StudioCanal have just released the highly anticipated first-ever TV series from Studio Ghibli, ‘Ronja, The Robber’s Daughter’ on Blu-ray and DVD.
Based on a book by Astrid Lindgren, the 26-part series tells the tale of the young girl who grows up among a clan of robbers living in a castle in the woodlands of early-Medieval Scandinavia.
As part of the release, StudioCanal spoke to series director Goro Miyazaki and actress Gillian Anderson (who narrates the English version).
Why did you decide to turn the novel by Astrid Lindgren into a TV series?
Goro Miyazaki: I originally hoped to create “Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter” as a film, but that plan didn’t work out. When I was asked to create a new TV series for kids, I thought it an excellent chance to finally create “Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter”, a perfect work for kids that is really appropriate for NHK’s animation TV series programs for children.
How would you describe the animation style for the series?
GM: The animation style of “Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter” is a hybrid of computer-generated 3-D characters and 2-D hand-drawn and hand-painted background art. I used what is called the “Toon Look” to match the characters appropriately to the style of the background art.
We adopted this style because it is ideal for expressing the rich seasonal beauty of nature. Also, Japanese audiences like and are familiar with 2-D animation.
Gillian, tell us about your role.
Gillian Anderson: I play the narrator. I’m the voice of God. No, actually, I’m not. I’m the narrator. That’s who I am.
Do you think Ronja will appeal to adults as well as children?
GM: The original novel “Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter” is a really interesting book even for adults because it describes what happens between parents and children as the children grow. I hope that our TV series “Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter” has the same appeal as the original novel.
What sets Ronja apart from other Studio Ghibli productions?
GM: The big difference is that Studio Ghibli productions are full-length feature films while “Ronja” is a 26-part TV series. Still, my creative philosophy and approach for the show are exactly the same as for my films.
Gillian, what do you like about Ghibli?
GA: I love Ghibli. What do I like about Ghibli? I love everything about Ghibli. The beauty of the animation is some of the most exquisite animation I’ve ever seen. I have, I think, been watching Ghibli movies from the very, very beginning. My daughter, who is now 22, grew up on them and is as obsessed with them as I am.
What did you enjoy most about creating the series?
GM: It was fascinating when the characters’ voices were recorded and the characters’ personalities truly came to life.
GA: And the mites, and all the characters, the white little guys in the trees, and the black little dust mites – and the all the range of mythical characters are really exciting for me.
Do you relate to any of the characters in the show?
GM: (Laughing) Yes, I relate to Noddle-Pete… because he has a foul mouth.
‘Ronja, The Robber’s Daughter’ is available for purchase now from Amazon.co.uk.