Re anime rumour

andrew osmond andrew at
Thu Feb 24 20:07:14 EST 2000

Hi, I'm a newbie to this list. Just wanted to post some quick notes re
the rumour that anime director Hayao Miyazaki is interested in Howl's
Moving Castle...

- A _very_ reliable source - OK, OK, you've only got my word, but
honestly he IS - forwarded me the following message from a friend of

'Diana Wynne Jones is being offered what is apparently an inordinate and
unreasonable number of yen -- which turns into a sensible amount of
sterling when you take off several noughts -- for the film rights to
*Howl's Moving Castle*.  Among the bribes she has gleefully accepted
from the prospective director are merchandising from previous anime
films of his: a stuffed toy black cat with large eyes who now answers to
the name of KiKi, and a grey creature called Totoro who has taken up
neighbourly residence in her basement....  Japanese views on Calcifer
apparently chime with those of the Author: "No Gas Board advertising
rubbish here!" says Diana, presumably thinking of cute little blue
flames with eyes, nothing like a fallen star at all."'

- Re Denise's post; I was surprised she found Miyazaki's Princess
Mononoke so lightweight. I think it's a very subtle, clever allegory,
easily on a level with written fantasy, that combines everything from
the Gilgamesh myth (an influence Miyazaki cites) to John Ford westerns.
Each to his/her own... 
Re her question, can't suggest an obvious DWJ starting-point for anime
lovers, but I think Miyazaki fanboys (including me) would enjoy Philip
Pullman's Northern Lights aka Golden Compass, if only for the polar bear
versus zeppelin battle. Also Le Guin's Earthsea trilogy, a big influence
on Miyazaki.
As for superior examples of anime storytelling: try Night on the
Galactic Railroad, based on a much-loved Japanese children's book. Or
Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service, preferably the subtitled version
without the Disneyfications.

- No, Miyazaki did not illustrate the new Gaiman Sandman strip (the 'fox
fable'). That was Yoshitika Amano, another very respected artist; also
illustrated the Japanese translation of Elric (Michael Moorcock), among
other things. There's an interview with Amano in the magazine Manga Max,
Issue 15, available in Britain and America.
Miyazaki has written and drawn several comic-strips of his own, the most
famous being Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind (which he also turned into
an anime).

- Some of Miyazaki's characters have moderately big eyes, but, as has
been noted, his work avoids the extreme stylisation associated with
anime. In fact, Miyazaki himself is bitterly critical of the anime

- The director is known to be a fan of such Western works as Earthsea
(see above), Swallows and Amazons, The Prisoner of Zenda and the novels
of Rosemary Sutcliffe. A fair mix...

- For those who want the full list, Miyazaki directed the following

Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (soon to be re-released)
Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind (based on his manga strip)
Laputa the Flying Island aka Castle in the Sky
My Neighbour Totoro
Kiki's Delivery Service
Porco Rosso
Princess Mononoke

(Totoro and Kiki are available on US video. Cagliostro, Laputa/Castle
and Mononoke should all follow soon.)

Miyazaki also storyboarded and scripted a further film:
Whisper of the Heart

while his close colleage Isao Takahata made another respected (but very
depressing) anime:
Grave of the Fireflies

There's a recent book on Miyazaki, available in America, called Hayao
Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation. It's written by Helen McCarthy
and published by Stone Bridge Press. Finally, there's a terrifyingly
extensive fan website at

Hope that's some help!
andrew osmond
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