about his favorite things. That’s his stress relief.” Read More »

Tale-of-the-bamboo-princess

Twenty-five years ago Studio Ghibli’s second major release was the double feature of My Neighbor Totoro from Hayao Miyazai and Grave of the Fireflies from Isao Takahata. This year we’ve already seen Miyazaki’s latest, The Wind Rises, arriving to acclaim (and some controversy) in Japan, and we’ve now got a poster for the US release.

At the same time, Takahata’s latest film, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, is soon to be released in Japan, and we’ve got a new three-minute trailer for the film. We’ve seen some footage from that already, but this offers a lot more to take in.  Read More »

porco-rosso-1

Hayao Miyazaki may have retired from directing feature films, but don’t fret: Studio Ghibli will continue to make new movies. The next film from the studio reportedly will be from The Secret World of Arrietty director Hiromasa Yonebayashi.

And for Miyazaki fans, the interesting factor is that an anecdotal piece of information suggest that the film might be the long-rumored sequel to Porco Rosso. That’s Miyazaki’s film about a bewitched human pilot who, trapped in the form of a pig, engages in aerial battles over the Adriatic Sea after WWI. Read More »

the_wind_rises-big-4

Disney has finalized release plans for what’s likely to be the last film Hayao Miyazaki will ever direct: The Wind Rises.

The Studio Ghibli film will get an Oscar qualifying run in New York and Los Angeles from November 8-14, a limited release on February 21, 2014 and then expand on February 28, 2014. It’ll screen in the original Japanese with English subtitles. After the jump, read the full press release. Read More »