Title:  Tales from Earthsea

Year:  2006

Manga Available in the UK?  N/A

Anime Available in the UK?  Yes

Games Available in the UK?  N/A

Hang on, isn't Earthsea an American book?

You know your fantasy!  The Earthsea series is a famous saga from US author Ursula K Le Guin that follows the trials and tribulations of the great wizard Ged in the titular sea bound world.

The epic series has stretched on for several volumes, and Tales from Earthsea is the name of the fifth book.  However, Miyazaki's film draws inspiration mainly from the third book - The Farthest Shore - and covers chapters from the other books too, rather than focusing solely on the book it shares its name with.

Did you say Miyazaki?!  Is this the next film by the great Hayao Miyazaki?

Not quite, Tales from Earthsea is the debut anime feature by Hayao's son Goro Miyazaki, who was up until recently in charge of the Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo.

Wow!  Miyazaki's son!!  Bet the pair will be working hard together to make a great film!

Um, actually Hayao Miyazaki was very strongly against his son following in his footsteps...

What?  Why?

It seems that animation made Miyazaki senior a bit of an absent father, and put some strain on family relations.  Hayao doesn't want his son to neglect his family in the same way, and there has been an element of strain shown in Goro's online production diary.  There may also be a slight case of sour grapes - Hayao has wanted to animate A Wizard of Earthsea (the first book in the series) for a long time, but his proposal was turned down by Ursula Le Guin.  He may be a bit annoyed that his son has been given the chance that he himself wanted.

Sounds a bit complicated, but back to the film - does it look any good?

Hell yes.  Goro seems to have looked to his father's early films for inspiration and has utilised a similar simple style coupled with watercolour background art that typified the likes of Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind, Future Boy Conan and Laputa, Castle in the Sky.  The trailers have looked particularly impressive, with a beautifully retro feel to what looks like a solid old-school fantasy film.  Many people will be watching just to see how Goro measures up against his illustrious father, but on this evidence he is certainly in a similar league.

That's high praise!  So when's it out?

The film was released Japan in 2006 and has recently been released on DVD there.  UK distributor Optimum Releasing have announced that a theatrical run will start here on 3rd August, so a DVD release will probably follow by the end of the year.  Interestingly we're getting it before our US cousins - the recent American A Wizard of Earthsea mini-series has tied up the rights to the franchise until 2009, leaving the anime film in limbo until then...

Cool, do you have any other articles about Tales from Earthsea?

Yep, check out our review of the Japanese DVD release!