Magazine article Variety

JAPAN: Younger Animators Vie to Succeed Master Miyazaki

Magazine article Variety

JAPAN: Younger Animators Vie to Succeed Master Miyazaki

Article excerpt

As the recent death of famed children's book illustrator Maurice Sendak made clear, even geniuses don't live forever. Fans of Japanese toon maestro Hayao Miyazaki, now 71, have long speculated about who will succeed him at Studio Ghibli.

Among the heirs apparent are Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who helmed "The Secret World of Arriety" (2010), and Goro Miyazaki, the master's son and director of "From Up on Poppy HiU" (2011). Both toons were the top B.O. hits among domestic pics in their years. However, because the senior Miyazaki scripted the pics and supervised their production, it's still not clear that his two would-be heirs can uphold his standards on their own.

Outside Ghibli's confines, a crop of younger animators has been wowing critics and winning fans with toons that are similar to MiyazaM's in their humanistic themes, richly imagined worlds and hand-drawn techniques.

One is Mamoru Hosoda, whose upcoming "The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki" follows two kids who move with their human mother to a rural town after their wolfman father dies. Hosoda won armloads of domestic prizes for his two previous features, "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" (2006) and "Summer Wars" (2009). The latter earned $20 million - outstanding for an anime based on an original story instead of the usual comic or TV toon franchise. …

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