An (almost) live action
documentary movie, this independent movie was produced by Nibariki
(Miyazaki's personal office), with the royalty revenue from
Nausicaä. At first, it was
supposed to be an animated film which took place in the town of Yanagawa.
After the success of Nausicaä, Tokuma wanted to produce
another animated movie (of course, they wanted a Nausicaä
sequel), and Miyazaki was looking for a good project.
Yanagawa, and was impressed by the beautiful town with its canals, and
came up with an idea for a film about high school boys and girls in
Yanagawa, and thought that Takahata, who worked as a producer for
Nausicaä, should direct such a film.
However, when Takahata
visited Yanagawa for research, he came to be more interested in the
history of the town, especially how local people fought to preserve
the canals which have been a part of the community for a long time, and
how they put a great deal of effort to clean up the once polluted canals.
As a result, it became a live action documentary, and Miyazaki decided
to spend his own money on it. It took three years for Takahata to
complete this film.