Yoshiyuki Tomino’s anime career stretches all the way back to writing for Astro Boy, but it might be coming to a close.

A lot is made of anime director Hayao Miyazaki’s ageless passion for animation and desire to create. Though the Studio Ghibli co-founder turned 80 in January, he’s currently working on his next project, titled How Do You Live?, which will be released…well, whenever Miyazaki says it’s finished.

But with all the attention Miyazaki gets for continuing to work well past the average retirement age, it’s easy to forget that Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino is just 10 months younger than Miyazaki and will also be joining the octogenarian club this fall. In addition to various other projects, Tomino still periodically takes the reins of certain branches of the sprawling Gundam franchise, most recently by helming the third Gundam Reconguista in G compilation film, which hit Japanese theaters in July.

However, in a recent interview with Japan’s Shukan Playboy, Tomino himself said he feels like his career is winding down, though not because he’s running out of ideas. Sadly, while his spirit is willing, his body is reaching its limits, as he spoke on his worsening health conditions related to spinal canal stenosis, in which the spinal canal narrows and compresses the nerves inside, causing pain and numbness in the lower body.

“It’s gotten to the point where I can’t walk well anymore. When I see myself walking on camera, I think ‘Whoa, this guy has a serious medical condition!’” explained Tomino, who continues to make frequent media appearances to promote his works and talk about the state of anime in general (such as which other creators’ series he’d like to crush and whose movies could use more overt horniness). “I think I’ve only got about three years left that I …continue reading


Ghibli let fans ask anything they wanted and pulled back the curtain on the 1997 Hayao Miyazaki anime classic, which almost wasn’t titled Princess Mononoke.

This month’s Friday the 13th was doubly lucky for anime enthusiasts. Not only was Princess Mononoke shown on TV in Japan, the official Studio Ghibli Twitter account dropped a steady supply of behind-the-scenes details during the broadcast.

Ghibli’s tweets came in the form of responses to questions collected from Twitter users prior to Princess Mononoke’s airing, and as one of director Hayao Miyazaki’s most complex and respected works, there was plenty that admirers wanted to know. Let’s take a look at what the studio revealed, starting with the answer to the question “What was the hardest scene to animate?”

“It’s hard to pick just one as the most difficult, but for the scene right at the start of the movie where the Tatarigami attacks the village, aside from a few CG parts, all of it is hand-drawn. Drawing the snake-like tentacles on the creature’s body, which are on-screen for two minutes and 10 seconds, took one year and seven months.”

That’s not to say the CG portions were a breeze either. Princess Mononoke was the first Ghibli movie with any significant use of computer-generated visuals, and the studio added:

“From the desks of the CG staff in the studio, there’s a house you can see outside the window. The staff saw the house get torn down, rebuilt, and the family move back in, all while they were still working on the CG for the sequence where the Tatarigami’s eye gets pierced by an arrow.”

Princess Mononoke doesn’t just look amazing in motion, though. It also boasts some of the most memorable character designs of any …continue reading