Goro Miyazaki, son of the now-legendary Hayao (Spirited Away), is turning 1980s manga Kokurikozaka Kara into his latest animated feature. But will Dad like it?
For a man who makes shedloads of money from directing internationally popular anime, Goro Miyazaki is a pretty reluctant fellow. Initially, he had dreams of going into landscaping, but his famous father kept nudging him towards animation.
Eventually, he took the bit – after doing some storyboard work for Tales from Earthsea, he was offered the chance to direct it, and he did. Sadly, his father responded with something akin to rage, and after seeing the film thought it was merely “good”. Hmmm. Bit of drama, really, especially as it was touted as an absolute howler of a film by the press. But will this new feature act as his chance to redeem himself?
The story of Kokurikozaka Kara (known to us Westerners as From Kokuriko Hill) follows Umi, a girl who has to grow up quickly when her father goes missing. It sounds like a rather dramatic coming-of-age film, and with seemingly no steampunk dragons or mad mud monsters in sight, is a step away from the hysterical creativity of Goro’s old man.
Hopefully it’ll do better than Earthsea – the UK could benefit from more decent anime coming out of Japan, hopefully to rectify its rather seedy reputation, and also because Spirited Away did for Western anime enthusiasm what Avatar did for 3D. More on this as it progresses, people.