Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most beloved and respected filmmakers. His work with anime, art, and storytelling are some of the greatest treasures of the genre. If his name doesn’t ring any bells, perhaps you’ll recognize some of his titles: My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Spirited Away. Miyazaki’s trademarks are epic, well-crafted features that balance the beauty of storytelling and artwork.
Imagine all the feels when I found out he spent years trying to develop an anime based on my most-beloved character. I have been using the moniker of “Pippi” across the internets pretty much since the first time I logged on. The nickname and my affection for the character go far deeper and is probably my oldest geek love. So, when this story came across my RSS feed, I couldn’t ignore. He began hopefully sketching in 1971, so if this had come to fruition, I may have spent my childhood with another version of Pippi to love.
For those unaware of the vibrant story of Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Efraim’s Daughter Longstocking, let me clue you in:
Pippi is a strong little girl, the precocious daughter of a ship captain. She is full of spirit and panache and takes her little town by storm when she moves into her home, Villa Villekula. With her are her animal companions the monkey, Mr Nilsson, and the horse, Old Man. She quickly befriends the proper little children next door, Tommy and Annika, and sets about sharing wild tales and taking them on fantastic advetures in their town. She always seems to argue on the side of logic, humorously, and fights for (while empowering) those who cannot fight for themselves.
Miyazaki hoped to bring this joyful and fearless redhead to the screen in a way that would showcase the heart of the story and outrageous life she lived. It would not be so. However, Miyazaki recently released the sketches he originally created as his concepts for the work. You can definitely see how he style fit so beautifully with the source material.
Miyazaki is a great talent, and even if his Pippi is never to be, it gives this redhead some comfort to know that the character lives anew in these sketches.