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Studio Ghibli’s animated works have won acclaim around the world, and we’re sure many of our readers are familiar with their hit films like Spirited Away and Castle in the Sky. But have you ever wondered what it may be like to actually work in the famous studio? Well, now it looks like we can get a glimpse of what goes on in the studio, as one of Ghibli’s former animators, Hitomi Tateno, will be coming out later this month with a book titled “The Pencil War Chronicles: The Studio Ghibli that Nobody Knew“!

Details on Tateno’s book, scheduled to be released on November 21, have recently been made public, including the cover artwork which features the animator herself shrunk to miniature size (like Arrietty) and working on an illustration using an enormous pencil.


Tateno worked for Studio Ghibli for more than 25 years, her career spanning from the films My Neighbor Totoro to When Marnie Was There, and the book is a compilation of her memoirs which were serialized in Ghibli’s free monthly journal Neppu (“Hot Wind”).

The book contains seven chapters in which Tateno writes about topics such as how she remembers Hayao Miyazaki and other key Ghibli figures including producer Toshio Suzuzki (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service) and director Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya), as well as her experience working with the rest of the Ghibli staff. The book also begins with a special introduction by Suzuki, which should also be a treat for readers.

In the prologue of the book, Tateno explains how during her time at Ghibli she was primarily involved in the process called “image motion check”, which basically consists of checking the lines and movement of the artwork created by animators. While this directly affects the quality of the animation, Tateno says the motion check is one of the least glamorous tasks animators are required to do. In fact, she feels it to be an odd turn of fate that someone like her, who worked mostly behind the scenes, ended up writing such a book.

However, it certainly sounds like the book contains plenty of delightful material for Ghibli fans, and we expect many of them will decide to check out the publication for a rare look into the world’s most famous anime studio. And for all the international fans out there, let’s hope it gets published in English too!

Source: Studio Ghibli Fansite Ghibli no Sekai
Image: Amazon Japan