Suzuki interview

posted on by Christopher Macdonald

Toshio Suzuki recently discussed Miyazaki's new film (Howl's Moving Castle) as well as Oshii's (Innocence Ghost in the Shell) with Shigesato Itoi. The original article can be read (in Japanese) at

Translated Excertps:

Suzuki: I'm currently discussing the next film with Miyazaki, Howl's Moving Castle, to be released in 2004. It is based on a British children's novel, however Miyazaki usually alters the story for his movies. First of all, he wondered what period the story should be set in. One day, he said to me, “How about the end of 19th century?” He knows a lot of artists drew "illusion art" in Europe back then.

Suzuki: They drew many pictures imagining what the 20th century would be like. They were illusions and were never realized after all. Nowadays, we look back at these pictures and see a world in which science exists as well as magic, since they are illusion.

Suzuki: "That's the world the story is to be set in," he said to me. While talking with me, his judgement waverered on one item whether or not automobiles should appear. That's currently the most important question for him. In a world where planes already exist, are automobiles necessary?

Suzuki: If you create such a world, it means that it's rather hard thing to fall in love in the world. “That's what I'd like to depict,” he said to me. Another important point in the film is that a war is occurring in this world. The war affect the personal lives of the characters. When someone is put in such circumstances, it makes it very hard to be in love.

Suzuki: In such hard situation, the protagonist faces more hard question; “Which side should I stand for in the war?” Miyazaki and I discuss such things these days. I came to think that the ‘condition’ is an important thing to depict pure love.

Suzuki: I'd like to introduce another thinking on the ‘condition’. Mamoru Oshii is directing the sequel to GitS. Humankind has tried to make a thing like a human for some hundred years. Oshii is thinking of a world 30 years after human-like machine in introduced. The border between spirit and material gets sludy there. In the movie, a woman who lost her own body and a man who almost is almost entirely machine appear, his only "organ" is his brain. They fall in love with each other, facing the problem of their own identity.

Suzuki: Both Oshii and Miyazaki went so far away from the "here and now" to tell their stories.

Suzuki: Oshii tries to depict the 'vanishing condition.' He tries to probe the issue to its core; what makes you ‘you’ when you've lost almost all of your body parts. Is it your spirit that makes you 'you,' your brain, or your remaining organs perhaps? If a man and a woman exist, can love automatically exist between them? In addition, I asked Oshii why he didn't change the title to Innocence. “Don't you think it's better than Ghost in the Shell?” Two gifted Anime directors show interest in the 'condition,' although one tries to go to the end of 19th century, and the other to the year 2032. It's interesting to me that they are seeing the same theme.

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