Jiji Press reports that Hayao Miyazaki announced that he is directing a new long-form animated film called “Ponyo on the Cliffs” (崖の上のポニョ), a story of a boy’s friendship with a “goldfish princess” who wants to become human.
The production, the first directed by Hayao Miyazaki since 2003’s Howl’s Moving Castle, began last October and will be completely hand-drawn, with no computers used whatsoever. The animation style is simple and childlike (see picture). The scenery is based on the Seto Inland Sea, an area of Japan where Miyazaki stayed in 2005. The 5-year-old hero is based on his son Goro, who directed the poorly-received Earthsea adaptation. The music will be done by Ghibli regular Jo Hisaishi. The final production is scheduled to be released in summer 2008.
An official press release confirms the recent reports and promises more information moving forward.