by Chris MaGee
The studio behind such animated hits as "Ghost in the Shell", "The Sky Crawlers" as well as the animated sequence from "Kill Bill, Vol. 1", Production I.G., is teaming up with Fuji TV to produce a complete computer animated "family-friendly adventure" titled "Hottarake Island: Haruka and the Magical Mirror". Directed by Shinsuke Sato (Sunadokei) it will tell the story of Haruka, a high school girl who must search for a lost item on an island made up of lost and neglected items ("hottarake" roughly translates to "neglected" or "to neglect"). Sounds like a bit of a nod to the neglected household items gone haywire in Takashi Miike's "Great Yokai War", doesn't it?
What really makes this news is that while most North American animated films have made the switch to full CG years ago Japan has continued to champion traditional hand-drawn 2D cel animation. Production I.G. has been slowly changing this by introducing dazzling computer animated sequences to their films like the eye-popping set pieces from "Ghost in the Shell: Innocence" or the aerial dog fight sequences in "The Sky Crawlers". Producers are hoping that this film will be Japan's answer to such hits as "Toy Story" and "Wall-E".
"Hottarake Island" is slated for a summer 2009 release. Thanks to Tokyograph for the story.