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Hauru no Ugoku Shiro
(Howl's Moving Castle)


Studio Ghibli Diary Translation (Page 7)

Translator's notes in yellow.

1/7/04 (Weds.)

The first Ghibli meeting of the year was held. Producer Suzuki told us that the Howl storyboards were not yet finished, and that we are in a severe situation, both in terms of how much work there is to do and how much time we have. Indeed, to be this far along and not have the storyboards finished really is a severe situation.

1/8/04 (Thurs.)

Since initial editing for Howl begins early next month, after checking the status of all the material currently being worked on, we held a strategy meeting along with the assistant producer. We decided that, to pull together production and in-between animation, etc., we would check the rest of the week to make sure there were no missing cuts.

1/9/04 (Fri.)

We held the first rush check of the year today. There were a few retakes this time. As Director Miyazaki says, there are always a few places to worry about. Now that we've switched to digital, the resolution is better than when we were using film, but now we notice things we wouldn't have noticed before, and once we've noticed them, there's nothing to do [but fix them]. Is digital more convenient or less?

1/10/04 (Sat.)

The first weekend of the year. The production rate of the key animators was just as expected. For the first week, that's good, but if we keep the same pace from here on, we won't make it. Does anyone have any ideas?

[No entry for 1/12]

1/13/04 (Tues.)

Today was the annual breaking of the New Year's rice cakes. We gathered up all the rice cakes which had been put up as decoration before the New Year and made zenzai [a sweet soup made with red beans and rice cake]. For whatever reason, we couldn't eat all of this year's zenzai.

Perhaps they had been saving it up on their desks, but a lot of key animation was finished today, even though it was the beginning of the week. The production team gave a group scream of delight.

1/14/04 (Weds.)

Since so much key animation was finished yesterday, today was . . . We'll look forward to this weekend.

Looking back at recent diary entries, I see "the storyboards . . . " written like some sort of incantation. However, in truth, the whole production cannot go ahead without the storyboards. Please give us the storyboards. (Like with Spirited Away)

1/15/04 (Thurs.)

Since things seemed to be about to hit bottom, we had the in-between animators, whose turnover has been bad, come here temporarily, and the situation is returning to normal. Today, nearly the planned number of in-between drawings was finished. Now, if only this will lend some momentum to the whole animation team . . .

1/16/04 (Fri.)

The regular rush check. This time, there were more than 40 cuts. It hasn't been that spectacular for a long while. If we don't keep checking at this rate . . .

Suddenly, the storyboards we were waiting and waiting for were finished. Oh, how we waited. The final count ended at 1400 cuts, and with that, we will be able to determine the number of cuts remaining. We breathed a sigh of relief that the cut count wasn't any higher than expected.

1/17/04 (Sat.)

Today the first (?) snow of the year fell. Boy, it's cold. Since the whole staff now knows, of course, that the storyboards are complete, the atmosphere has started to gradually lighten up.

We had the internal key animators finish up the work they had on hand, and quickly held an animation planning meeting.

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