Studio Ghibli, as an entity, is more or less in a coma, but that doesn’t mean that all of the talented artists that made up the storied anime production house have retired.
Veteran animator Yoshiharu Sato has worked on a number of Ghibli films, most notably as the character designer for My Neighbor Totoro and its sequel Mei and the Kitten Bus. Now, Sato is serving as animation director for an upcoming theatrical anime release that may not bear the Ghibli name, but captures much of the famed studio’s style and atmosphere.
Nippon Animation hasn’t produced many series that have become major hits among western anime fans. Internationally, the studio’s best-known work is likely action manga adaptation Hunter x Hunter, but in Japan, the company has been churning out family-friendly hits for 40 years. Most notably, Nippon Animation produced the World Masterpiece Theater series of classic children’s literature-based anime, on which both Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata worked before the two legendary directors went on to co-found Studio Ghibli.
Now, things have come full circle, as Sato, who in addition to his Totoro contributions was the animation director for Ghibli’s Only Yesterday and also a key animator on Kiki’s Delivery Service, The Secret World of Arrietty, The Cat Returns, and Porco Rosso, is serving as animation director for Nippon Animation’s animated trilogy based on the tales of Sindbad the Sailor. The first film was released this summer, and now Nippon Animation is giving us a look at the next chapter with this trailer for the upcoming Sindbad: The Magic Lamp and the Moving Island.
▼ Video for those outside Japan
Let’s see how many times our Ghibli sensor goes off during the slightly more than a minute the video lasts.
▼ Plucky, adventurous youth…
▼ …and/or earnest princess
▼ Lush natural landscapes…
▼ …that are home to a serene, almost god-like creature.
▼ Mysterious relics of awe-inspiring power…
▼ …including a glowing pendant.
▼ Oh, and don’t forget the power-hungry, short-sighted adults!
Add in a dash of steampunk transportation and a shoulder-riding animal companion, and your Miyazaki-influenced bingo card should be just about filled out. So while we’re still bummed about not having a new Ghibli film to look forward to in 2016, when Sindbad: The Magic Lamp and the Moving Island comes out on January 16, watching it will be sort of like a sampler of our favorite Ghibli themes.