Historically, December 13th has been a big day for announcements from Japanese animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli, and this year is no exception. For the first time since 1988’s dual announcement of My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies, Ghibli co-founders Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki will both have anime films coming out during the same timeframe – namely, summer 2013. So, this summer, Japanese audiences will be treated to Miyazaki’s Kaze Tachinu (“The Wind is Rising”) and Takahata’s Kaguya-hime no Monogatari (“The Tale of Princess Kaguya”). Also happening this summer will be intense feelings of jealousy and longing from yours truly.
In 2009, Miyazaki created a 2-part Kaze Tachinu manga mini-series, which, in conjunction with Tatsuo Hori’s novel of the same name, laid the groundwork for this summer’s film, which explores the life of historic World War II Zero fighter designer Jiro Horikoshi’s life. And Miyazaki didn’t just direct the film; he wrote the screenplay and conceived of the story himself. In case you weren’t already super excited, the news that longtime collaborator Joe Hisaishi will score the film. It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly five years since Miyazaki’s last film, Ponyo, but better late than never.
A re-imagining of Taketori Monogatari (“The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter”), a 10th century Japanese folktale, Takahata’s Kaguya-hime no Monogatari centers on a princess named Kaguya who was discovered as a baby inside an luminescent bamboo stalk. Although Takahata revealed that this would be his next project back in 2009, it’s still his first film in nearly 14 years (the last being My Neighbors the Yamadas). Also joining the production team are composer Shinichiro Ikebe (Future Boy Conan, Akira Kurosawa’s Kagemusha) and co-writer Riko Sakaguchi. Hearing the film’s tagline, “a Princess’ crime and punishment,” and knowing that both films are coming out on the same day this summer, has me giddier than a Susuwatari in an unswept chimney.