December 2002

December 27, 2002 Hisaishi on the Radio
Mike Massee sent in the following:

Hiya. Set your alarm clocks! I'll be spinning Joe Hisaishi for about an hour on Saturday, January 4th at 9am PST during Robert Emmett's soundtrack show on KFJC in Los Altos Hills, California. You can tune in over the web with an MP3 player at for fast connections and for modems.

Those who live in the South San Francisco Bay Area (all of Silicon Valley and up the peninsula to South San Fran and parts of the east bay as well) can tune in at 89.7 on your FM dial for crystal clear stereo sound.

December 17, 2002 Director Details for "Howl's Moving Castle"
The circumstances surrounding Mamoru Hosoda departure from "Howl's Moving Castle" are addressed in this article by Tokyo-based writer Mark Schilling:

A director for Toei Animation, Hosoda was the first outsider chosen to helm a film for Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli, but Hosoda quit the project several months ago, after failing to come up with a concept satisfactory to his Studio Ghibli bosses. The film then remained in limbo, until Miyazaki decided to direct it himself. The official start of production is February 1, with completion scheduled for the spring of 2004 and release for the summer of the same year.

Thanks to Warren Savage for posting the news to the MML.

December 16, 2002 "Spirited Away" Wins at the NYFCC Awards
"Spirited Away" won the "Best Animated Film" Award from the New York Film Critics Circle. A complete list of winners is located here.

Click here for a growing list of awards given to "Spirited Away".

Thanks to Jonathan Peck for posting the news on the MML.

December 16, 2002 Final Word on "Pom Poko" DVD Subtitles
After several flip-flops on the subject, CD Japan sent out the following email about the Pom Poko DVD:

We are very sorry for this sudden e-mail.

The following item was released today (two days earlier than its original street date ) and we have confirmed it have English, French and Japanese Subtitles.

Maker himself sometimes change item's details without prior notice according to marketing strategy. That's why we had to notice wrong information.

We are very sorry for the confusion which might has caused and thank you for your understanding.

Thanks to Lutz Albers for passing the message to the MML.

December 15, 2002 "Spirited Away" Wins in LA
Jonathan Peck posted the following to the MML:

Spirited Away won the LA Film Critics Association award tonight for Best Animated Film. We'll find out in 3 days if it wins the New York Film Critics Circle Award or gets any mention at the AFI Awards.

The complete list of winner's can be found at the LAFCA website.

December 13, 2002 "Howl's Moving Castle" is Miyazaki's Next Project
Reported by Atsushi FUKUMOTO on the MML:


On Dec 13, Movie maker and distributor Toho announced future release line-up, including HAURU NO UGOKU SHIRO (Howl's Moving Castle) directed by Miyazaki Hayao, to be released in summer 2004.

(Listed at the bottom of

An English version of the article is located here.

It remains to be seen how Studio Ghibli's involvement with the new "Ghost in the Shell" project will play out with "Howl's Moving Castle".

December 13, 2002 Studio Ghibli and Production IG Working on "Ghost in the Shell"
Justin Leach of Production IG wrote in to inform that Studio Ghibli is helping co-producing Oshii Mamoru's next film, "INNOCENCE GHOST IN THE SHELL".

A few of the other staff members are listed along with a basic plot outline and a tentative release date of 2004.

December 12, 2002 "Spirited Away" Accepted for Best Animated Feature
Juan Lara posted (to rec.arts.anime.misc) a complete list of the seventeen films accepted for the Best Animated Feature Oscar. The list will be reduced to five nominees later on to compete for the Oscar.

According to the Hollywood Reporter (via the film is also competing for a "Best Director" and "Best Original Score" nomination slot.

December 6, 2002 BV Italia to Replace "Kiki" DVD
Alessandro Bellondi posted the following to the MML:

In an official Buena Vista's forum, they say the DVD will be replaced in a couple of months with a new one...This time, we hope, without faults or compression problems!

The exact forum wasn't mentioned, but is probably the BVHE Italia forum.

December 4, 2002 National Board of Review Victory for "Spirited Away"
Nathan Layman informed the MML about "Spirited Away" picking up the Best Animated Feature Award from the National Board of Review. A complete listing of winners is located here.

December 4, 2002 "Spirited Away" in Screen International
The Oscar campaign for "Spirited Away" continues:

Disney have basically bought the heavy stock outside cover of the current (November 29-December 5) "Screen International" (the UK equivalent of Variety). The front of which is an advert for "Spirited Away" for best animated feature film (this is similar in design to promotional material already mentioned on The inside front contains a similar advert for "Lilo & Stitch" and the back cover one for "Treasure Planet".

There is also an article inside the magazine on page 16 entitled "Toon Wars". It has capsule reviews of likely contenders for best animated feature film at the Oscars. "Spirited Away" is described as "Hayao Miyazaki's transcendent masterpiece". The piece also mentions that it has taken $234m in Japan, the US dub was created by Kirk Wise, John Lasseter and Don Ernst and that "it is sure to get a nomination, if not the main prize".

Thanks to Iain Bell for the news.

December 3, 2002 Why the R1 "Totoro" DVD is Cropped
An excerpt fom a chat with Peter Staddon of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment posted on TheDigitalBits:

[DomeVongvises] I want to thank Peter for coming to the forum. It's a simple question, are we going to see a widescreen version of My Neighbor Totoro?

[peterstaddon] I'm afraid not, we do not have a widescreen master and have no rights beyond the version we do have. I would have liked to released an OAR version as I love his work.

(OAR = Original Aspect Ratio)

A widescreen release remains a possibility in 2004 when the video rights revert from Fox back to Studio Ghibli.

Thanks to Giome for the link.

December 3, 2002 Lawsuit in Japan Over "Sen" DVD
Read the Anime News Network's synopsis or the Mainichi Shimbun article (in English).

December 1, 2002 Asteroids named for Miyazaki and Totoro
Japanese amateur astronomer Takao Kobayashi has chosen to name two asteriods he discovered in 1994 after Miyazaki and Totoro, and the names have been approved by the International Astronomical Union. Under the rules of the IAU, the discoverer of an asteroid gets to choose the name for it. As there are over 52,000 known asteroids, the IAU is very relaxed about the naming. (Some asteroids have been named after the discoverer's pets!) Asteroid 8883 discovered on January 16, 1994 and asteroid 10160 discovered on December 31, 1994 have been named "Miyazakihayao" and "Totoro". The names are also puns in Japanese. "8" is pronounced as "Ya" and "3" is pronounced as "Mi" and "San", thus three 8s = Mi ya, and 3 = San, so 8883 can be read as "Miya-San." Also '10' is pronounced as 'Tou' and '6' is pronounced as 'Ro(ku)', so 10160 is close to 10106 which can be read as 'Totoro'.

A news article about this (in Japanese) can be found here while the official listings of the names can be found by going to this page and scrolling down to them in alphabetical order. While you are there you can enjoy some of the other names from pop culture that have been given to asteroids (TARDIS, John, Paul, George, Ringo, Terrygilliam, "Monty Python", Madhatter, "James Bond", Enterprise, "Mr. Spock", etc.) Ironically there are asteroids named "Nausikaa" (#192) and "Laputa" (#1819), but they were discovered in 1879 and 1948 (respectively) and so are named after the original Greek princess in the "Odyssey" and the floating island in "Gulliver's Travels" rather than Miyazaki's creations.

Thanks to Keishi Nakamura and Ryoko Toyama for alerting us and providing information about this announcement.