Red Crow and the Ghost Ship (赤いカラスと幽霊船 , Akaikarasu to Yureisen) is a Japanese short film produced by NHK Enterprises for the 1989 Yokohama Exotic Showcase.

The film follows a young boy and his sister in modern-day Japan who are led aboard a flying ghost ship by a talking red crow. The boy, Takuya, must take over steering the vessel from the ailing captain. The titular ghost ship was designed by Hayao Miyazaki.

History

During the end of the Japanese asset price bubble, the "regional exposition" experienced a surge in popularity. The 1989 Yokohama Exotic Showcase (横浜博覧会 , Yokohamaha Kurankai) was one such exposition held in Yokohama, Japan. The event, which was themed around space exploration, celebrated the 130th anniversary of the opening of the Yokohama port and the centennial anniversary of the municipal organization. To help promote the event, NHK Enterprises produced Red Crow and the Ghost Ship.[1] The film contains nods to Star Wars and Planet of the Apes.

Designs

The red crow was created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop, with John Stephenson supervising. Neal Scanlan built the mechanical bird and Val Jones made the skin and feathers. The red crow, attached to a pole, was puppeteered by Mak Wilson. The shoot for the crow scenes took three weeks.[2]

For Japanese home video release, the film was accompanied by a making-of documentary, including footage of Creature Shop personnel Scanlan, Jones, Stephenson, and Wilson.

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