The Asian animation is remembered only often for
its service studios. But it is thanks to these jobs in subcontract that
such as Akom, Far Eastern, Telecom, Imagin and many others were born.
During the 1990s they was starting to do theirs independent long-length
feature films to level of Empress Chung, A Chinese Ghost Story,
Grandma and Her Ghosts or
My Beautiful Girl Mari. This is the real history of a Japanese
company that has worked in the shade of the American producers for over 10 years.
Toei Doga's headquarters
1960 Arthur Rankin Jr
debuts its stop-motion TV series PINOCCHIO.
This is one of the first U.S.A./Japan's joint works ever made.
1962 Toei releases a
short written by Toru Hara: MOGURA NO MOTORO.
The animation was actually supervised by veteran Yasuji Mori.
1963 Osamu Tezuka's animated series ASTRO
BOY debuts on NBC.
It was the first time of Japanese cel animation in the U.S.A.'s
1965 Daikichiro Kusube enters
A-Production, a newly-formed subcontracting studio.
Takahata and Miyazaki, after a brief permanence in this
one, join Yasuji Mori at Zuiyo.
1966 SPEED RACER, the popular anime
series, debuts in the U.S.A.
It will become one of the most-rated TV series to come out of Japan.
1967 Rankin/Bass release a stop-motion
movie titled MAD MONSTER PARTY.
It soon becomes a cult hit and is a big
influence on Tim Burton's works.
1970 Toei Doga dismisses dozens of employees to save
the highest production costs.
Kazuo Komatsubara and Koichi Murata found the famous Oh! Production.
Hara was born in 1935 at Kitakyusu. He had a degree at
Waseda University and planned several Toei's TV-series.
Rankin Jr. made his first trip in Japan during 1958. He
designed the storyboards for most of his projects.
Bass was born in Philadelphia. He wrote the lirycs for the
most of Rankin/Bass film productions.
from the center of Tokyo, not too far from Koenji railway
station, in an anonymous building there was a small studio,
practically unknown to the most greater part of the Japanese.
Topcraft was established in February 1972 by several ex-members
of Toei. Their President, Toru Hara, had already worked on the
planning of Toei's TAIYO NO OJI HORUS NO DAIBOKEN
directed by colleague and friend Isao Takahata: this film,
thanks to the innovative layout of a young Hayao Miyazaki, has
now considered as the true beginning of Japanese animation
(which collected only pale attempts by western schools).Rankin/Bass Productions, well-known for the
stop-motion technique, was charged by ABC to produce a
cel-animated TV-series. Toru Hara had to meet Arthur Rankin Jr.
for the first time in the corridors of Toei's headquarters,
during the making of some TV-series. Topcraft's crew was soon
called in order to made a pilot film named KID POWER. Tokiji
Kaburaki was in the role of chief director. After the completion
of this miniseries, he was immediately called back from Toei for
the supervising direction of some important TV-series.
some episodes were directed by Katsuhisa Yamada. Despite of
his young age, he was highly regarded as a strong creative
force during the filming of KID POWER. Prior to this, he
worked as assistant director on Toei's TIGER MASK.
Subsequently, he directed a few episodes of MAZINGER Z
completed (the sole collaboration between Topcraft and Toei
Doga: usually those new service
studios would go on to do subcontracting
for the same firms the founder had just left). The
regular series of KID POWER counted fifteen episodes, which
were mainly designed by Akio Hosotani, Minoru Kibata and
Katsumi Onishi. Each episode was supervised by Tsuguyuki
Kubo, known to the American audience, since he did work on JOHNNY
CHYPER and the opening sequence for Tatsunoko's SPEED
RACER. Topcraft made another three cartoons for
Rankin/Bass. The first of these was 20.000 LEAGUES UNDER THE
SEA, directed by Tokiji Kaburaki. The film had presumibily
been projected as TV-special, but it was at last broken in two
episodes and broadcast inside The Festival of Family Classics.
Accordingly, the character design is completely different from
that of the remaining episodes. The other films were TOM
SAWYER and WILLIE MAYS AND HEY-SAY KID. A fourth film exists,
from the title THAT GIRL, aired in 1973 but allegedly produced
and completed in 1972.
BARON was the fifth and the last Rankin/Bass
TV special to be animated by Topcraft's crew
in 1972. The story was written by Leonard
LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA was originally aired
in two parts. The first one of these in
October 1, 1972. The animation was overseen
by Susumu Shiraume.
Later, along with the
bankruptcy of Tezuka's Mushi Productions and
Toei's momentary standstill in the overseas works,
Topcraft became the only production source of
Rankin/Bass. During 1973 and 1974, no more screenplay
arrived from the United States. Topcraft
eventually worked on several home TCJ/Eiken's
TV-series and was also very helpful in realizing
some episodes of KAGAKU NINJATAI GATCHAMAN
under Tatsunoko's commission. For the Americans
there was only a pilot film for an unaired sequel
of 20.000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. The Japanese
historian Yoko Gomi affirms that Topcraft also
completed three episodes of Rankin/Bass TV-series
JACKSON 5IVE (a substantial number of episodes of
this was outsourced at Halas&Batchelor's
facilities in England). Finally, in December 1974
was produced a TV-special entitled TWAS' THE NIGHT
BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Jerome Coopersmith did
screenplay (even if it was accredited to
Romeo Muller by Japanese fonts, I prefer to
use the official info by Rich Goldschmidt). The
key frames were achieved by Hiroshi Oikawa,
Yoshinori Kanemori and Katsumi Aoshima, while the
storyboard was prepared from Keiji Hisaoka. During
1975, Topcraft made a short-length TV-special
written by Julian P.Gardner entitled THE FIRST
EASTER RABBIT. Minoru Nishida worked as
art-director, designing most of the backgrounds.
In 1975 was also assumed an ex-employee of
bankrupted Zuiyo named Kiyoshi Sakai, who started
as production assistant and then became studio's
manager. Frosty, a nice snowman originally created
by cartoonist Paul Coker Jr and redesigned for
animation by Tsuguyuki Kubo, was the main
character of next TV-special, titled WINTER
WONDERLAND. It was animated by Susumu Shiraume,
Hidemi Kubo, Yoshiko Sasaki and Tadakatsu Yoshida.
Frosty had to appear for the first time in a
TV-special dated 1969, which was actually made in
Japan (precisely by Mushi Productions).
MAYS was the first Rankin/Bass title
to be aired in ABC Saturday Superstar Movie.
The animation was supervised by Hiroshi Wagatsuma.
FIRST EASTER RABBIT was originally broadcast
by NBC. The characters were designed by Paul
Coker Jr, while the storyboard was done by
A young man named Kazuyuki
Kobayashi, took care of the continuity design on
each of these three TV-specials. Kobayashi become
animation supervisor after only two years (usually
it need at least five years in order to fullfill
such a practice). At first, he was one of the I/B
animators on KID POWER. He was soon called as key
animator on Toei's MAZINGER Z. Up to 2009
he kept the employment at Studio Gallop. Hidemi
Kubo, brother of the well-known Tsuguyuki, also
did the continuity design and layouts for two of
the most popular Tatsunoko's TV series, such as TIME
BOKAN and PAUL NO MIRACLE DAISAKUSEN,
in which were also involved Fumiko Kawada, Yoshiko
Sasaki and the veteran Minoru Kibata. Still of
1975 it is a Germany/Japan co-production from the
title MITSUBACHI MAYA NO BOKEN (MAYA THE BEE)
and achieved by Zuiyo Eizo. Topcraft made an
undetermined number of episodes with the key
animators Yasushi Hirakawa, Yoshinori Kanemori and
TIME BOKAN's episodes made at Topcraft
Frames & I/B Animation
There is another
1999's TV series aired in Japan and internationally known
as BARBAPAPA AROUND THE WORLD, but it is a Studio
DR. SNUGGLES was
originally conceived and created by British writer Jeffery
O' Kelly. The remaining six episodes were animated by
1977 opened with a long TV series very
known to every European and Japanese children: BARBAPAPA.
It was developed from the original illustrated tales by Annete
Tison and Talus Taylor and a lot of episodes were directed by
Katsuhisa Yamada and Koichi Sasaki. This was the first joint
work that Topcraft made with the Netherlands. A small Japanese
agency named K&S purchased the rights of some western
characters to make TV series with the principal purpose to sell
them to foreign clients. Even Pagot's CALIMERO was made
by K&S (in association with Toei) and aired in Japan only
months after. The first season of BARBAPAPA, 45 episodes
partially made at the studios of Tama Productions, was
co-produced by Polyscope BV and aired for the first time in
France during 1974 by TF1 (LINK).
Due to the popularity of the original booklets published in
Japan, Tokyo12-Channel (today TV-Tokyo) eventually bought the TV
series and commissioned a second season to Topcraft
(presumibily with the supervision of Polyscope BV and economic
funds by Frank Fehmers Productions). In a recent interview to
Cartoon on the Bay, the author confirms that the whole phase of
pre-production was achieved in France and that only a part of
the 1977's season was broadcast because several episodes would
have had a mediocre quality. The website NNgallery reports that
Chew Kiat Lim was storyboard artist during 1975/76 (LINK).
The info about the 1977's Japanese broadcasting has been
confirmed into Japan TV Anime History (LINK).
We don't yet know anything about mysterious Dutch TV series
entitled DOCTOR SNUGGLES, except that the animation supervision
was done by Tsuguyuki Kubo. Both the series were aired in the
USA during 1981 through LBS Communications. Here below a
selection of BARBAPAPA's episodes made at Topcraft. The series
has also influenced the Italian language introducing a diffused
COURSE DE CHEVAUX S2#45
CORSA IPPICA # 95
REPAS DE BEBE' S2#05
ETEN GEVEN #49
PRANZO DI BEBE #50
LES BALEINES S2#13
LE BALENE #62
ROBOT VALET DE CHAMBRE #?
DE SALOON S2#14
IN DE SALOON #55
DI SPARI #64
ANIMAUX MYSTERIEUX S2#10
GEHEIMZINNIGE DIEREN #54
ANIMALI MISTERIOSI #55
DE MUSIQUE S2#25
DI MUSICA #65
VERDWIJNING VAN BARBAPAPA #62
SCOMPARSA DI BARBAPAPA' #70
MOSRA CANINA #87
EN PLEIN AIR S2#21
SCUOLA ALL'ARIA APERTA #71
COMMEDIA MUSICALE #84
DE LA JUNGLE S2#38
GEHEIM VAN DE JUNGLE #80
DELLA GIUNGLA #88
AU JAPON S2#39
AAN JAPAN #71
IN GIAPPONE #89
When American producers wanted to made a
faithful animated version of J.R.R. Tolkien's THE HOBBIT, they
applied once again to Toru Hara's studio, where some of
the famous illustrator Arthur Rackham's works were
accurately examined. Thanks to experience provided by
supervisor Tsuguyuki Kubo this TV special had to count no less
of 40.000 cels, boasting about nearly two-hour of good
animation. The beautiful backgrounds were made by Hidetoshi
Kaneko and Kazuko Ito under artistic supervision of a veteran
such as Minoru Nishida. Direction and screenplay were
respectively assigned to Katsuhisa Yamada and Romeo Muller. In
the collectors world is still valued the album relesed by
Disney's Vista Record, that owned a splendid film-book (Disney
group already released the soundtrack albums of 'TWAS THE
NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS and WINTER WONDERLAND). This TV special
won the Christopher Award and it was the first TV product of
any work by South African author J.R.R. Tolkien as well.
Very important for success of it, was the voice
characterization of Bilbo, for which had been called a
best-known talent actor such as Orson Bean. In the same year,
Topcraft was once again helpful to Tatsunoko, since this one
was involved in a co-production with France's Procidis. During its
filming, Tomoko Kida left Tatsunoko to join Topcraft's editing
department. In the course of 1977, Hidekazu Ohara was also
employed in the I/B animator role. After Topcraft disbandment
his apparitions in the world of TV animation will be rare. He
undertook the career of director for commercial shorts.
THE HOBBIT was originally
premiered in November 1977 on NBC. It brought Rankin/Bass at a whole new
Thanks to this work, Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass had
a prestigious Peabody Award. It was the most awarded Rankin/ Bass TV
In 1978 was released the feature film THE LORD OF THE RINGS,
but it was not a Rankin/Bass production. It presented the adventures
written on the first book of J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy. (LINK)
Ralph Bakshi directed this work on the accurate screenplay achieved by
Peter S. Beagle. (LINK)
Bakshi was one of a few American cartoonist who believed in
the adult animation and Beagle is still one of the most appreciated England's novellist. Even if the animation parts were made at an high
level, it was never been completely appreciated by Tolkien fans, due
to the incompleted ending. Furthermore, Bakshi did an eccessive use of live
action in the second half of it. In the next year Arthur
Rankin and Jules Bass premiered an ideal but-not-official sequel of THE
LORD OF THE RINGS, entitled it THE RETURN OF THE KING. Character
design was similar to THE HOBBIT, since anew were Lester Abrams and Tsuguyuki
Kubo to realize it. In spite of being a low-cost TV special, it was a
successful follow up to THE HOBBIT on several different levels, boasting an
amount of circa 47.000 cels. This
new effort of Rankin/Bass did have really nothing to envy to the famous film
of Bakshi, even if the critics slighted it. It is my duty to remember that also
in the critically acclaimed Bakshi's productions the tedious and
expensive process of coloration was partly supplied by a Korean factory.
It captured the strong feel of
Tolkien's book and was recently released through LORIMAR-Telepictures.
It was premiered on NBC during May
1980, but it was actually completed at the end of 1979.
THE HOBBIT and
THE RETURN OF THE KING have at time been relased on VHS from
Warner Home Video. Now they are available on DVD, but only
in NTSC. In the period between the production of these two
titles, Topcraft made a musical tv-special based on Dickens
Christmas Carol titled THE STINGIEST MAN OF TOWN. It was
realized for NBC and features the voice talent of Walter
Matthau. Masahiro Yoshida, Fumiko Kawada and Yoshiko Sasaki
were key animators, while Kazuko Ito did the background
paintings based on Kazusuke Yoshihara's layout. Its final
cost was 1,5$ million. This Rankin/bass special was also the
only one to be broadcast in Japan. Because of this, some
sources consider it to be anime (by the definition of the
word which refers exclusively to Japanese animation).
A rare photo of Topcraft's I/B
London's ITC Films heard rumors about these works and so
chose Topcraft to make an animated feature film of THE LAST
UNICORN in association with Rankin/Bass. Peter S. Beagle, original author of this novel, entirely planned the screenplay and a little part of the storyboard together with co-director Katsuhisa Yamada. It was one of the few
cel-animated feature films produced by Arthur Rankin Jr. to be theatrically
released and it was presented by Lord Grade with Martin Stanger in role of associate producer for ITC.
THE LAST UNICORN took no less than 17 months in order to complete it: the production started in the middle of 1980 to be
finished in October 1981, just in time for the Christmas distribution. The film has the boast to have been animate with 75.000
cels, the highest number ever performed for a
work of Rankin/Bass (if it is hypothesized that there they have worked around
twenty I/B animators for such period, it is easy to realize that each of them had to draw at least 10
sheets a day). The tecnique was further enhanced despite that of previous movies, thanks to the ability and patience provided once more by supervisor Tsuguyuki Kubo. Every
phase of the film was made inside the studio, including the sound effects.
Jimmy Webb wrote the lyrics for the
THE LAST UNICORN soundtrack.
The additional storyboard sequences
by Don Duga and Tsuguyuki Kubo.
The virtuous movements of camera were done by Hiroyasu Omoto and his assistant Koji Shiragami. The artistic direction was done by three greatest artist as Minoru Nishida, Mitsuo Iwazaki and Kazusuke Yoshihara, who created some of the most
sumptuous background paintings ever seen. Mia Farrow did a wonderful voice for Amalthea, as did Christopher Lee for evil King Haggard. In fact, this may be considered one of the most talented voice cast Rankin/Bass has ever assembled. During the Christmas festivities it is regularly aired under the title DAS LETZTE EHINORN by the German network RTL2, which has also allowed many Italian fans
to admire the splendid Kazuyuki Kobayashi's sequence, in which thousand of unicorns take life from the waves of the sea. A latest curiosity: Lee also send his talented voice for the German dubbing. A new live/CGI version of this movie had been announced
during 2003, but it is not a Rankin/Bass
production (in 2006 IMDb shut down their page, since they were unable to verify that the film was actually being
made). THE WIZARD OF OZ was a 1981 Japanese anime feature film directed by rookie Fumihiko
Takayama (He started its career in 1978 as camera operator on episodes 24 and 29 of
SHIN LUPIN SANSEI). The movie was based on classic book by L. Frank Baum,
and produced by Yoshimitsu Banno and Katsumi Ueno for Toho.
At Topcraft was prepared a substantial portion of key frames by the hands of
Mitsuru Hosoya. It was distributed the United States by Paramount Pictures: this movie was at last dubbed into Japanese for release in the country in
1986. The music of the film were composed by a person not yet very famous: Jo
THE FLIGHT OF DRAGONS was broadcast
in the USA four years after its completion. The additional screenplay was
written by Jeffrey Walker.
Alan L. Gleitsman supplied the role
of executive producer in the US version of THE WIZARD OF OZ. It has no
relation with 1986's TV series.
1982 marked the latest co-production with American Rankin/Bass and it was named THE FLIGHT OF DRAGONS. The
script was principally based upon the Peter Dickinson's fantasy book by the same
title and upon the relatively unknown book THE DRAGON AND THE GEORGE by Gordon R.
Dickson. The TV special conveied a plain enviromental message, but never didactic. The animation presented many
similarities with THE HOBBIT and the previous THE LAST UNICORN, since it was mostly made by the same animators team. Tadakatsu Yoshida
and Hidemi Kubo, with the aid of Susumu Shiraume, took care of the entire layout
design, inspired by original book illustrator Wayne Anderson. Katsuhisa Yamada
and Fumihiko Takayama did storyboard and co-direction.
time were recruited young key animators, such as Mitsuru
Hosoya, Yoshiji Kigami, Mariko Aizawa and Toshio Kaneko. For
the first time in his career, Takashi Watanabe did the key
animations. He was born in July 22, 1957 and started its
career as I/B animator in 1977. He's
today a well-liked director, thanks to the successful TV
series SLAYERS. As already occurred in the
WINTER WONDERLAND's US version, Kazuyuki Kobayashi was wrongly
credited in key animator's role, when he instead took care of
continuity design. 1982 also saw Topcraft involved in two TV
series for the Japanese audience. The first one is the sequel
(never aired) of YOKAI NINGEN BEM, for which two
episodes were completed only. The second was the animated
transposition of the MGM's masterpiece movie "The
Yearling", KOJIKA MONOGATARI, in which the key
frames were signed by Tadakatsu Yoshida, Mitsuru Hosoya and
Yoshiko Sasaki. Toward the end of the same year, Kazuyuki
Kobayashi and Katsuhisa Yamada respectively took care of
continuity design and direction of JERINKO CHIE's
episode 45. This is was not the first time Topcraft worked for
TMS. In fact, Topcraft produced the animation on some episodes
of SHIN LUPIN SANSEI. Later, Tsuguyuki Kubo took care
of the entire layout design on the Rankin/Bass production of THE
CONEHEADS; the name of the studio is still unknown, except
that the camera operations were provided by Trans Arts. In
according to Wikipedia, it is rumored that Nelvana's EASTER
FEVER was made by Topcraft, but we cannot prove it to be
List of SHIN LUPIN
SANSEI's episodes made at Topcraft
Kazuyuki Kobayashi, Masahiro Yoshida
Yukio Sakada, Toshio Kaneko
Yumiko Taguchi, Kiyo Mizutani
Hayao miyazaki was born at Tokyo in
January 5, 1941. At beginning of his career he worked on Toei's OKAMI
SHONEN KEN and MAHO TSUKAI SALLY.
Takahata was born in October 10, 1935. ALPS NO SHOJO
HEIDI, AKAGE NO AN, and JERINKO CHIE are some of the
famous TV series directed by him.
inside one of many Tokyo's offices, Hayao Miyazaki and Isao
Takahata ran against TMS president Yutaka Fujioka, who
wanted to involved them in the planning of LITTLE NEMO
(a feature film co-produced with foreign financial
benefits). But Miyazaki had never accepted any order from
the commercial managements. After the CAGLIOSTRO's
commercial failure he was employed as teacher at Telecom
Animation Film (TAF): it was and still is the most important
TMS subsidiary. Soon afterward, he was called by Tokuma
Shoten to realize an animated version of its manga NAUSICAÄ.
With much of disappoint of the Animage readers, it was
interrupted to develop MEITANTEI HOLMES, a very
expensive TV series co-produced between TMS and Italian
Rever. Howhere, HOLMES was frozen after just four
episodes completed, because of some economical problems. So,
Isao Takahata, in its new role of executive producer, was in
charged to find a production facility able to make NAUSICAÄ,
since Tokuma was a publishing house with no experience in
animated films. Altough TMS owned the necessary know-how, it
was promptly set aside, because of recent disagreements.
Toei Doga, Sunrise, Tatsunoko and the most of Japanese major
firms were fully absorbed in the production of a number of
TV series. Accordingly, a multitude of
new smaller studios began popping up all over Tokyo. Isao
Takahata with no doubt chose Topcraft, whose works were
already known by him. Toru Hara's studio would be ideal in
capturing all of the fantastic atmosfers in which Miyazaki
had set its Nausicaa's characters. Topcraft was one of the
few subcontracting studios to develop a product from the
phase of storyboarding to reach the phases of editing and
shooting (a multiplane camera was purchased in 1976). As
well as, Toru Hara had been really the first producer to
believe in Miyazaki 15 years before, making to go out him of
the anonymity. In those days, Topcraft had finished some
segments for a feature film on behalf of Dutch Toonder
Studios and a few episodes of Sanrio's BUTTON NOSE
were in working. Subsequently, Hayao Miyazaki left TMS to
join the not previously widely known Topcraft, where he
realized his definitive masterpiece. It will be soon
acclaimed as a real cult-movie from public and critic all
over the world. The film's message was clearly against every
war and pro-enviromentalist. Akira Kurosawa said: "KAZE
NO TANI NO NAUSICAÄ spread the Miyazaki's fame out of
Japan. I really respect it!" (taken
from SEN TO CHIHIRO Italian press-release).
sequence designed by Kazuyuki Kobayashi.
evocative sequence was done by Hidekazu Ohara.
NAUSICAÄ Kazuo Komatsubara was chosen as animation
supervisor and character designer (he was already main
planner in Takahata's masterpiece GAUCHE THE CELLIST).
A part of the key-frames were done by Kazuyuki Kobayashi and
Yoshinori Kanada, who animated all the hard action sequence
for the film. Furthermore, Isao Takahata called some of the
most capable veteran free-lance such as Yoichi Kotabe,
Noboru Takano and some members of Oh! Production like
Tadashi Fukuda and Kitaro Kosaka. This time Mitsuki Nakamura
did art director. The color style had no difference with
that of THE LAST UNICORN, since Fukuo Suzuki took care of
both movies color designation. There also worked in it two
young man named Hideaki Anno and Mahiro Maeda. Hideaki Anno
himself was one of the main GAINAX's founders, and he
conceived one of the most recent successful TV-series such
as FUSIGI NO UMI NO NADIA. Accordingly, Mahiro Maeda
did the prop-design for NADIA, but, at the same time,
maintained the collaboration with Ghibli.
This very complex part
of the layout was prepared by Tadakatsu Yoshida.
to the help of some external facilities, NAUSICAÄ was
completed and distribuited in March 1984 (in fact, no
animation studio could make an entire long-length movie by
itself; in this case were involved Doga Kobo, Yamato
Production and Kusama Art to name a few). Curiously, NAUSICAÄ
counted just 56.000 cels against around 75.000 cels of THE
LAST UNICORN, which was produced for an exigent American
audience, requiring a highest technique. NAUSICAÄ
instead got its success thanks to spectacular action-scenes,
dramatic close-ups, wondering SFX and an innovative use of
camera supplied by a young Koji Shiragami. A high quality
animation requires 24 cel pictures per second. This was the
standard for Disney, but it was held too much expensive for
Japanese firms to cope with. In fact, they makes only 8 cels
and each cel is triplicated by the camera operators. They
generated exactly 24 cels per second! Despite of the scarce
advertising, it was one of the most resounding hit of
Japanese cinematography's history, receiving several awards
all over the world. Although it was their first film to be
produced for homeland's audience in the last twelve years,
the names of Topcraft's members became really famous. .
The merit of this success had to be
tributed to a clever Animage's redactor named Toshio
Suzuki, who worked in the production committee. Initially,
Kazunori Itoh was scheduled as co-screenwriter, but in the
final version its name wasn't listed, supposedly because
of a sudden escape due to incomprehensions with Miyazaki.
Tsuguyuki Kubo and Topcraft's crew were also helpful in
the making of MACROSS AI OBOETEIMASUKA, released
from Tatsunoko in the same year. Taking advantage of
NAUSICAÄ's largest success, THE LAST UNICORN got a
Japanese VHS version by CBS/FOX Home Video.
Jean Moebius said:
"While LITTLE NEMO took six years to finish,
Miyazaki made KAZE NO TANI NO NAUSICAÄ in nine
months!" (taken from the book Hayao Miyazaki Master
of Japanese animation).
was not a co-production, although IMDB ranks it as a
Cinar's TV series. Kazuo Okada was involved as artistic
supervisor in all of the episodes.
1985 they were to be completed the last episodes of BUTTON
NOSE. A children oriented TV series produced by Sanrio
Film of Hello Kitty's fame.
was also producing a 26 episode TV series titled KOALA BOY
KOKKI. In spite of being a story for a children audience, it had
a fluid animation, thanks to the experience provided by Kazuyuki
Kobayashi, Hidekazu Ohara and Masahiro Yoshida. It was directed
by Takashi Tanazawa (production assistant in THE LAST UNICORN
and director's help in KAZE NO TANI NO NAUSICAÄ). During
its filming, Hayao Miyazaki and Toru Hara were urged from Tokuma
to produce a new movie feature. Hayao Miyazaki, set aside
continuation of KAZE NO TANI NO NAUSICAÄ to develop a new
boys' adventure story for theatrical release. At the end of this
TV series, Topcraft's employees had to wait final communication
for changing the trade-name for Studio Ghibli (Ghibli is the
name of one of the favourite Miyazaki's Italian airplanes). In
consequence of it, many of its members left Toru Hara, maybe for
the Miyazaki's severity or, probably, because of decision to pay
them by a piecework contract. Long time before, many animators
left Toei Doga for the same reason. Tsuguyuki Kubo did the
entire layout design on the special THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS,
made at Cuckoo's Nest Studio in Taiwan. After some irregular
collaborations, Katsuhisa Yamada chose to establish oneself at
Madhouse, where he directed some episodes of well-famous fantasy
OVA saga titled RECORD OF LODOSS WAR. Even if for a short
time, Topcraft employed many others well-known artists, such as
Keiji Hisaoka, Katsumi Aoshima and Yoshinori Kanemori. Hisaoka
did the storyboard for THE HOBBIT and its sequel. He left for
taking back the career of director at Toei Doga. Aoshima and
Kanemori left Topcraft almost immediately in order to establish
their own studio. During the 1990s, Katsuhisa Yamada and
Yoshinori Kanemori respectively took care of direction and
continuity design on Hanna & Barbera's TV series of THE
PIRATES OF DARK WATER, made at Madhouse studios.
Katsuhito Akiyama and Yukimatsu Ito
did the most of the storyboards. This was signed by
Shigeru Ohmachi in 1988.
complete show counted 125 half-hours. Some of these were
shipped and completed in Korea by Hanho Heung Up.
Topcraft break-up, Tsuguyuki Kubo, Tadakatsu Yoshida and
Minoru Nishida moved at Pacific Animation Corp. (also known as
PAC). PAC was principally formed to carry on the work that
Topcraft were doing for Rankin/Bass. This time on their
longest TV series: THUNDERCATS. The PAC's banner was
seen to appear into the Hanna & Barbera's newest TV series
THE REAL ADVENTURES OF JONNY QUEST. PAC was founded in
1985 by Mushi former member Masaki Iizuka (with Rankin's
encouragement) and then sold to Disney in 1989, when for
Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass the moment of their retirement
came. We've to suppose that it was for a long time that
Disney's managers followed the movements of the ex-members of
Topcraft. Iizuka took care of most of Rankin's Tokyo affairs
as associate producer and he also was actually the president
of Walt Disney Animation (Japan) until 1992. The last TV
series produced by PAC for Rankin/Bass was COMIC STRIP,
which contained four mini-series: TIGERSHARKS, KARATE KAT
and MINI-MONSTERS (both in conjunction with E&G
FILM), and for last STREET FROGS (drawing under
guidance of the Japanese staff was made at some Taiwan
studios). Arthur Rankin Jr. said: "THUNDERCATS was made
by our animator group in Tokyo which has worked for us for
almost all of our films. They are headed by Masaki Iizuka, who
has been with us for over twenty years, I am eternally
grateful for the splendid quality we have achieved together".
himself corrects the principal drawings of LAPUTA.
TENKU NO SHIRO LAPUTA, the very first official film marked
Studio Ghibli, was punctually premiered in May 1986. Before
the production started, three young skill animators are
employed: Shinji Otsuka, Toshio Kawaguchi and Katsuya Kondo
(he was working at Annapuru on some overseas co-productions
for TMS). The screenplay, freely taken from some western
classic books by Robert Luis Stevenson, Jonathan Swift and
H.G. Wells, was entirely written by Hayao Miyazaki, who had
just returned from a brief journey in Wales. The main staff
was almost entirely renewed, from animation director, Tsukasa
Tannai, to key animators Masako Shinohara and Masaaki Endo,
and with the clever art director Nizo Yamamoto (they
previously worked upon many of the TMS masterpieces).
Takahata, once again executive producer, recalled Kazuyuki
Kobayashi, Megumi Kagawa, Mahiro Maeda, and Kazuhisa Nagai.
Kitaro Kosaka, Tadashi Fukuda and Hirotsugu Kawasaki
(uncredited layout assistance on NAUSICAÄ) were involved
again in charge of key animators for Oh! Production. The final
scene in which Pazu fight against Muhska was designed by
special-guest animator Kazuhide Tomonaga, who was one of the
main key-layout designer on LUPIN SANSEI CAGLIOSTRO NO
SHIRO. At that time, he was still working for TMS and
today he's still employed at Telecom. Michiyo Yasuda, who was
in the staff of the best-loved Miyazaki's TV-series of MIRAI
SHONEN CONAN, did a wonderful use of colors. The amazing
movements of camera were made by veteran Hirokata Takahashi,
together with Koji Shiragami. Toshio Suzuki, one of the
greatest Miyazaki admirer was this time in charge of the
production committee. Although there were all premises for a
new redounding success, TENKU NO SHIRO LAPUTA boxed less than
KAZE NO TANI NO NAUSICAÄ. Toru Hara gambled too much in
its market politics: "High costs, high risks, high
returns" (and scarce advertising...). Always in 1986 it
appears on the screens the beautiful TV-series OZ NO MAHO
TSUKAI, produced by Panmedia. On the most of the episodes
the key frame were made by all the most famous artists of
Topcraft's era, among which Tadakatsu Yoshida, Tomohiko Okubo
and Kazuyuki Kobayashi.
the production of LAPUTA were involved Studio Gallop,
Visual 80, and Studio Fantasia. Naoshi Ozawa was once
again head of I/B department.
beautiful theme song lyrics were written by Hayao
Miyazaki himself, composed by Jo Hisaishi, and sung by
21-years old Azumi Inoue.
1987, along with the announced coming in the Ghibli's main
staff of Yoshifumi Kondo and Yoshiharu Sato (both artists of
Nippon Animation Co.), two long-length feature films were to
be announced at the same time. They have once more been
produced by Toru Hara, this time in the role of executive. The
first one, HOTARU NO HAKA, was directed by Isao Takahata and
it was an upsetting adaptation taken from a true story script
by Akinori Nosaka and based on facts happened during the
Second World War. Toru Hara called up in the role of key
animators Shoetsu Hane, Hideaki Anno, Noboru Takano, Megumi
Kagawa and Masuji Kigami, under the clever supervision of the
new-coming Yoshifumi Kondo. This film conveied a unique and
strong anti-war message and a touching testimony of the human
spirit. In the same 1987, a handful of artists by now entered
already the sphere of Ghibli's main collaborators, made the
most of the key frames on DEVILMAN's OVA. In fact Tokyo
Momonga is not anything else other than the name of the group
formed by Katsuya Kondo, Shinji Otsuka, Masaaki Endo and
Toshio Kawaguchi. If we also add the partecipation of Michiyo
Yasuda and Katsu Hisamura to the realization of the
backgrounds, we can officially say that this OVA has been
achieved by Miyazaki's studio at least for a good 50%. It is
my duty to remember that the director Tsutomu Iida, was the
Miyazaki's first assistant on LAPUTA.
NO HAKA was not sponsorized by Tokuma. It has been in
fact produced in association with Shinkosha. The film
had almost 55.000 drawings.
composer Joe Hisaishi did a wonderful work on
TONARI NO TOTORO. Hayao Miyazaki wrote the lirycs
for ending song. It was sung by Azumi Inoue.
poetical and joyful TONARI NO TOTORO by Hayao Miyazaki, went
against dramatic atmospheres of his colleague. Yoshiharu Sato
took care of character sketches and continuity design, while
Kazuo Oga did artistic direction. A number of backgrounds were
made by Hidetoshi Kaneko, who so returned to work for Toru
Hara (he was in fact one of the art-directors in THE HOBBIT
and in the dull THE DRAGON THAT WASN'T; today he is well-liked
for his beautiful background paintings in the OVA series of RECORD
OF LODOSS WAR). This work marked the end of Tsukasa
Tannai's partnership. Tannai left Ghibli to take up the role
of animation supervisor at Studio Gallop along with Kazuyuki
Kobayashi. TONARI NO TOTORO was the first Ghibli's film to be
officially released in the U.S.A. This movie was distributed
in 1988 by Toho's cinema, but the success was just modest,
covering hardly the highest production costs. Eight years
before, the producers of the TMS had seen correct when they
re-sent back the storyboard, which had to be retained as a
project with a scarce potentiality from the commercial point
of view. This is one of the few times that Oh! Production
didn't participate in the making, since the additional
drawings were signed by Madhouse. The fluidity of the movie
was also guaranteed from the skillful I/B animators at Studio
Fantasia and Anime ToroToro. This one was set up by veteran
director Yuki Kinoshita and it will be fixed presence in the
next films produced by Ghibli.
Ghibli's actual headquarters at Koganei.
And so, when Ghibli's adventure
seemed to be arrived at its epilogue, Toshio Suzuki tried to
convince Miyazaki on planning of an animated feature film based on the
best-selled book by Eiko Kadono. Miyazaki accepted to do it. MAJO NO
TAKKYUBIN (KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE) was completed and relaesed in July
1989. This was the first time Miyazaki do not realized a subjet. In
despite of it, MAJO NO TAKKYUBIN was the most successful film ever
made in Japanese animation. Toshio Suzuki in this occasion assumed the
role of associate producer, while Isao Takahata did music direction.
Animation quality was radically increased and saw Yoshinori
Kanada (free-lance that partecipated in many important 80's animated
movies), Shoetsu Hane, Megumi Kagawa and Yoshinori Sato involved as
key animators under the supervision of Yoshifumi Kondo, Katsuya Kondo
and Shinji Otsuka. Katsuya Kondo (who has no relationship with
Yoshifumi!) did an accurate character-design too. This movie was also
the beginning of Sachiko Sugino's partnership with Studio Ghibli
(firstly she was trained at Osamu Dezaki's studio). Studio Cockpit
(established in 1978 by an Eiken's ex-producer), worked side by side
for the first time with Oh! Production, Anime ToroToro and Doga Kobo
in the making of a Ghibli's movie. Box office widely exceeded
production and advertising costs, setting in the same time a new
Accordingly, Toshio Suzuki thus became
president of Ghibli, and most of the employees, such as I/B animators,
BG painters and camera operators, were hired with monthly payment. It
was possible thanks to a conspicuous sussidy of Tokuma Shoten. The key
animators had preferred to remain freelance artists, since they held
it more profitable than a regular salary. The former president Toru
Hara remained in role of coordinator. Since now, a single failure
could signify the closing of the Studio. The Studio Ghibli's name
appeared in anime made by other companies as well. Many names of the
Toshio Suzuki's studio, amongst others Mariko Suzuki, Italian's
Alexandra Weirauch and David Encinas, were credited within hits like SPRIGGAN
and Gainax's EVANGELION. Furthermore, Hiroko Minowa, Sachiko
Sugino and a lot of people of Ghibli's I/B department have worked on
Disney's titles such as POCAHONTAS 2 and THE TIGGER MOVIE
(even if the name of the studio was omitted). Alexandra asserts in an
interview that they've also lent assistance on titles as FUSHIGI
YUGI and FIRE EMBLEM
after this triumph all the following Ghibli's movies were released
marked the unique collaboration with the well-known art director
Miyazaki was executive producer in OMOIDE POROPORO, directed by Isao
Takahata. Toshio Suzuki once again was in the role of associate
producer. Yoshifumi Kondo, who also did character sketches, Katsuya
Kondo and Yoshiharu Sato did animation supervisors. In the role of
key animators were chosen Mahiro Maeda, Megumi Kagawa, Shoetsu Hane,
Junko Ikeda, and Tomoko Kida as editor (everyone of them already
worked on NAUSICAÄ). From LAPUTA's staff were called back
Masako Shinohara, Masaaki Endo and Noriko Moritomo (She was one of the
first Nippon Animation's employees to join Ghibli). A young I/B animator
named Masashi Ando begin its career in the main staff: he will then
become key animator in the forthcoming film. Toru Hara left Studio
Ghibli after eight years of permanence: its new studio facilities in
Kichijoji were too expensive. Another anime movie released by Studio
Pierrot, but that it could have been confused with a Ghibli's
production, was KUMO NO YONI, KAZE NO YONI. But this is not the
case, since Katsuya Kondo has only realized the character design of it.
POROPORO counted almost 74.000 cells,
more than every other Ghibli's movie previously made.
of this success was due to
the art director Kazuo Oga.
He was assistant of well-known Shichiro Kobayashi.
A year later,
Miyazaki was involved in another original
project. He took advantage of his love for aircrafts and Italian sceneries.
KURENAI NO BUTA (PORCO ROSSO) was so set about in the Adriatic sea during Second World
War. Almost all Ghibli's talents did key animation: Yoshifumi Kondo,
Masashi Ando, Katsuya Kondo, Masaaki Endo, Noriko Moritomo, Yoshiharu Sato,
Mahiro Maeda and young I/B animator Takehiro Noda. Megumi Kagawa and Toshio
Kawaguchi did an accurate continuity design on the original Miyazaki's
sketches. Studio Takuranke (founded in 1987 by Yasuhiko Sato) increased the
handful of firms that they were rigidly selected for collaborating with
Ghibli. As in all of his previous indipendent works, Miyazaki called music
Joe Hisaishi to make the soundtrack. Hisaishi was born on December 5, 1950. He published his first
album along with Wonder City Orchestra. (LINK)
ending song of KURENAI NO BUTA was wrote and sung by Tokiko Kato.
NO BUTA was originally conceived as a
promotional short-length for Japan Airlines (JAL).
doubts about KURENAI NO BUTA success, but it was another triumph for
Studio Ghibli. The movie reached almost immediately the top of the most seen
movies. After this production, Studio Ghibli moved in new and modern facilities
at Koganei, a green suburb of Tokyo. Unfortunately, the joyful atmosphere due to this success was
soon ruined by the sad news of Yasuji Mori's dead. He was one of the earliest
Nippon Dogasha's (the actual Toei Animation) founders and he formed many of the
animators who worked into Ghibli, including Hayao Miyazaki. After this film Yoshiharu Sato
left Ghibli to carry on the collaboration with Nippon
Animation. Its style was one of the real points of strength of these studios for over 20 years.
the making of POMPOKO
a bit of CGI
was used to correct some complex backgrounds..
the end of 1993, UMI GA KIKOERU was released in the cinemas for a brief
period of time.
UMI GA KIKOERU was the sole
tentative to produce a TV special. It was considered a wrong step,
because the advertising sponsors didn't covered all the expensive
production costs. Tomomitsu Mochizuki was chosen as supervising
director. He also wrote the lyrics for the theme song. Katsuya Kondo did
the characters sketches and continuity design.This was
the first time Ghibli's name wasn't associated with Takahata and
Miyazaki as well. They were fully involved on planning the next
long-length theatrical release. POMPOKO illustrated the
destruction of the natural world caused by the men and the forest's own
reaction. The ecological message had already been introduced many
times (ten years before, NAUSICAÄ gained a WWF award). For
continuity design were selected the same artists that took care of it on
KURENAI NO BUTA: Megumi Kagawa and Toshio Kawaguchi (he who did the
opening animation in LAPUTA). Even though Suzuki had some doubts, it was
very successful in the Japanese best ranking, reaching the discussed hit
THE LION KING (it is undoubtful that Disney copied situations and
characters of Tezuka's JUNGLE TAITEI. Disney did it voluntarly
or in unintenional way? We don't yet known it...). The merit of this
success was above all for partecipation of some Telecom key employees
such as Kazuhide Tomonaga and Nobuo Tomizawa (both had set up this
studio togheter with the greatest ex-Toei veteran Yasuo Otsuka). In both
films Masako Shinohara and Yoshifumi Kondo did the main key animations
together with some young artists grown in the studio, such as Takeshi
Inamura and Masashi Ando.
title song was a Japanese version of Jonh Denver's Country Roads.
It was sung by Yoko Honna.
was not the sole short-length produced by Studio Ghibli. There're
in fact various tentatives for NTV's adversting.
was the time for Yoshifumi Kondo to become supervising director on MIMI
WO SUMASEBA. In this project Hayao Miyazaki did the whole storyboard
design. Kitaro Kosaka took care of continuity design, which was
faithful to the original manga by Hirogi Aoi. In the role of art
director was chosen Satoshi Kuroda, who was a fixed employee of Ghibli
since 1991, but already in the backgrounds department of MAJO NO
TAKKYUBIN together with Kazuo Oga and Hidetoshi Kaneko. Furthermore, for
Takehiro Noda was finally come the promotion in the role of key
animator. Initially, he did the I/B animations on OMOIDE POROPORO. At
that time was also produced ON YOUR MARK, a surprising short-length
music-clip for pop group of Chage & Aska. This was directed by Hayao
Miyazaki, while Masashi Ando and Yoji Takeshige were respectively
involved as animation supervisor and art director. But was during
the summer 1996 that arrived a very important surprise. Walt Disney
acquired the rights for the pluri-delaied MONONOKE HIME and almost all
Ghibli's movies, including Topcraft's NAUSICAÄ. This notice
was immediately published by any journal all over the world. MONONOKE
HIME presented resemblances with NAUSICAÄ, as many epic scenes or love
for natural beings, but differently, it was set in the Middle
Age Japan, showing characters and sceneries never known by the
Western public. Disney, for over ten years, had already took
advantage of Japanese studios to made some of its products (amongst
others DUCKTALES, WUZZLES, THE TIGGER MOVIE, POCHAONTAS 2 and
much more), but this deal still render it an undisputed giant in the
international animation market. Time before, Tokuma and Ghibli had
already been contacted by several western distributors but was Buena
Vista that they at last chosen. Furthermore, Disney can be one of the sponsor
of the future
Ghibli's movies. Considering this market politic, we may consider
the recent TONARI NO YAMADA KUN, SEN TO CHIHIRO and HOWL NO UGOKU SHIRO as
co-productions between Japan and USA."Miyazaki makes successful
movies for families: this is still your most important target"
says Jonh Roth, president of Walt Disney Studios.
headquarters in Seoul.
HIME was finally premiered in Japan on July 1997, counting near
140.000 drawns. To complete them in time for the final
scheduled date, was used Digital Painting. The main staff
counted nearly two-hundreds animators, among others Megumi
Kagawa, Masaaki Endo, Toshio Kawaguchi, Noriko Moritomo,
Masako Shinohara, Takeshi Inamura and Takehiro Noda. Masashi
Ando, Yoshifumi Kondo and Kitaro Kosaka did the continuity
design with the utmost care. Some of them were with Hayao
Miyazaki since Ghibli's foundation. Kondo worked for the last
time since he suddendly died at the age of 50.
Furthermore, this new Miyazaki's masterpiece marked the
support of Seoul's DR-Movie. Each external facility is
rigorously checked by Ghibli's inspectors. It was the first
time that Ghibli took advantage of a Korean facility, altough
the most part of the worldwide animation business started
long time before to make series there. This long
awaited Miyazaki's movie also signs the last collaboration
with Yoshinori Kanada. Even if it was a veritable triumph for
Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, Disney was doubtful to released it
in the USA, perhaps because of some strong sequences which
were catalogued unsuitable for a children's audience. PRINCESS
MONONOKE was released uncut in 1999 by Buena Vista's
subsidiary Miramax Film. "About a masterpiece such as
MONONOKE HIME, when you'll see it, you'll immediately want
to have every Miyazaki's movie!" Andy Wachowski (taken
from SEN TO CHIHIRO Italian press-release).
Japan, MONONOKE HIME was exceeded only by the colossal TITANIC
directed by James Cameron.
guest key animator was called Atsuko Tanaka, one of the many
talents inside TMS/Telecom.
next amusing TONARI NO YAMADA KUN was directed by Isao Takahata and
based on the famous comical daily strips by Hisaishi Ishii. Miyazaki had
any role in it, because he was completely exhausted after three years of
working on MONONOKE HIME. Yoshiyuki Momose did the whole layout
design in YAMADA KUN. He has been one of the most important artists at
Ghibli, because designed every one of the movies of Isao
Takahata. Momose was one of the senior draftsmen at Nippon Animation
during the 70's and the 80's and he's also the co-founder of Mook-DLE.
This was not the first time that Hisaishi Ishii's manga were brought in
animaton. In 1986 was in fact released a feature film titled OJA
MANGA YAMADA KUN, but it was a Group Tac production. Everybody
in Studio Ghibli considered it too distant from previous works.
Toshio Suzuki was hesitant, but at the same time was a great admirer of
this manga. However, the success was enough modest and the movie was the
sole flop of his management. Nevertheless it was important,
because marked the end of the analogical era. No cel was in fact used,
cutting the high production costs of manual painting.
final cost was 19$ million, an exorbitant amount of money for
Japanese Animation, but still five times less than a Disney film.
marked an important turn in marketing distribution. Ghibli's
exclusive passed from Toho-Group to Tohoku Shinsha.
Fortunately, the next SEN TO
CHICHIRO, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, reached over any expectation.
This suggestive and picturesque fable was a Miyazaki's return to the
spirituality of TOTORO. As art director was chosen the skilful Yoji
Takeshige (he was born at Philadelphia in 1964 and prior to it he
was the role of background artist in TONARI NO TOTORO, OMOIDE POROPORO
and KURENAI NO BUTA). There are no many action sequences, but its
technique set a new standard in the world of Japanese animation, thanks
to the experience of Masashi Ando, Kitaro Kosaka and Megumi Kagawa.
Above all, this new further Miyazaki's masterpiece has been the most
awarded Studio Ghibli film. It won a prestigious Golden Bear at 2002
Berlin Film Festival, several well-liked Annie Awards and the
Christopher Award as well. At last, it has also been nominated to the
Academy Award as best animated movie, although Disney has two of
its movie in the list. And so, SPIRITED AWAY won Academy Award for
Best Animated Film! Unfortunately, because of the newest International
Crisis, Miyazaki was unable to attend the ceremony.The forthcoming HOWL
NO UGOKU SHIRO, scheduled for Summer 2003 has unfortunately had a new
further delay. The projected release is now Summer 2004. Mamoru Hosoda
had been selected to direct the film, but he left the project and
Miyazaki has taken up the director's role.
Miyazaki receives the prestigious Leone D'Oro!
In 2002 Studio Ghibli released NEKO
NO OGANESHI, a smaller considered film as visual impact, since it has
been made with a limited budget and subcontracted in a large part to the
Korean DR-Movie. The direction was submitted to Hiroyuki Morita. And
also for Toshio Suzuki's studio was the moment to bring on the screen a
novel of the western literature. In fact HOWL NO UGOKU SHIRO is a
free adaptation of the well-known book of Diana W. Jones. This was one
of the best efforts made by Ghibli's staff. A masterpiece, a landmark of
the animation history. A perfect screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki, a
wonderful background styling by Yoji Takeshige, and a great and fluid
animation by Kitaro Kosaka, Takeshi Inamura, and Akihiko Yamashita
(storyboard artist and key frame supervisor on the amazing GIANT
ROBOT's OVA series). And we don't have to forget that a slice of the
success also goes to the music performed by New Japan Philharmonic
Orchestra and to composer Joe Hisaishi, who is one of the many
irreplaceable collaborators of Miyazaki. It almost immediately became
Japan's highest box-office ever. The main staff includes great names
such as Shinji Otsuka, Makiko Futaki, Masako Shinohara and Kenichi
Yamada (I/B animator until 1996). Several addittional firms supported
the production, Madhouse, Oh! Production and Doga Kobo among others.
Despite the trend of subcontracting, the animation process was fully
made in Japan, with no support of Korean facilities. Another short anime
film that shows the extremely well-known Ghibli's imprint was NASU ~
SUMMER IN ANDALUSIA. But this is a Madhouse production! In fact the
character design was achieved by Kitaro Kosaka, who's artistically grown
inside Oh! Production, where he participated in works as NAUSICAÄ
movie had receveied hoards of awards all around the world, among
which an important technological contribution prize at Venice Film
to Disney/Buena Vista the film has been distributed in the United States,
but a scarce promotion has decreed the flop at the box office.
for the preceding film Toshio Suzuki got the rights of a book
of a non-Japanese author, since the Japanese appreciate for a
long time the animate transpositions of works coming from the
western literature. With great surprise the direction of GEDO
SENKI (TALES OF EARTHSEA) is submitted, and not certain to
want of Miyazaki, to his son Goro to its debut in the
animation. In despite of negative critics from rewievers this
long-length feature was in the top ten for many days. The
staff of key animators including veteran such as Megumi
Kagawa, Yoshiyuki Momose and Hideaki Yoshio (Ghibli's member
since 1995). For the first time even Korean animators such as
Kim Dong Jun and Jang Gil Yong, did some key frames. A staff
of some 40 artists took care of background painting, also
including personal of DR-Movie (today one of the most rated
studios in Seoul). Toshiharu Mizutani, Hiromasa Ogura, Kazuo
Oga, Park Jong Im, Ko Hyo Soon, are among the most famous.
Main production facilities were Oh! Production, Gonzo and
character design of GEDO SENKI was taken from an old Hayao
Miyazaki's manga named SHUNA NO TABI.
music was composed by Tamiya Terashima and the theme song was
written by Akino Arai and Goro Miyazaki himself.
year-old distance from the amazing HOWL a Miyazaki's new film was
produced. It's about an enchanted goldfish who befriends a little boy
named Sosuke. Peculiar characteristic of GAKE NO UE NO PONYO was the
absolute absence of CGI. In fact, the computer was exclusively used in
painting more of 17.000 sketches that they were achieved for the film.
The art-director Noboru Yoshida supervised a team of 20 young artists
hocked in the realization of the backgrounds. The impressive action
scenes bring the signature of Atsuko Tanaka and Makiko Futaki, both
among the few veterans to have maintained a respectful role in Studio
Ghibli and both collaborators of Miyazaki from the establishment of
Telecom. Further to Anime ToroToro as support facility, for the first
time were also involved Tatsunoko and Brain Base. The animation, taken
care of by Akihiko Yamashita, Megumi Kagawa and Kitaro Kosaka with the
supervision of Katsuya Kondo, was absolutely fluid. As well as, the
wonder of colors conceived by Michiyo Yasuda is among the most beautiful
things that she has done for Ghibli. In terms of quality, this movie was
one of the maximum efforts of the Japanese animation. Despite it was
released in well 481 cinemas, a record for an animated movie, the film
it boxes a lot less than the precedents. Tendency that it has taken
beginning from HOWL. Will it be for the theme, since the film was
destined to a children's audience, or for the competition of Pixar's
works, beloved by Japanese people? The film was also released in US
theaters on August 15, 2009, but had a modest success.
Japan this movie had to be seen by twelve million people. Up to
2009 it was at the fourth place on the receipts history of Ghibli.
if it was showed and acclaimed at Venice Festival, it's been
excluded from the five best animated films run for the Academy
these years, Ghibli is become effigy of quality, an
undisputed institution amongst worldwide animation
companies. It brought to success disparate genres
with an eye of respect to the family audience, aiming on noble
sentiments such as friendship, sincerity, and respect. Today,
its partnership with USA (started with the foundation of
Topcraft), is real reinforced, due to the recent Disney's
agreement. But the next film has not struck the media, of it
for the choice of the director, the young Hiromasa
Yonebayashi, of it for the subject, "The Borrowers"
of the late English authoress Mary Norton. Now the road is in
slope and a sole interrogative remains: who will be the
successors of Miyazaki and Takahata?
was a part of The Festival of Family Classics.
many episodes of Festival of Family Classics were made at Topcraft?
Today a complete list doesn't yet exist.
Was Topcraft founded as
Videocraft was the precedent name of
Has Miyazaki worked on THE
Miyazaki at that time was employed in Telecom
Animation Film (TAF).
Does a sequel exist
produced by Osamu Tezuka?
They are 2 completely different films. THE
LAST UNICORN was based upon a book of Peter S. Beagle.
animated by Nibariki? Nibariki is the name of Miyazaki's agency that
owns all the rights of author to his works.
official 1993's Pacific Animation logo.
Topcraft involved in THUNDERCATS?
A number of episodes was achieved by Pacific
Animation Corp. and AIC.
its wondering intro work of Yoshinori Kanada?
That sequence brings the signature of Masa
Yuki, who was a great fan of Kanada.
the new TV-series be animated by a Japanese crew?
Warner has announced it for 2011. It will be
animated from Studio 4ºC.
the sequel of YOKAI NINGEN BEM recently broadcast?
Yes. But it is a 2006's Studio Comet production.
Akira Miyazaki a pseudonym of Hayao Miyazaki?
Akira Miyazaki was a scriptwriter that
collaborated with Nippon Animation and other companies.
Hayao Miyazaki used the pseudonym Tsutomu Teruki in the second
TV-series of LUPIN III.
The Enchanted World
Master of Japanese Animation
TENKU NO SHIRO LAPUTA
KAZE NO TANI NO NAUSICAÄ
The only official Web-site on
It is edited by Rick Goldschmidt.
It contains a very interesting
about the history of the worldwide animation.
The official Web-site with
and pictures about Peter Jackson's movies.
It's the greatest Web-site about anime and manga ever made.
You must visit it!
My friend Fabio published the
previous version of my article.
Today, unfortunately, its Web-site no longer exists.
One of the first Web-site that
featured all concerning Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.
Special Thanks to Mr. Paolo Paron
(Società Tolkieniana Italiana)
Very Special Thanks to Lawrence Lin (Nausicaa.net)
to Frank Rafter for the storyboard image