A year ago I posted that Studio Ghibli was doing another of their legendary animations for 2006, to be based on Ursula K Le Guin’s The Earthsea Cycle series of books. Studio Ghibli is famous for producing very excellent animations, usually under the masterful direction of Hayao Miyazaki, including Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.
Well, here are some updates regarding that. The movie was indeed released in Japan last year, but it was not directed by Hayao Miyazaki, as I had expected; it was actually directed by his eldest son, Goro. I’ll note that it took roughly half the time (8½ months) to complete as Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle did (16-17 months), and this is Goro’s first-ever animation production. Combining these things with the fact that Goro probably (hopefully?) lacks the obsessive personality of his father, I have some small doubts as to whether its quality will hold up to those pieces. Still, his initial artwork was impressive enough to win the approval of the head animators of Evangeleon and the Lupin series, and it’s still been made by the excellent Studio Ghibli animators, so it ought to be better than anything we tend to see produced over here.
More depressingly, though, is that the movie’s FAQ mentions that the US won’t see a release of this movie until at least 2009. Why? Because the SciFi Channel still has the movie rights to the series thanks to their crappy miniseries, which had been a disappointment to Le Guin. So that would make a new reason to hate that miniseries (and I’ve never read the books, so I can only imagine how incensed the fan base must be!).