Kaguyahime-takahata Kaguyahime-takahata
Feature Film

Studio Ghibli Reveals Teaser for Isao Takahata’s “The Story of Princess Kaguya”

Studio Ghibli will release seventy-seven-year-old Isao Takahata’s new film, Kaguya-hime no Monogatari (The Story of Princess Kaguya), into Japanese theaters on November 23, 2013. Earlier this week, they unveiled a minute-long teaser, the most extensive look at the film to date:

Kaguya-hime is Takahata’s fifth feature directorial effort, and his first film since My Neighbors the Yamadas which was released fourteen years ago. His eclecticism has often been reflected in his choice of film projects—Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, Pom Poko—and Kaguya-hime, which is based on the folktake “Tale of the Bamboo Cutter,” has many unconventional elements as well. Notably, the film’s textured pencil line and free-flowing animation style borrows liberally from the world of indie animation filmmaking and looks refreshingly different from the Ghibli standard.

One American film site commented that the animation “looks like unfinished storyboards waiting to be animated.” That assessment reflects how the average filmgoer who is accustomed to the lushness of CGI may perceive a more expressionistic animation style that doesn’t display ever tedious visual detail onscreen. Hopefully, audiences in Japan, where seven of the top ten films at the 2013 box office are animated, will prove themselves to be a receptive audience for Takahata’s stylistic experimentation.

  • Tomm


  • Fan of this film’s style

    I think the line-work is a bit wobbly, but I still think the visual design is pretty cool. And despite that, the animation is solid. I don’t know what people are talking about, saying that the film looks like it’s in storyboard form.

    • Oliver

      The average viewer may think that because not every image is fully colored it must be some kind of storyboard that they are seeing. This is America!

  • Beamish Kinowerks

    Definitely see echos of Yamamura and Tsuji Naoyuki.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    I’m sure it was put there by the TV station that aired this preview.

    • Nayx

      Yes, it was watermarked by the TV station (or wherever it was shown). We might get an better version though.

  • And Gauche the Cellist, an adaptation of Kenji Miyazawa’s story.

  • Absolutely. Even if it’s “inspired” and these are, indeed, sketches, this looks to be the best thing the studio’s ever done. The story’s been done to death, but I trust Takahata.

  • jonhanson

    Agreed! Only Yesterday and Grave of the Fireflies are two of the best animated films ever in my opinion, and far from standard animation fare even by Japanese standards!

  • Tim Drage

    I don’t think the comment’s too unfair considering this is a teaser animation done in a style seemingly intentionally evoking rough/animatic material even tho it’s not literally that. I’m all in favour of this style, whenever I see high end anime pencil tests i’m like ‘I wish they’d make a whole feature that looks like this’ :) but I doubt this one actually will.

  • Jen Hurler

    I honestly can’t wait for the DVD to see some behind the scenes looks at the artists at work. The freedom in their linework looks and feels wonderful.

  • Genaro Prieto
  • Genaro Prieto
  • Neil Clingerman

    I know I’m coming in late, but this is actually Takahata’s 7th feature film (8th if you count the hour long Gauche the Cellist).

    1) Horus: Prince of the Sun
    2) Jarinko Chie
    3) Grave of the Fireflies
    4) Only Yesterday
    5) Pom Poko
    6) My Neighbors the Yamadas
    7) The story of Princess Kaguya