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The Strongest Girl in the World
November 28, 2013 12:16 AM   Subscribe

Hayao Miyazaki drawn Concept sketches and storyboards for a proposed but never made 1971 Pippi Longstocking animated movie. The movie was abandoned when Astrid Lindgren didn't give her permission.
posted by MartinWisse (23 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
The sketches are lovely! Why oh why, Mrs. Lindgren? It would probably have been a wonderful adaptation.
posted by Harald74 at 1:08 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lindgren must have had her reasons. In 1971, Ghibli was basically an unknown. It would have been difficult to trust them with the creative assets of a world-renowned author. And, honestly, Ghibli have made some strikingly unique films based on original concepts (or at least not based on well-known properties), but the stuff they adapt from existing work is just cobbled-together Ghiblified glurge. Arietty is Kiki. Howl's Moving Castle is Kiki plus the basic story concept from Princess Mononoke. Everything is set in a magical genteel Disneyland Europe. That is utterly antithetical to Lindgren's world, which can sometimes be rambunctious and chaotic, but also incredibly stark.
posted by Nomyte at 2:23 AM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am kind of glad this, or any version, of Pippi Longstocking were never made.
Like the Moomintrolls, they come alive on the page but would be awful on the screen.
posted by Mezentian at 2:52 AM on November 28, 2013


I am kind of glad this, or any version, of Pippi Longstocking were never made.

You don't like the live action television series of Pippi either?
posted by MartinWisse at 2:56 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was waiting to find an airplane in the sketches. I was not disappointed.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:21 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


In the things-from-your-youth-to-never-revisit category, the 1969 TV version is right near the top. In my youth, I based my whole existence on my fanatical adoration of TV Pippi and her strangely compelling dad, never realizing that the screeching nightmare voices dubbed in for the English release were the sounds of demon screams escaped from the voice actors of Lancelot Link Secret Chimp burning in hell. I thought, early on, that this old favorite could be a thing to share with my nieces and nephew as a bonding moment between generations, but on reflection, perhaps the world needs time to forget.

That said, I conspired to cut my spaghetti with scissors whenever possible.
posted by sonascope at 3:46 AM on November 28, 2013


I do see a little bit of Ponyo in those sketches. It would have been interesting to see.

Any idea what Studio Ghibli would not have done (in our timeline) if they had been working on this instead?
posted by rochrobbb at 4:47 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Howl's Moving Castle is Kiki plus the basic story concept from Princess Mononoke.

It may not be 100% Diana Wynne Jones but I think she's got more to do with it than you suggest.
posted by Segundus at 5:10 AM on November 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Howl's Moving Castle was a serious letdown to me—Diana Wynne Jones is my favorite YA author and one of my favorite authors period, and the film did the book no justice whatsoever.

That said, I have to argue with Nomyte, because I was fortunate enough to see a screening of Miyazaki's newest and final film, The Wind Rises, which is an adaptation of a manga, and it is a masterpiece—one of the best films I've ever seen, and maybe the best Miyazaki movie too, which is saying a heck of a lot.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:27 AM on November 28, 2013


We know how good it would have been because we've seen the films Miyazake did later. I suspect to an elderly Swedish woman in 1971 the sketches might have resembled the Disney version of Winnie the Pooh.

(That's not so much of a good thing, by the way. And those films were relatively faithful, for Disney).
posted by Grangousier at 6:05 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I read the Jones book and loved it and loved Howl's as well and I guess we have to settle this by seeing who eats more today, as Ghibli would want.
posted by jscott at 6:18 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am kind of glad this, or any version, of Pippi Longstocking were never made.

There is a (not very good) cartoon...
posted by Harald74 at 6:20 AM on November 28, 2013


I loved the Pippi books and the Swedish movies when I was young, and I greatly admire what I've seen of Ghibli's output, but I have to admit I looked at those sketches and said, "eh." I'm not sure why the design doesn't grab me - it might just be too chubby generic cuteness and not particularly distinctive.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:12 AM on November 28, 2013


As the last couple of images show, the redheaded girl with two braids got recycled into Mimiko in Panda Go Panda.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 7:27 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why oh why, Mrs. Lindgren?

Around that time, Astrid Lindgren had a very high tax rate, reaching a 102% marginal rate a couple of years later. Royalties from a movie would have probably done the same thing to her in 1971.

So, she had a couple of choices. She could literally work for free on the project, she could "get paid" at a significant cost to herself, she could sign off on the project but otherwise ignore it (creators love doing that!), or she could just not do it.
posted by Hatashran at 8:09 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The TV episodes got edited into a series of movies that got roadshowed in the US in the early '70s. I loved them to the point where movie-Pippi could safely be called my first media crush, but I was seven years old at the time, and like sonascope's dive back into Pippi's video oeuvre, most of my recent re-explorations of the stuff I liked back then have been...disappointing.

The movies did introduce me to the books, though, which is more than their imported-kiddie-feature sibling Superbug, Super Agent ever did for anybody.
posted by Lazlo Nibble at 11:01 AM on November 28, 2013


Howl's Moving Castle is Kiki plus the basic story concept from Princess Mononoke.

You take that back. Or don't. But the three of us here who just finished watching it again 10 minutes ago agree that the Ghiblification was better than the book.
posted by Foosnark at 11:21 AM on November 28, 2013


Howl's Moving Castle is, simultaneously, a pretty good Ghibli movie and a pretty bad adaptation of the book. They put in, for instance, the scarecrow, left out everything you need to know about the scarecrow, and then tried to fix it with ten seconds of embarrassing exposition in the last thirty seconds of the movie. Same thing with that 'find me in the future' bit--it's a conspicuous attempt to plug up the big holes they put in the source material.

In fairness, a faithful movie adaptation of the book would be twelve hours long. The book and movie are best regarded as completely separate entities.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:54 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why, yes, I would have liked to see a Ghiblified version of Lancelot Link Secret Chimp.
posted by Nomyte at 12:55 PM on November 28, 2013


Thanks for posting these. I don't know how well the movie would have worked if it had actually been made, but seeing these I can imagine a wonderful Pippi movie in my head. (It looks a lot like Kiki, really.)

Also, Whisper of the Heart was an adaptation by Ghibli from a manga title, and it was wonderful.
posted by mbrubeck at 1:40 PM on November 28, 2013


Hatashran: "Around that time, Astrid Lindgren had a very high tax rate, reaching a 102% marginal rate a couple of years later. Royalties from a movie would have probably done the same thing to her in 1971."

I don't think anyone is deliberately making this up, but the Wikipedia cite for that is pretty sketchy. How does one reach a marginal rate of 102 percent?
posted by pwnguin at 5:30 PM on November 28, 2013


Self-employed people paid income tax and employer taxes.
posted by madajb at 6:48 PM on November 28, 2013


Sing or Swim: I always thought Mimiko WAS Pippi Longstocking. There's even an episode where she's alone in the house and foils a couple of stupid burglars, right out of the book. It makes sense now.
posted by mneekadon at 8:47 PM on November 28, 2013


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