All-male cast brings anime classic to the traditional stage in a historic first for Studio Ghibli director and co-founder Hayao Miyazaki.

Studio Ghibli has earned legendary status around the world for creating endearing anime classics like My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away, but the animation studio actually owes much of its existence to a 1984 film called Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

Starting out as a serialised manga created by Hayao Miyazaki, Nausicaä was greenlit for the screen with help from an anime magazine editor called Toshio Suzuki. Miyazaki wrote and directed the film, with Suzuki on board as a member of the production team, and it became such a success that the two were able to co-found a new animation studio together, along with Miyazaki’s long-time collaborator and Nausicaä producer Isao Takahata. One year after Nausicaä’s release, Studio Ghibli was born.

Fast forward three decades and a bit, and here we are today, with the exciting announcement that Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind will now be turned into a kabuki stage play. 

It’s not the first well-known anime to appear on the kabuki stage, with popular series One Piece and Naruto adapted for the traditional theatre with limited-time runs in 2015 and 2018 respectively.

One Piece combined its cast of zany characters with traditional kabuki makeup and poses.

▼ And added in a dash of impressive armography to boot.

The kabuki adaptation of Nausicaä is a monumental first for a film by Studio Ghibli director and co-founder Hayao Miyazaki. While details of the adaptation are yet to be revealed, it’s confirmed that some of the kabuki world’s finest actors will be taking part in the upcoming production, with Nakamura Shichinosuke II playing the part of main antagonist Princess Kushana, and Onoe Kikunosuke V, who actually proposed the kabuki adaptation, stepping into the role of Nausicaä.

▼ 41-year-old Onoe Kikunosuke will play Nausicaä.

Other cast members will include Bando Minosuke II, Onoe Matsuya II, and Onoe Ukon II. Bando Minosuke also appeared in the One Piece kabuki adaptation.

The epic adventure of Nausicaä, the young glider-flying princess of the Valley of the Wind who fights against a toxic jungle in a post-apocalyptic world, is packed with so much drama, action and otherworldly characters that it looks set to be a huge hit on the kabuki stage.

▼ Hopefully the new production will include special themed bento boxes during intermission, like the ones available for the One Piece play.

The new Nausicaä kabuki production will make its debut in December 2019 at Tokyo’s Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre, the same theatre where the Naruto and One Piece kabuki plays were performed. Given that Nausicaä was where Studio Ghibli first started, we can only hope that this will be the first of many Ghibli kabuki productions in future.

And although Takahata is sadly no longer around to physically attend the adaptation when it debuts, we’re sure that wherever he is he’ll be watching, and smiling down on his friends as they remember their time together with Nausicaä, back when it all began.

Source: Yahoo Japan via Otakomu
Featured image: Instagram/Shion2323