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Tales from Earthsea Marks Debut of Animation Director Miyazaki Goro (October 10, 2006)

A poster for Tales from Earthsea (Gedo Senki) ((c) 2006 Nibariki-GNDHDDT)
An animated film based on Ursula K. Le Guin's fantasy epic Tales from Earthsea has been released by Studio Ghibli, the acclaimed animated film production company whose previous releases include My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. The movie marks the directorial debut of Miyazaki Goro, the son of the celebrated director Miyazaki Hayao. Tales from Earthsea has enjoyed huge success at the box office since its opening and was also shown at the 63rd Venice Film Festival on September 3, 2006.

Fantasy Masterpiece
Tales from Earthsea is a set of six novels written by Le Guin between 1968 and 2001 that is considered a masterpiece of literary fantasy in the same league as Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia. The stories portray the inner struggles of the characters and have influenced many subsequent works in this genre.

The tale takes place in Earthsea, an archipelago of innumerable islands. After two dragons appear, this world starts to experience strange phenomena, such as raging seas and withering plants. Ged, a wise wizard, sets out on a journey to find the cause of these problems and meets Arren, a young prince who has rejected his homeland by killing his father, the king, and running away. The story traces the development of Arren as he travels with Ged against a constant backdrop of life and death. This epic film marks the directorial debut of Miyazaki Goro, who is the son of acclaimed director Miyazaki Hayao and used to work as the director of the Ghibli Museum.

Avid Global Interest
This summer saw the release of a number of animated films, including Brave Story, written by the popular mystery writer Miyabe Miyuki; Toki o kakeru shojo (The Young Girl Who Could Slip Through Time), which was adapted from a science fiction novel by Tsutsui Yasutaka; and the latest Pokemon film. A variety of Hollywood hits and major Japanese live-action productions also opened. Despite this stiff competition, Tales from Earthsea still managed to draw the biggest crowds.

A press conference to mark the completion of the movie (Jiji)

Tales from Earthsea is somewhat different from other Studio Ghibli films and has received mixed reviews in Japan. International interest, however, has been strong. The film opened in South Korea in August and is scheduled to be released in 50 countries in North America, Europe, and other regions.

At the 63rd Venice Film Festival, Tales from Earthsea was shown on a special invitational basis. According to reports by the Japanese media, it was so popular that some people could not get seats, and it received a five-minute standing ovation at its conclusion.

In an interview in Venice, Miyazaki Goro indicated his desire to continue directing, stating, "I finally understand there's enormous magic in making animated films. If I have the chance, I'd like to make an even better work next time." Studio Ghibli appears to have discovered an exciting young talent, and animation fans around the world will be watching closely to see if Miyazaki Goro can emulate his father's outstanding success in the years to come.

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Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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