by Chris MaGee
I was speaking with a friend a while back and he said something that initially surprised me, but very quickly made a good deal of sense. He said that Hayao Miyazaki is the Akira Kurosawa of today. The statement puzzles at first, doesn't it; but consider that currently that the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki are not only revered at home in japan, but have become the most successful cinematic and cultural exports overseas since... well, the days of Akira Kurosawa. And like Kurosawa Miyazaki is not an easy man to know. He'd rather work long hours creating his latest animated adventure that chat about it with journalists. That's why an upcoming NTV documentary on Miyazaki and Sudio Ghibli is so rare, and why it's attracted some high profile talent to narrate it.
According to Anime News Network superstars Ken Watanabe and Yu Aoi have signed on to narrate the NTV documentary "Studio Ghibli Monogatari (The Story of Studio Ghibli)" which will air on Japanese TV on March 21st at 9:00PM. The doc will follow the history of the studio founded by Miyazaki and animator Isao Takahata in 1985 and the role of producer Toshio Suzuki in turning it into one of the most important studios in Japan today.
Yu Aoi has provided voice talent, not for a Ghibli film, but for the CGI character in 2009's "Ikechan and Me", while Watanabe has yet to go the voice talent route, although according to the Anime News Network post he is quoted as saying that he "would be willing to act in a Ghibli film if there was a role for him."