To the casual observer, there appears to be two types of popular animation in Japan: hyper-violent pornography and the films of Hayao Miyazaki. There is a lot to be said for hyper-violent porn, but let’s leave that for another day and focus on Mr. Miyazaki. He taught Daniel-san some kick-ass karate moves and still had time to direct the most popular animated movies in Japan. In fact Spirited Away made more money than any film in Japanese history, animated or not. While not big box office successes in the good old USA his two most recent movies have garnered two Oscar nominations and one win. Wax on wax off indeed.

Not content to rest on his laurels, the older than dirt director (he’s 62) is going to have another animated movie out in 2008. Variety says that the movie will be called Gake no ue no Ponyo. Fortunately, they were nice enough to translate that into English: Ponyo on a Cliff. It still doesn’t make much sense, but I do recognize the word “cliff” so that’s something. Ponyo is reportedly a princess goldfish who yearns to be human. She has a friendship with a five-year old boy, who Miyazaki is basing on his grandson.

For those who were dazzled by the visuals of Miyazaki’s two previous films, be prepared for a change. Rather than incorporating CG into his films, this film will have a hand painted water-color look. Studio Ghibli president Toshio Suzuki, taking a break from his motorcycle empire, said the director "will use simple, childlike drawings. He intends to make something different from his previous films." This is also reported to be Miyazaki’s last movie.

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