The director behind such imaginative favorites as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away is dialing back the whimsy to levels scarcely fanciful enough to support charming spirit life.
According to the AnimeNewsNetwork (via), Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki's next animated feature will focus on the designer of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero--Japan's long-range fighter craft that was famously used throughout World War II. A Ghibli producer previously said the project was "not the sort of work that everyone in the audience can relax and watch," which would seem to support this rumored plot; the story of a warcraft used in the attack on Pearl Harbor is indeed not the most relaxing subject matter. And it might particularly be a tough sell in the U.S., for both the obvious historical reasoning and the fact that Miyazaki's more family-friendly Ponyo still only brought in $15 million. Is there enough Liam Neeson overdubbing in the world to turn this into a hit?
Regardless, the animated biopic is set for a late 2013 completion, with Studio Ghibli reportedly already carrying out "a large-scale search for animators skilled at drawing aeroplanes." Now it's even more upsetting Mom threw out all our cool jet designs.