Studio Ghibli joined Twitter not that long ago, and recently they invited fans to ask them questions about Princess Mononoke. On Friday the studio shared their answers to a selection of those questions.
Asked what scene was the most challenging to animate, Studio Ghibli replied:
“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.”
The studio also said this about computer graphics:
“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.”
Asked about the red makeup on San’s face, Studio Ghibli corrected that these are in fact tattoos.
Characters Lady Eboshi, Kohroku, and Okkoto got their names from places located close to Miyazaki’s mountain hut.
Studio Ghibli said that Yakul, the creature Ashitaka rides on, is a sub-specious of antelope known as a akashishi, which they made up themselves. But real deer from Nara Park helped them with their creation of the Great Forest Spirit.
Miyazaki hoped to call the movie The Legend of Ashitaka, but the working title Princess Mononoke was leaked to the press, and then it was just easier to use that.
Asked about Ashitaka’s body still showing signs of the curse, Ghibli answered:
“The reason you can still faintly see his bruises is because the curse hasn’t completely disappeared. Talking about the film, Miyazaki said ‘Young people today won’t accept a happy ending. I think having the bruising not completely disappear, showing that the curse is something that could return at any time, but that Ashitaka still goes on living, feels truer.”
One fan wondered, “I heard a rumor that the very last Kodama that appears in the ending grows up to become Totoro, but is that true?”
And Studio Ghibli responded, “During production, it seems that Miyazaki said something along those lines to the staff…”
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.