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[Earthsea mainpage] Gedo Senki
(Tales from Earthsea)

Goro Miyazaki's Blog Translation (Page 75)

20th April 2006

Number 75 - Battles with the Staff

This is repeating myself, but the first image that came to me of a picture design was something simple and strong.
In our present era, the world is overflowing with information, and every man and his dog seem to be moving in the direction of finer detail.

I don't think film is any exception to this trend. But that was all the more reason I thought why on the contrary, in order to transmit a strong message, what was necessary in both pictures and music was something bold with less information.

That is why I came up with the idea of trying to make the lines of the characters as simple as possible, of wanting to emphasize movement (which is the original appeal of animation), of using bold colouring, and rather than naturalistic backgrounds, emphasizing the circumstances and the atmosphere of the scene.

But, it's really difficult to get this across in words. If I try to give examples, they always seem to become something abstract like "in the time of Nausicaa, or going back before that the time of Horus[1]".

This way of talking invites misunderstanding.
I received doubting comments and criticism like the following:
"Don't you just have old fashioned tastes?"
"Aren't you denying the history of the studio and everything it's done?"
"Is that going to satisfy today's audiences?"
both directly and indirectly, from the staff.
If I had the experience and the track record, my arguments might have possessed some persuasive force. Coming to animation empty handed, as I did, this kind of criticism is pretty draining.

However the animation directors[2] Mr. Yamashita and Mr. Inamura, and the art director Mr. Takeshige agreed with my ideas, so somehow we were able to take the first step. If they hadn't agreed with me, I think the kind of artwork we have produced now would not have been possible.

Translator's Notes

[1]: (Or 'Hols'). "Horus Prince of the Sun" was referred to in entries 42, 43 and 47 of this weblog.

[2]: Mr Yamashita is here called Sakugaenshutsu (作 画 演 出). Mr. Inamura is called Sakugakantoku (作 画 監 督). Since both words mean 'Animation Director' and both of them have been called Sakugakantoku in previous entries (See e.g. No.s 27 ∓ 30 of the original Japanese) it is hard to tell what the difference is. My understanding is that 'enshutsu' implies that Mr. Yamashita's role is more of a director per se, whereas Mr. Inamura is more strictly a 'supervising animator', but I haven't seen a strict distinction in Ghibli credits before. In Howl's Moving Castle, both were credited as Sakugakantoku.

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