Studio Ghibli adapting Kokuriko-Zaka Kara for next summer


Studio Ghibli keeps 2D animated features alive when almost no one else will, and for that alone I would love them. Luckily, they’re more than just the Disney of Japan; they continuously put out expertly crafted films with gorgeous animation and lots of heart. So I’m excited to hear from our sister site Japanator that they’ve announced their next project: an adaptation of Kokuriko-Zaka Kara, a manga by Chizuru Takahashi and Tetsuro Sayama from 1980.

I admit to never hearing of this manga before, even as a fan of the medium, and I don’t see it listed in any databases, making this a rather obscure choice for an adaptation. The original publisher and Ghibli apparently reissued the manga this year, with a recommendation by Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki on the cover. The original manga is part of the “shojo” genre, meaning its target audience was girls, which matches Studio Ghibli’s frequent choice of female protagonists.

It is set in Showa 38 (1963) and follows Komatsuzaki, a high school girl whose father died in a sailing accident. Her mother is often absent due to her work, leaving her to help run the lodging house. The story follows her everyday life as she interacts with two boys from her high school. It’s very slice-of-life, but unlike the many dull anime in this genre, I’m sure Hayao Miyazaki will be able to add some necessary direction.

Whoops, did I say Hayao? I meant Goro Miyazaki, his son, who…doesn’t have as great of a track record. He directed Tales of Earthsea, one of Ghibli’s few failures, much against the wishes of his father. While they’ve reconciled — the elder Miyazaki is planning and co-writing the film with Keiko Niwa — Goro Miyazaki remains unproven so far. Since this new project isn’t trying to squeeze four books into one movie, perhaps he will fare better. Hopefully he can draw on some of the immense talent that surrounds him at Studio Ghibli.

[ANN via Japanator]