After a recent health scare had many animation fans fearing the worst, Hayao Miyazaki is back in the news today for multiple reasons -- all of them GREAT!
First up, a trailer for the Studio Ghibli documentary, Yume To Kyoki No Okoku (The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness). Director Mami Sunada (Ending Note: Death of a Japanese Salaryman) followed Miyazaki as he worked on this year's The Wind Rises, and director Isao Takahata as he worked on The Tale of Princess Kaguya. Long-time Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki is also observed as he oversees both projects.
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness opens in Japanese theaters on Saturday (11/16/13).
This next news item is even more exciting: Miyazaki is creating more manga!
After announcing TWO separate retirements, Hayao Miyazaki is once again back in business! Comics fans will take special delight in knowing that Miyazaki is going back to his manga roots for this project, reportedly a Samurai/sword-fighting epic that takes place in Japan’s 'Warring States' period.
This news came directly from Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki, via the Japanese TV show Sekai-ichi Uketai Jugyo. The story broke when Suzuki was asked how Miyazaki was enjoying his retirement. Suzuki's reply:
"I think he will serialize a manga. From the beginning, he likes drawing about his favorite things. That's his stress relief."
Suzuki then confirmed the project's Warring States setting, adding:
"He'll get angry if I talk too much. Let's stop talking about this."
A quick primer on the Warring States for those of us ignorant about such things:
The Sengoku Period is one of the most interesting periods in Japanese history and gives rise to some of the most famous historical figures. It is the golden age of the samurai. Following the Onin Wars (1467-1477), Ashikaga rule weakened and Japan was subsequently thrown into a century of anarchy. Political forces and alliances changed regularly and everyone continually vied for more power and larger territories.
According to a Wikipedia entry on The Firearms of Japan, many of the battles fought during the Warring Period were swords vs. arrows vs. spears vs. bullets; musket-carrying foot-soldiers against horseback samurai. While this sounds wholly horrific, I can’t wait to see how Miyazaki portrays this armory cacophony.