Ghibli President Says No Trailers for New Miyazaki Film

Ghibli President Says No Trailers for New Miyazaki Film

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Teaser poster for Ghibli and Miyazaki Hayao's How Do You Live.
Miyazaki Hayao's highly anticipated new film is less than two months out from release. Now Ghibli says there won't be any trailers before the lights dim and the film begins playing!

After nearly a decade between theatrical films, the newest movie from beloved animation house Studio Ghilbi is only 42 days away from release in Japan. What’s more, the film is by one of the world’s most respected directors: the now-legendary Miyazaki Hayao. (If you’re unfamiliar, Miyazaki is the director behind films like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Totoro, and many more of the most popular films in Japan and beyond.) As the 12th and potentially final theatrical film for the 82-year-old Miyazaki, few Japanese films could attract the sort of attention How Do You Live (君たちはどう生きるか) is receiving globally. And all this with hardly any information to go off of!

How Do You Live releases on July 14th. And as of yet, the film has only a single, ambiguous teaser poster from which perspective viewers can conceptualize the movie. That, perhaps, is why today’s revelation from Ghibli president, producer, and constant hype-man Suzuki Toshio comes as such a shock. During a streamed interview for Bungei Shunjū, Suzuki was asked the following:

“So there’s a shocking lack of information out there [on this movie.]”

Suzuki’s reply came almost immediately:

“Ah, that’s because we gave up on doing any of that.”

Suzuki then went on to explain to a somewhat flabbergasted interviewer that Ghibli’s new major film will not be having any additional promotional content released.

Screenshot from the Bungei Shunjū interview. Suzuki Toshio is on the left.

No Trailers for “How Do You Live?” Suzuki’s Rationale:

In modern movie culture, film trailers are a business unto themselves. Trailers rack up millions of views on YouTube; fan communities pour over every detail of teasers. Much of cinema depends on hype these days, and nothing gets the hype going quite like a well-made trailer. Ghibli themselves have often used powerful trailers to great effect; Miyazaki’s most recent film, 2013’s The Wind Rises, debuted a memorable trailer set to Matsutoya Yumi’s “Hikouki-gumo.” (A fitting song choice, given the title means “vapor trails” and The Wind Rises was all about airplanes.)



『風立ちぬ』(2013) ════════════════ 『風立ちぬ』(2013) 「風立ちぬ」と言えば、まず堀辰雄の小説を思い浮かべる人も多いのかもしれませんが、映画『風立ちぬ』は宮崎駿が過去に雑誌連載していた同名の漫画を原作としています。そこに堀辰雄の小説の要素が盛り込まれたかたちとなっています。 宮崎が描いた「風立ちぬ」の主人公は実在の航空技師・堀越二郎。映画『風立ちぬ』のポスターには堀越と堀の両者に対しての献辞が記されています。原作には「堀辰雄」というキャラクターも登場しますが、映画には未登場です。 『風立ちぬ』あらすじ 大正12年、帝国大学工学部航空学科に入学した堀越二郎は、列車で東京へ向かいます。彼は幼い頃から飛行機に憧れ、設計家を志していました。東京へ向かう車中で関東大震災に遭った二郎は乗り合わせた少女・菜穂子と女中の絹を助けます。 大学卒業後、三菱に入社した二郎は5年目にして新型艦上戦闘機の設計主務者となります。しかし二郎が設計した飛行機は空中分解。落胆の二郎は避暑地で失意を癒やしますが、そこで思いがけず菜穂子と再会します。二郎は回復し、菜穂子に結婚を申し込みました。しかし、菜穂子は自分は結核に冒されているのだと告白します。 原作・脚本・監督 宮崎 駿 プロデューサー 鈴木敏夫 制作 星野康二 音楽 久石 譲 主題歌 荒井由実「ひこうき雲」 声の出演 庵野秀明 ⋅ 瀧本美織 ⋅ 西島秀俊 ⋅ 西村雅彦 ⋅ スティーブン・アルバート ⋅ 風間杜夫 ⋅ 竹下景子 ⋅ 志田未来 ⋅ 國村 隼 ⋅ 大竹しのぶ ⋅ 野村萬斎 上映時間 約126分 配給 東宝 公開日 2013.7.20(土) 終・制作━━━ 映画のレオナ ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ #風立ちぬ ┈┈┈┈┈┈┈┈┈┈ #堀越二郎の物語 #航空技師堀越二郎 #新型艦上戦闘機の設計主務者 #菜穂子と再会 #ひこうき雲 ┈┈┈┈┈┈┈┈┈┈ #宮崎駿 #鈴木敏夫 #久石譲 #荒井由実 ┈┈┈┈┈┈┈┈┈┈ #庵野秀明 #瀧本美織 #西島秀俊 #西村雅彦 #志田未来 #大竹しのぶ ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ #ジブリ #スタジオジブリ #ジブリ好き #ジブリ好きな人と繋がりたい ⁡━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━4️⃣ #movie #映画垢 #動画投稿 #シネマ ⁡ ⁡#映画感想 #映画好きと繋がりたい #映画好きな人と繋がりたい #cinema #movies #moviestagram 🔟 ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━

The trailer for 2013’s The Wind Rises.

But Suzuki said that modern film promotions leave too little to the imagination.

Quite the Conversation

Suzuki: Really, it’s an issue of over-supply. From the perspective of the viewer, it’s like they’re taking away all the truly interesting parts. So, since it’s come to this, I thought we should just go with a single poster.”

The nature of said poster, seemingly featuring a person in a white and blue bird outfit, has caused some confusion. The interview seemed to be among those having a hard time discerning the poster’s content.

Interviewer: Like, what is it? Something like a hawk, or…?

Suzuki: Well, I’m not going to say anything about that. (Laughs) …But I’ve been doing movies since, what, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, and that poster is the first thing Miyazaki Hayao has ever really praised me for. He said, “Suzuki-san, this is amazing.” …He said it was the best I’ve done. That served as a hint. “So, let’s just go with this!” So, no trailers. Absolutely no TV spots. We’ll do it all. No newspaper ads!

Interview: None?!

Suzuki: I imagine that, subconsciously, our viewers actually prefer it this way.

Interviewer: …But the only information we have ahead of time is the title and a single poster, right?

Suzuki: That’s right!

The singular “How Do You Live” poster in question.

Going in Blind

If Suzuki is serious about not releasing any real promotional material for How Do You Live, it would be the first for such a major film in some time. And the interview is correct in mentioning how little is known about the film otherwise; its title is based on the 1937 morality tale novel of the same name. Previously, it was suggested that the real-life book would be a source of inspiration in-world for the main character Miyazaki’s film.

But Suzuki says otherwise. “They have absolutely nothing to do with each other.” He explains that Miyazaki was reading the book back in 2016, and fell in love with the title – not the content of the novel. He explained Miyazaki’s prescience in picking such an existential title previous to the ennui brought on by the COVID crisis:

Suzuki: At first, I thought the title sounded too stiff… But Miyazaki Hayao is pretty amazing! …the world has continued to encroach [upon that darkness].

Suzuki also confirmed that the film will essentially be in the fantasy genre.

So, this and a vague poster of a bird-man may be all we have to go off of before the (mostly metaphorical) curtains rise on July 14th. Going in nearly blind may bring the excitement Suzuki seeks – but will a near-total lack of promotion doom this film to financial mediocrity? Suzuki’s attitude seems to pretty much be “We’ll just let Miyazaki do as he likes,” so perhaps Ghibli’s finances really aren’t at the top of his mind. Still, we’ll have to wait and see if Suzuki isn’t just pulling our chain – a complete lack of trailers is pretty much unprecedented in modern cinema.

Ghibli Addendum

In other Ghibli news, today (June 2nd) just so happens to be Ghibli animator Kondo Katsuya’s 60th birthday. Kondo has worked on innumerable Ghibli projects; over half of their film credits bear his name. His character designs are so associated with the Ghibli brand that other, non-Ghibli, films he’s worked on are often confused for Ghibli films. Take 1990’s Like the Clouds, Like the Wind (雲のように 風のように), a film for which he provided character designs, and which for years was believed to be a “forgotten” Ghibli film amongst anime fans in the United States during the pre-internet days.

US cover for “Like the Clouds, Like the Wind.”

Castle in the Sky Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Only Yesterday, Porco Rosso, Ocean Waves, Pom Poko, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbors the Yamadas, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, Arrietty, From Up on Poppy Hill; all these beloved movies bear Kondo’s mark, either as an animator, character designer, or supervisor. He belongs amongst the legends of Studio Ghibli, and his work has affected many around the globe. So, a very happy kanreki (還暦, 60th birth anniversary) to the esteemed Kondo Katsuya!

Kondo Katsuya in 2017.
The Ultimate Ranking of the Studio Ghibli Universe

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Noah Oskow

Serving as current UJ Editor-in-Chief, Noah Oskow is a professional Japanese translator and interpreter who holds a BA in East Asian Languages and Cultures. He has lived, studied, and worked in Japan for nearly seven years, including two years studying at Sophia University in Tokyo and four years teaching English on the JET Program in rural Fukushima Prefecture. His experiences with language learning and historical and cultural studies as well as his extensive experience in world travel have led to appearances at speaking events, popular podcasts, and in the mass media. Noah most recently completed his Master's Degree in Global Studies at the University of Vienna in Austria.

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