In the spirit of full disclosure, I did not grow up a ravenous anime connoisseur, as so many of my fellow animation geeks. I enjoyed some shows that were anime without really noticing that they were (like Rainbow Brite and TMNT), but I didn’t watch much Pokemon, Yu-gi-oh!, or Dragon Ball Z (much to my husband’s chagrin.) I did see Spirited Away the year it won the Academy Award and I, to be perfectly honest, did not get it. So much more fantastical and bizarre than what I was used to, I wrote it off as “weird.” Yet, I always knew there was something great I was missing–whether because the whole world was raving about it or from some inherent awesome-story-detector deep inside me, I’m not sure. In any case, it is now one of my favorite animated films, and Chihiro is one of the most interesting, admirable characters ever depicted–on-screen or in print.
Three new Blu-rays of English-dubbed Studio Ghibli features are on their way this fall. Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, and The Wind Rises are all scheduled to be released in the U.S. on November 18th. All three films were released in the U.S. by The Walt Disney Studios and Disney has put together these new Blu-ray sets.
Studio Ghibli, the whimsical company responsible for such brilliant films as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, has been making headlines recently. First, Miyazaki announced his retirement and his last film, The Wind Rises, debuted with much critical acclaim. Now, purported inner turmoil is threatening to close the doors of the studio he left. However, despite doom and gloom articles abound on the status of the most prominent Japanese animation studio, the official word from the Ghibli’s mouth about their current hiatus is lacking a terminal diagnosis.
The Walt Disney Studios announced today that revered animation director Hayao Miyazaki will come out of retirement to direct a remake of Disney’s 1985 animated feature The Black Cauldron. “We couldn’t be more thrilled that Hayao Miyazaki has agreed to lead this exciting project,” said a Disney executive. “The Black Cauldron is one of the films in our canon that, well, could use a reboot. Miyazaki wanted a meaty project, particularly one with an oracular pig, so we decided to give him this one.” Miyazaki had no comment.
Studio Ghibli and Japan’s Polygon Pictures are joining forces to produce an animated TV series for the Japanese public television channel NHK BS Premium called Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter. The series is based on the novel by author Astrid Lindgren (Pippi Longstocking) and will follow the adventures of a little girl raised by robbers in a mysterious woodland area of Medieval Europe. Gorō Miyazaki, Hayao Miyazaki’s son, is set to direct the show which will premiere this fall.
The nominees were announced today for the 2014 Academy Awards. In the animation categories, five feature films and five short films were nominated (see below). Also, two songs from animated films have been nominated in the Original Song category: “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 and “Let It Go” from Frozen. And Pixar Animation Studios was snubbed again by not receiving any nominations for the great Monsters University and their beautiful short film The Blue Umbrella. Here are the animation nominees…