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[Earthsea mainpage] Gedo Senki
(Tales from Earthsea)

Goro Miyazaki's Blog Translation (Page 74)

19th April 2006

Number 74 - Fight against the shadow[1]

In the previous entry, I wrote about light and darkness.
This time I'm going to talk about light and shadow.

As I think I wrote before, I was determined to create characters that were as simply drawn as possible. That was because I wanted them to have a strong presence [in the film].

As part of that, there was the problem of what to do with the characters' shadows.
When I say shadows, I don't mean the darkness inside their hearts.
I mean the shadows cast when light hits them.

At the outset, I tried to the best of my ability to think of a method to remove the shadows, but I immediately realised that this was not a simple task.
The reason, as you might expect, is that the presence of the shadow makes the image look richer.
The person who pointed this out to me straight away was the colour designer Ms. Yasuda.

So I changed course towards generously and roughly putting in a shadow.
This time, though, the way I added the shadow was the problem.
This had to do with the fact (as I wrote last time) that there are a lot of dark scenes.
If I didn't have a very clear understanding of where the light sources were and what their strength was, the results would end up looking very uneven.
It is not merely a question of whether it is better to have a shadow or not.

I once had the opportunity to listen to the Russian animation creator Yuri Norstein speak. I remember that he said, "Pictures are created from light and darkness".
At that time, I thought no more that than, "Oh, I see", but now I know first hand exactly what those words mean.

Sometimes I used to say to Mr. Yamashita the [animation] director that because this is "Tales from Earthsea" it has become a "Fight Against the Shadow"[2].

Translator's Notes

[1]: This is my literal translation of "Kage to no tatakai" (影 と の 戦 い), the Japanese title of Book One of the Earthsea Trilogy. The English title is, of course, "A Wizard of Earthsea", but the director is writing about light and shadow here so I gave given a literal translation.

[2]: See note 1. This is a play on the title. Problems with shadows might be very appropriate for a movie about Earthsea.

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