Since Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli fame announced his retirement in September 2013, many fans worldwide were left wondering what the prolific director – known to be a notoriously hard-worker – would be doing with all his free time. If you’re one of those people, listen up, because we’ve got some good news and bad news.

First, the bad news–one of Miyazaki’s first new projects post-retirement, a manga series titled Teppō Samurai (鉄砲侍/”Matchlock Samurai”), is currently stuck in indefinite limbo. But here’s the good news–a plastic figure modeled on the titular character has already been released, even without the manga being completed.

Teppō Samurai tells the story of matchlock gun-wielding cavalry warrior Hiruko Hachirota (蛭子八郎太) on the front lines of a battle between the Hojo andUesugi clans in theKanto area of 1560s feudal Japan. Miyazaki apparently began working on the story’s concept back in 2013, spending a year drafting and illustrating half of the first battle scene before halting its production for reasons that remain unclear. Teppō Samurai was originally scheduled to be serialized in the monthly Japanese magazine Model Graphix, but as a result of its indefinite status, it is currently unknown whether the manga will actually be completed, let alone released, in the near future.

▼ Miyazaki’s illustration for Teppō Samurai


Of course, no one could foresee the manga’s current state of postponement/cancellation. Back in the early stages of planning, plastic model kit producer Model Kasten had already been given the OK to create a figure modeled on Miyazaki’s own original design of the samurai protagonist Hiruko Hachirota. In fact, Miyazaki himself inspected a prototype of the figure, commenting that the chest area was “too thin and weak-looking.”

▼ Miyazaki critiquing the figure


In fact, Model Kasten has since gone ahead and released the final version, describing it as a 1/35 scaled model which comes in the form of a plastic kit that the buyer must assemble and color by hand.

Here are some pictures of the model in various states of completion:




While the figure is now being advertised through Model Kasten’s website for 1,850 yen (US $15.42), event goers to the Shizuoka Hobby Show held on May 16 and 17 in Shizuoka Prefecture got a chance to get their hands on the product ahead of time.

Looks like the rest of us will just have to wait a little bit longer to get our own copies of the samurai, which is the next-best thing to a release of the Teppō Samurai manga itself!

Source: Kai-You
Images: Model Kasten (English and Japanese versions)