ghibli’s earthsea bombs

Anime New Network, Yahoo Japan, and Anime Anime! report that Ghibli’s version of Earthsea is scoring worse with viewers that the latest Pokemon offering and significantly worse than Cars. Originally, Ursula Le Guin had rebuffed requests from Miyazaki to create the film, but after seeing his success with recent Ghibli titles, allowed him to finally make an Earthsea movie. While I haven’t seen the movie, I know it’s very bad karma to whitewash Sparrowhawk… which is apparently what Ghibli ended up doing. Fans of the Earthsea Cycle should be aware that race is a central motif of the books… and that Sparrowhawk most definitely does not have white or near-white skin.

17 Responses to “ghibli’s earthsea bombs”

  1. I can’t read Japanese, nor is that ANN thread readable in this context, but if it’s true, it’s not that surprising. This is his bio from IMDB:

    “Graduated from Shinshu University, Faculty of Agriculture, Goro Miyazaki started his career as a construction consultant, and he designed parks or public institutions. Because his father, Hayao Miyazaki, is a world-famous filmmaker, he always had complex feeling towards his father. He decided not to work for anything related to animation, to avid to be compared with Hayao. However, the turning point came to his life in 1990s, which was the new project of construction of Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo. He was in charge of the whole design of the museum, and became the first Managing Director. While Hayao was filming “Hauru no ugoku shiro”, Toshio Suzuki, the producer, decided to let Goro direct the next Ghibli movie since he was impressed by Goro’s talent of making decisions quickly and properly, and his ability to draw pictures. Therefore he directed “Gedo Senki”, which is the first step of his career in the animated movie industry.”

    What is he really? Oh, he’s an architect! What’s this? He also decided to do nothing with animation?! How the hell did he get on this boat then? He designed the Ghibli Museum, he can make decisions (cocerning architecture) fast and properly, and he can draw well. Yes, everything needed to be a great director (not producer) of an anime.

    I really shouldn’t be saying this when I didn’t even see the movie…

  2. P.S. You should clarify that it was Goro Miyazaki and not Hayao Miyazaki that directed the film.

  3. I was not really glad that Sparrowhawk was not dark-skinned in the animated movie. Hell, I felt the same about the TV movie with that Smallville girl too.

  4. It has been a while since Ghibli made a file that I would recommend to others. This is from someone who considers ‘Laputa: Castle in the Sky’ one of the best films ever.

  5. denied by your own father. Geez.

  6. Meh, nothing to do with Goro,but when I saw the trailer, all I could think was: “Again with the same stereotyped characters? Be original Ghibli!”.

  7. When your father disses you,that’s bad. When it turns out he was right, that’s worse. When you make errors with the story worthy of the author-denounced Sci-Fi channel adaptation, you’ve signed your own death warrant. ;)

  8. What’s really sad is Sci Fi only messed this up last summer, wasn’t it? You’d think it would have been great feedback on how not to screw it up.

  9. Problem is most Japanese pay no attention to what English media and websites say, which ends up hurting them rather often.

  10. rooboy – they messed it up earlier this year, IIRC, not ‘last summer’. In other words, WAY too late to catch the same errors there and correct them here.

    It’s a pity too – I was looking forward to this, although the whole ‘Sparrowhawk is white’ thing wasn’t exactly something to look forward to.

  11. >> rooboy – they messed it up earlier this year, IIRC, not ‘last summer’.

    Earthsea premiered on Sci-Fi channel in 2004. I stopped watching after the first hour… couldn’t stand it anymore.

  12. It has nothing to do with the characters being dark-skinned or not. A little percentage of the people who are going to see the movie (specially in Japan) have read the books and could care less about that, I’m afraid.
    It’s a matter of expectations: Ghibli has a certain style of making movies, which people expect to see when they go to see one. If they don’t find that style, or the message is confusing, like the whole movie, people won’t like it.

    On a side note, I didn’t like “Howl’s moving castle” ;)

  13. >> It has nothing to do with the characters being dark-skinned or not.

    Read my post again… it’s bad karma. Race is a huge motif in the books, and very few characters are white. Once you’re willing to screw over the racial aspect of the story, you’re probably going to screw over other parts too… just ask Sci-Fi. Getting rid of it is like getting rid of peanuts, Cracker Jack, and the beer at baseball games.

  14. I disagree with you, I don’t think race is that important in the books besides making characters… characteristic (no pun intended :)).

    The Sci-Fi channel version flopped because it was really bad, period. Some of my friends watched it without having read any of the books and all agreed it was horrible and didn’t explain many things properly.

  15. Acting was good for the miniseries, plot was just supid. Even by never reading the books, I had a sense that this wasn’t what it was really about. I’d be pissed too if someone did that to my book. But Kristen Kruek made watching the show worth it > . >

  16. Hi all. I just saw the movie here in Japan, and I have a review up on my blog. You all might be interested.

    (And, about the skin color thing: Ged definitely DOES have darker colored skin than the other characters in the film, although not so dark that most Japanese would even really notice it. You have to look for it.)

  17. Just finished seeing the movie here in Japan, too. I hate to say it, but it sucked! What a disappointment and an embarrassment for Ghibli. I kept hoping for it to get better during the movie. Just kept waiting and waiting all the way to the end. But to no avail. Don’t waste your money in seeing this flick. If you really want to see what all the bad review hype is about, just be patient for the DVD/VHS to rent. Oh, it’s not for kids either. So, don’t expect to see anything remotely cute from this movie. In other words, DON’T bring your kids to see this one! And to be honest, allo the talk about the color of the skin? Shit, he could have been neon purple for all I care, it wouldn’t have helped this movie in the slightest!

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