Pre-Studio Ghibli work of legendary director returns to theaters.

The anime Sherlock Hound is notable for several reasons, not the least of which is that its Japanese title, which translates to “Great Detective Holmes,” was brazen enough to attract the attention and ire of the estate of British author Arthur Conan Doyle (who, as you might be aware, already had a series about a pretty great detective with that surname). But what really makes Sherlock Hound stand out in the annals of anime history is the staff that worked on it, whose figurative fingerprints are all over certain sequences.

Sherlock Hound, showing some incredible animation quality for an early-’80s TV anime

If you’re thinking, “Wow, that looks an awful lot like a Studio Ghibli movie,” it’s because a number of key Ghibli artists worked on Sherlock Hound before the studio was founded, including the legendary Hayao Miyazaki himself. Miyazaki directed about a half-dozen Sherlock Hound episodes in 1982 before legal challenges from the Conan Doyle estate delayed the production and pushed the release of the planned anime TV series back to 1984. During that interval, Miyazaki left the Sherlock Hound team and went off to direct Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, which also released in 1984 and became a phenomenal hit. This then prompted a pair of theatrical releases compiling the Sherlock Hound episodes Miyazaki had directed, and those episodes are now being remastered and rereleased in theaters to celebrate the series’ 40th anniversary.

The first compilation, which puts together the Miyazaki-directed episodes “Blue Ruby” (also known as “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”) and “Treasure Under the Sea,” was released in 1984, followed by the second theatrical release, combining “Mrs. Hudson is Taken Hostage” and “Air Battle Over Dover” (a.k.a. “The White Cliffs of Dover”) originally arrived in heaters in 1986, but they’re being shown as a double-billing for the upcoming revival rerelease. Along with Miyazaki, other future Ghibli talent who were involved in those episodes include Yoshifumi Kondo (character designer for Princess Mononoke, Grave of the Fireflies, and Only Yesterday) as character designer and animation director and Nizo Yamamoto (art director for Castle in the Sky/Laputa, Princess Mononoke, and Grave of the Fireflies) as art director for “Blue Ruby” and “Treasure Under the Sea.”

The limited-time rerelease is being handled by Japanese movie review site Filmarks Recommend, and will run from March 22 to April 18 at a total of 117 theaters across Japan. Between March 22 and April 4, the most prominent downtown Tokyo venues will be the Shinjuku Piccadilly, Ikebukuro Humax Cinemas, Grand Cinema Sunshine Ikebukuro, and United Cinema Aqua City Odaiba theaters, and from April 5 to 18 the only currently listed Tokyo venues are Aeon Cinema Tama Center and Aeon Cinema Hinode (a full list of theater can be found here).

Source, images: PR Times
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