Movies - TV
Turns Out
The Last
Unicorn is a
Secret Studio Ghibli Film
1982’s “The Last Unicorn” was produced by Rankin/Bass Animated Entertainment, the American company behind 1964’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” 1977’s “The Hobbit,” and 1980’s “Return of the King.” The beautiful animation, however, was done by a Japanese team who actually went on to do the early animations of Studio Ghibli films.
According to Conner Cochran, the former agent of “The Last Unicorn” author and screenwriter Peter S. Beagle, Rankin/Bass had outsourced the animation to a Japanese company called Topcraft to save costs. After the team completed “The Last Unicorn,” Hayao Miyazaki hired Topcraft to work on “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.”
After Topcraft went bankrupt, Miyazaki turned them into the core team of Studio Ghibli, the studio behind anime films such as “Princess Mononoke,” “Spirited Away,” and “Howl's Moving Castle.” Beagle has also mentioned that because of the animation style that the Japanese team utilized in “The Last Unicorn,” it is considered a “proto-anime film,” and they often got invited to anime conventions.