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Tales from Earthsea (ゲド戦記 , Gedo Senki?, loosely Ged's War Chronicles) is the 15th anime film from Studio Ghibli, released in Japan on July 29, 2006, and to the rest of the world soon afterwards. It was co-written and directed by first time director Gorô Miyazaki, son of Hayao Miyazaki. Additionally, starting in December 2005, Gorô documented the film's production process via a personal diary and production diary.

The movie is loosely based on a combination of plots and characters from the first, third, and fourth books of the Earthsea series: A Wizard of Earthsea, The Farthest Shore, and Tehanu, all written by Ursula K. Le Guin, along with The Journey of Shuna by Hayao Miyazaki. A manga adaption of the film has been published in Japan.

The film was a commercial success, earning ¥7.69 billion in the box office, but a critical failure in Japan. It was selected in the Out of Competition section at the 63rd Venice Film Festival. It first aired on television on July 11, 2008, during Nippon Television's Friday Road Show program. It was nominated for Excellent Animation Work for the 30th Japan Academy Award, and won first place in the Third Bunshun Kiichigo Award for worst picture. Its release was featured in the special documentary series 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki.

The film is available for streaming on Max, and purchasable on most digital storefronts.

Advertising Slogans[]

The promotional posters contained the following slogans:

  • "What you can't see." (見えぬものこそ。)
  • "I thought I could live without my father." (父さえいなければ、生きられると思った。)
  • "In the past, there was one person and one dragon." (かつて人と竜はひとつだった。)


Tales from Earthsea
Only in silence the word, 
only in dark the light, 
only in dying life: 
Bright the hawk's flight on the empty sky.


Losing the Way[]

"Why fight for life? We know it's going to end anyway."
—Prince Arren
Ged 006

Guilt weighs heavily on Arren after he commits patricide.

The movie begins with a war galley caught in a storm at sea. The ship's weatherworker is distressed to realize that he has lost the power to control the wind and waves, but is even more disturbed when he observes two dragons fighting above the clouds where one of them is eventually killed.

Shortly thereafter the King of Enlad, already troubled by tales of drought and pestilence in the land, receives news both of the strange omen at sea and of the disappearance of Prince Arren (the King's son). The King's wizard tells the tale of how dragons and men were once one, until dragons chose freedom and men chose possessions, and of his fears of how the land's plight is due to a weakening of the Balance. The King has little time to ponder on this before he is set upon and fatally stabbed in a dark corridor by a young lad, who turns out to be Arren where the prince steals his father's sword and flees the palace while his father dies from the wound inflicted by Arren.

The action now moves to a desert where Arren is pursued by wolves and he is rescued (despite refusing to defend himself) by a wizard who turns out to be Sparrowhawk the Archmage. During a conversation between the two, Sparrowhawk notes the magical nature of Arren's sword and expresses his doubt that Arren can unsheathe such a weapon.


"Man must learn to do what leaf and wave and wind do naturally. It is for us to keep the balance."
Ged 009

Sparrowhawk accompanies Arren to the town of Hort.

Arren, not having any direction in Life, accompanies Sparrowhawk to the town of Hort. When he's left to explore the town alone, he suddenly becomes scared as if something is following him. As Arren runs away, he sees a girl fleeing from slave hunters. He intervenes and saves her, though his "bravery" is but a reflection of his death-wish and not truly a heroic act. The girl recognizes this at once and runs away from him and towards a woman's voice calling her name Therru.


That evening, Arren is captured by the same slave hunter but loses his sword as the hunter believes it to be worthless junk. Arren is rescued by Sparrowhawk from the slavers by wizardry and Sparrowhawk apologizes for leaving Arren alone. They travel to a farm which, Arren learns, is run by a friend of Sparrowhawk - a woman named Tenar, whom Sparrowhawk rescued from the Tombs of Atuan (the second book in the Earthsea trilogy which is unexplored in the film). Arren also learns that Therru lives with Tenar, as her ward.

True Name[]

"You think your life belongs to you? Tenar gave me my life. That's why I have to live, so that I can give life to someone else. Lebannen... that is the only way we can live forever."
Ged 026

Therru is rescued from a life of slavery by Sparrowhawk.

Hare, the head slaver, reports back to Lord Cob, a powerful wizard and the ruler of Hort, and almost pays with his life for the loss of Cob's slaves, until he tells Cob that Sparrowhawk freed them. Lord Cob orders him to bring Sparrowhawk to the castle. At the farm, Sparrowhawk reveals that he is investigating the cause of the Balance being upset and returns to Hort where he discovers Arren's lost sword in a shop. Sparrowhawk disguises his face when Hare is near and, thereby, avoids capture. When the slave hunter leaves, he buys the sword.

Arren continues to have unsettling dreams and visions of an evil presence following him and reveals to Therru that he killed his father. Later, fearful that his presence will bring harm to Tenar and Therru, he leaves in secret. Hare and his lackeys capture Tenar who is held hostage in order to lure Sparrowhawk into the castle, leaving Therru behind tied to a post as a messenger. Arren is again pursued by the unknown presence in the form of himself and runs away, falling into a lake. Lord Cob scribes this via magic, and saves him only to manipulate him by telling him that Sparrowhawk is using Arren to discover the secret of eternal life. Cob persuades Arren to reveal his true name, Lebannen, which Cob uses to keep Arren subservient to his wishes.

The Fire of Life[]

"This life that is both our torment and our treasure... was never meant to endure for eternity."
—Prince Arren
Ged 027

Lord Cob rules the land with an iron fist.

Sparrowhawk finds Therru and gives her Arren's sword, telling her to give it to Arren if he returns. He then goes to the castle to save Tenar but finds Arren there who tries to kill him, but fails. Sparrowhawk is captured and imprisoned with Tenar, his wizard powers weakened within the stronghold of Cob's castle.

Therru encounters Arren's doppelganger and follows him to the castle, where he reveals to her that he is the light of Arren. He tells Therru his true name, but he says he cannot go into the castle with her. Inside the castle, Therru finds Arren and tells him her true name Tehanu. Both go to rescue Sparrowhawk and Tenar from Lord Cob who is about to throw them off a high tower. Having come to understand the nature and true purpose of wizardry, Arren is able to unsheathe the magical sward and with it, cuts off Lord Cob's hand, which flies away still holding his staff, rendering him unable to use magic. Cob becomes withered and disfigured but has enough strength to capture Therru and flee. Arren follows and Cob kills the girl in front of him. She doesn't die but, instead, transmutes into a winged dragon that kills Cob and rescues Arren from the collapsing tower that Cob destroyed in order to prevent Arren from advancing where Tenar and Sparrowhawk are saved too.

Therru and Arren fly away and finally land in a field, where Therru returns to human form. Arren says he will go back home to face his crime, but he will come back to see Therru in the future.


Ged/Sparrowhawk (ハイタカ(ゲド), Haitaka (Gedo))
Bunta Sugawara (Japanese), Timothy Dalton (English)
A famous, powerful, wise, and noble sorcerer of Earthsea, known as the Archmage, who is trying to solve the mystery on why the world's Balance is collapsing. He acts as a father-figure to Arren.
Prince Arren/Lebannen (アレン(レバンネン), Aren (Reban'nen))
Junichi Okada (Japanese), Matt Levin (English)
A a seventeen-year-old boy who is followed by a shadow due to his fear of death and the darkness in his heart caused by the collapse of the Balance of the world itself.
Therru/Tehanu (テルー(テハヌー), Terū (Tehanū))
Aoi Teshima (Japanese), Blaire Restaneo (English)
A burn victim who, like Prince Arren, is also seventeen. She was abused and abandoned by her birth parents until Tenar took her in. She originally thought of Arren as a monster after he saved her from Hare, because he seemed to lack any respect for life, but came to fall in love with him when she saw his compassion.

Behind the Scenes[]


"Before I encountered Earthsea, if I had to talk about my image of a story about a magician, it would be about a powerless but good hero who acquires magical powers and overcomes the evil enemy he must defeat, and/or the environment he must conquer. But when I read Book One of the Earthsea series 20 years ago, it was different. The real enemy was himself.

As a boy, Ged was greedy to learn magic, however his spiritual growth didn't keep pace with the power he possesses, and unknowing, he fostered a spirit of pride and hatred within himself. Then finally that spirit became an evil shadow that appears in front of him, and in front of the world, to obstruct him.

The real enemy was himself, and defeating that enemy was conquering himself. Chased by his own shadow, facing it, and then challenging it. This was an irresistible attraction. The story itself was also original, but more than anything else, the me I was then felt a great connection to this theme of "personal growth"."
—Goro Miyazaki[1]
Earthsea Novels

Earthsea's six volume Tankobon Hardcover set published by Iwanami Shonen Bunko on March 1, 2009.[2]

Hayao Miyazaki is longtime fan of the Earthsea saga. The series, renowned for its worldbuilding, greatly influenced Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Howl's Moving Castle. Studio Ghibli had sought to acquire the rights to Earthsea for years, but were denied by the author Ursula K. Le Guin until she saw My Neighbor Totoro. In 2003, following Ghibli's international recognition with Spirited Away, Le Guin personally contacted the Japanese studio and asked if they would be interested in adapting her work. Unfortunately, Miyazaki was in the middle of producing Howl's Moving Castle, which prevented him from tackling the new project.

Following the release of Howl's Moving Castle in 2004, Studio Ghibli announced three new film projects were under development. The first would be by Hayao Miyazaki, the second by Isao Takahata and a third by a new director. Several months would pass until on November 12, 2005, Toshio Suzuki announced that the next Ghibli production would be entrusted to Gorô Miyazaki, the son of the Hayao. The news left everyone in a state of disbelief as Gorô, a trained landscaper and then-director of the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, was not an animator or director. On December 13, 2005, Tôhô officially confirmed that the new film Gedo Senki, based on the third volume of Earthsea by Ursula K. Guin, would indeed be produced by Gorô Miyazaki. It is scheduled for released in July 2006 in Japan.

Suzuki Goro

Toshio Suzuki believed in Goro Miyazaki in helming this adaptation after seeing him stand up to his father, Hayao Miyazaki.

Suzuki recalled seeing Gorô arguing with his father over the construction of the Ghibli Museum and saw how the son took power over the father. This incident is what convinced him that he would be capable of seeing this film project to the end.

Gorô explains with a certain modesty why he decided, at the age of 38, to embark on the making of an animated film: “I became aware of my undeniable attraction to animation, a feeling that I had for a long time. I pretended to ignore it, especially because of the relationship I have with my father." It is ultimately the discovery of Ursula K. Le Guin's work that pushed him to pursue such a foolhardy task. In Gorô's personal production diary, he explains his relationship with the series, "The first time I read the Earthsea series, I was in high school. I didn't buy the books myself, but read copies that were lying around the house. Now the Earthsea series goes up to the sixth book: Tales from Earthsea, but at that time it only extended as far as the third book, The Farthest Shore. At that time the book that most interested me was the first one. What was interesting for me about it was not the excitement of a magical realm, but that the story of the inner growth of a boy who couldn't control his own magical powers resonated with me.


Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki met Ursula K. Le Guin to convince her that Goro Miyazaki was an adequate replacement to adapt her works.

As a high school student myself, I projected myself onto the protagonist, Ged. This time when, I was re-reading the books as part of the planning for the movie Tales from Earthsea, I discovered a totally different attraction. Then and now, stories about magicians, such as "Great Adventures in a Magical world!" or "Magical School Battles!", usually depict magic as supernatural powers beyond human understanding, but in Earthsea magic is depicted as a means to understanding the truths of everyday life.

In Book One, Ged's teacher Ogion says something like this: Boy, do you know how the roots and leaves and flowers of fourfoil change with the seasons? You must thoroughly absorb this knowledge, and can distinguish fourfoil at a single glance, or smell or merely looking at the seed. Then you will become able to learn its true name, and to understand the whole of its existence." In the Earthsea saga, magic is searching for the true nature of things and by knowing their true names, to work upon the existence of the thing itself. Thus, the study of magic is nothing other than the study of reality itself.

Shuna Earthsea

Goro took inspiration from his father's 1983 picture book The Journey of Shuna.

This way of thinking about magic was really a fresh discovery for me. When considering current fantasies, something like: "A story of gaining magical powers and adventuring in a fantasy world" is the first image that bobs up. But is that really the true nature of fantasy? This is the question in my mind. For instance, even a plain, everyday, question such as: "Why are sunsets so beautiful?" contains the mystery of existence and that is what I think fantasy is."

Ever since the project began in the first half of 2005, Hayao Miyazaki fiercely opposed Gorô getting into animation and directing. Gorô and Suzuki resisted these protestations and soldiered on. The animators, also initially skeptical, were reassured after seeing Gorô's first storyboards. Yasuo Ōtsuka enthusiastically said, "Like father, like son!" Hideaki Anno was also surprised and wondered why Gorô did not start his career in animation sooner.

Paradoxically, it was Hayao Miyazaki who accompanied Suzuki to convince Ursula K. Le Guin of the change of director. The director affirmed, albeit reluctantly, that he vouched for his son's abilities and promised they would halt the project if the proposed script by Gorô was not deemed satisfactory. Le Guin was not immediately convinced and was only after a tense discussion and the intervention of his son Theo Downes-Le Guin that the original author agreed to entrust the adaptation to the young and inexperienced Gorô.[3]


"My father, Hayao Miyazaki, was against my directing "Tales from Earthsea". This might sound abrupt. However it's something that I'd like to make clear at the outset. Also, to be honest, setting up this diary on the net, and appearing in front of everybody in this way, is definitely not the result of my own wishes. If there is something I want to say in my own voice, it's this: "Please watch the finished work", - that's all. My wish as a director is: "Please watch "Tales from Earthsea", with a completely fresh mind, free from distractions," - that's all.

But once the publicity for "Tales of Earthsea" starts up, regardless of whether I like it or not, as the director, I can easily imagine that I will be labelled with the adjective "Miyazaki Hayao's son". Faced with this, the conclusion Producer Suzuki came out with was that obviously I should "let the work itself speak for me", but "in order to showcase 'the work itself' you still need to let them know you not as 'Miyazaki Hayao's son', but as the individual human being Goro Miyazaki".

After much thought, I agreed with him. That is, although it seems back to front, I decided to try through this diary, by telling you what sort of things I the director have been thinking, to get people to take an unprejudiced look at "Tales from Earthsea"."
—Goro Miyazaki[4]
Earthsea Wolves

The film paid tribute to the opening of Isao Takahata's Hols: Prince of the Sun. Goro is said to have greatly admired Takahata.

Production officially began in September 2005. Hayao had no intention of getting involved in the production and therefore left Gorô Miyazaki with complete freedom. The young director decided to document the production with a personal blog and a production log. For the introduction to his blog, he explained the message he wished to convey in the film: “What is it to live properly now?"

On his diary, Gorô touches upon Studio Ghibli becoming independent from its former parent company Tokuma Shoten. He likened this newfound freedom to the image as a challenge he wished to convey in the film, "The concept of "Independence" has a somehow impressive image, but in fact, it can't always be said that this is so. At present, Producer Suzuki who is serving as the President of Studio Ghibli, seems to hate the fact that they are independent from Tokuma Shoten: "When you get independence, both as a company and an individual, your work as a "company" increases, and you can't concentrate solely on making films. But Mr. Suzuki's fate of becoming president even though he didn't want it, could be said to be his own fault. Mr. Suzuki, through continuing to make movies, has followed the "life of doing", and the result is to put him in the uneasy position of "President".

Ushiko Earthsea

A photo of Shachi-ga (シャチが) or "Orca" the cat, the friend of Ushiko the other resident cat at Studio Ghibli, taken by Goro Miyazaki. Goro amusingly asks, "Have you come to help us?"[5]

"Ged too, through succeeding in his various quests to save the world from danger, becomes the Archmage, the head of the School for Wizards, but he himself is not very happy with it: "While I have been many things, and last of all, and maybe least, an Archmage..." This is the complaint of both Mr. Suzuki who unexpectedly became president and CEO and of Ged who is chosen as Archmage and CEO whether he likes it or not."[6]

In addition to the storyboard design and production, Gorô was also responsible for co-writing the screenplay with Keiko Niwa, who was previously responsible for the screenplay to Ocean Waves. They only had ten months to complete the film, which would have been half the time it took Hayao to produce Howl's Moving Castle. Toshio Suzuki had seriously been thinking about the future of Studio Ghibli post-Hayao Miyazaki and wanted to find ways to reduce development time and production costs. This eventually called for subcontracting for in-between animations to outside studios.

Paintings Earthsea

The production staff took inspiration from various European artists, such as Claude Gellée's "the Lorrainer", Arnold Böcklin's "Isle of the Dead" and Caspar David Friedrich's dark, forbodding landscapes.

Back in the 1980's when Hayao Miyazaki wanted to adapt the film, he wished to depict world of Earthsea not as universe invented from scratch, but as a mishmash of several countries and cultures of different eras. Hayao wanted his staff to take inspiration from European artists, such as the paintings of Claude Gellée, known as "the Lorrainer", whose Roman temples constitute a recurring classical motif. For this adaptation, Gorô seems to have followed his father's original direction, taking inspiration from the works of Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1525-1569) and Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516).

The production team also looked at ancient ruins as depicted by 19th century European Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) and the Symbolist painter Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901). Hayao Miyazaki believed that architecture reached its peak with the Roman Empire and that this golden age could never be revisited. Hayao and his team also agreed on the general description of "Earthsea", a world where men built termite nests around once-majestic and magnificent historical and political buildings.

For his part, Gorô also took inspiration from his father's past films, such as Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and The Journey of Shuna. At the same time, the film used seamless 3-D integration pioneered by Ghibli's CG team for Howl's Moving Castle. For character animation, special attention has been paid to Arren, a hero stalked by the Shadow. Animation director Takeshi Inamura has done a lot of work on his expressions, many never before seen in a studio Ghibli film.

Goro Dinner

Goro invited NTV filming crews to see the production staff having dinner. Everyone was in good spirits as they served curry. Shintaro, a Ghibli staff was in-charge of meal preparation and was interviewed by the filming crew.

According to Gorô in his diary, "The animation director Mr. Inamura is a quiet, serious person. When he is concentrating on something, he puts out an aura from his back that makes it difficult for anyone to approach him. Sometimes he even shows me a nice smiling face, but those opportunities almost never come. Arren, the hero of the film Tales from Earthsea is, at first sight, a boy who it is difficult to understand what he is thinking. The one who made the complex emotions of this Arren visible on the surface is Mr. Inamura. When we finally got down into production, Mr. Inamura, who almost never says anything, said forcefully, "I don't understand this boy Arren". And "If I can't understand what kind of boy this boy is, then I can't draw him". At that time I had my first long conversation with Mr. Inamura."

"After that Mr. Inamura stopped talking about that to me, but when I watched his expression during our animation meetings for key animators, I understood well that he was trying to draw hints from my explanations. And he started saying sometimes things like "because Arren's that kind of kid". I don't think it's any exaggeration to say that Arren exists as he does because of Mr. Inamura."

Yamashita Earthsea

Animation Director Akihiko Yamashita's sketch of Turnip Head and Therru. Yamashita worked on both films.

Gorô and Art Director Yôji Takeshige spent some time reflecting on the atmosphere of the film's backgrounds. They sought to give the viewer an impression of depth by using more starker colors and reinforced shadows. This direction was a major departure from Ghibli's previous works at the time, and proved a difficult challenge for Head Colorist Michiyo Yasuda. Due to the chromatic depth in many of the film's backgrounds, she could no longer easily pick the light colors she was normally accustomed to using. Through sheer perseverance, Yasuda ended up establishing a graphic charter in accordance with the new style but Gorô recalls she got angry with Takeshige and himself on a daily basis.[7]

Gorô shared his experience working with Yasuda in his blog entry dated May 8, 2006, "Out of everyone in the studio, the person who most comes out and says all sorts of things straight up to me, without mincing words, is the colour designer Ms. Yasuda. These are sometimes thoughts, sometimes advice and sometimes scolding. She was also the first person to sharply identify things such as my directing habits and the essence of the current work. I think that a lot of people know this, but she is a great veteran with more than 40 years of experience, someone who has been a pillar of Takahata and Miyazaki productions."

Yoji Earthsea

Art Director Yôji Takeshige working on the film's backgrounds. Photo by Goro.[8]

"Initially, two young staffers were to handle the color design, and Ms. Yasuda was supposed to occupy an adviser kind of position. I mean, she'd just signed off on 3 features for the museum and was fairly worn out. But, because both I and the two young staffers were all light on experience, we got stuck in a position where we weren't going forward. In the end, Ms. Yasuda wound up being the front person for us."

"Ms. Yasuda has taught me a real lot of things. Not just the fundamentals of color design such as brightness, color saturation, how to think about mixing colors and so on. But that if you think about what the material is, the colors you can use decide themselves. That color is not just calculated figures, color should be based on the emotions and atmosphere you want to express in the scene. That color is not selected by adjusting numbers, it should be thought of as something created by mixing. And what a captivating picture is, and so on and so on..."

Goro Earthsea Work

Goro Miyazaki checking backgrounds with Takamatsu.

And it was not just color design. She really taught me all kinds of things. Such as:

  • What to be careful of when painting-in character backgrounds.
  • The differences in orientation between Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki as directors, and what the differences in the resulting pictures are.
  • The differences between the era of using cels and paint, and the current era of using computers. And finally even the right attitude for work.

"Even now, it seems like everyday I am being taught something by Ms. Yasuda, noticing something for the first time, coming to an understanding of it, and then being depressed about it. Recently, I have been writing about Ms. Yasuda a lot, but when I think about what would have happened if I hadn't met her, I realize that however much gratitude I feel to her, it can never be enough. Ms. Yasuda is like a sometimes strict, sometimes gentle, tutor to me."[9]

Earthsea Banzai

Clockwise from the front left, Animation Director Akihiko Yamashita, Director of Photography Atsushi Okui and Goro Miyazaki cheering "Banzai!" after completing the film's animation. The rightmost arm is Mr. Imura, an assistant director.

In the end, Tales from Earthsea took exactly 8 months and 17 days to complete final animation, compared to the 17 months it took for Howl's Moving Castle or Spirited Away. Throughout its production, Gorô was plagued with uncertainty, "As production enters its final phase, although the completion of the film has come in sight, on the other hand the worries have become more numerous. When I started, although there were a mountain of things that had to be thought about and that had to be done, nevertheless every day was part of a continuing series of discoveries. With the determination to somehow reach my goals, I gave myself up to the momentum. The feeling was like swimming, absorbed in what I was doing, in the middle of the current."

"As the number of completed frames piled up, I became increasingly attacked by doubts about whether I was giving my absolute best, and whether I could succeed in producing a high quality work that met the expectations of so many people."[10]

Gorô even likened the process to his time working in construction, "I used to work in the construction industry. Even at construction sites, things often go into high speed at the end. The line on the graph showing production (amount completed) curves up sharply at the end. That is, the later the process in the schedule, the less time it has to be completed in. This is what often happens at building sites when the project is on the verge of completion - the interior people are working all night."[11]


Earthsea Recording

Goro at the audio dubbing and sound recording sessions.

On Gorô's diary entry dated May 1, 2006, "From Saturday of last week, post-recording, which gives voices to the characters in the film, commenced. Last time, I wrote about the main character Arren and the animation director Mr. Inamura. This time I'm going to start with Junichi Okada, who plays Arren's voice. Mr. Okada's voice recording went very smoothly and we were able to finish recording half of the total [lines for him] already. This was his first experience with animation post-recording, but as learning the script, he has a really sharp instinct. In many cases we were able to use the trial run just as it was. In a word, superlative."

"To give one line that left an impression, this was Arren's first words:

"Are you my death...?"

Earthsea Voices

Goro and Arren's voice actor Junichi Okada.

"This line symbolizes Arren's character. The voice, which suggests inside a sense of resignation a faint hint of joy, gave me goosebumps. Even apart from that, he acted the role [of Arren] (from his introversion and the feeling of a faint hint of shadow inside him, to his sometime out of control emptions and occasional hints of boyishness) naturally, as if the natural essence of Arren's character was bubbling up. In the scenes together with Aoi Teshima's Therru, who had already recorded in pre-scoring everybody there, from Producer Suzuki down, couldn't help crying out [in excitement] it was that good."

"At every stage of the production progress, I feel that I'm writing the same things. Still, by breathing a voice into [a character], that character seems to gain a richer personality. And it makes me realize things I hadn't noticed myself, " this scene had that meaning eh? After this, I am really looking forward to the rest of postrecording, which will continue to the end of May."[12]


  • The three-minute Japanese trailer was first shown in Japanese cinemas starting Saturday February 24, 2006. It was aired on NTV on 23 February 2006 (the day the trailer was completed.)
  • The trailers were made by Keiichi Itagaki, who has been responsible for trailers for all the other Ghibli films up to now.
  • Theo Le Guin, Ursula K. Le Guin's son, viewed the Japanese trailer and said about it "The images are really beautiful. The song too, it's not like something from Hollywood, but felt really like Ghibli."

Studio Ghibli released the First Trailer and Second Trailer on their official web site.


Earthsea OST

The back of the CD featured a photo of Goro Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki and Carlos Núñez holding a Galician gaita bagpipe.

Tales from Earthsea (Image Album) (ゲド戦記歌集手嶌葵 Gedo Senki Kashuu Teshima Aoi) is a 10-track album published by Yahama Music Communications on July 12, 2006. The album contains several singles by Aoi Teshima.

Tales from Earthsea (Original Soundtrack) (ゲド戦記サウンドトラック , Gedo Senki Saundotorakku) is an album that was overseen by Tamiya Terashima and was released by Tokuma Japan Communications and Studio Ghibli Records as a multichannel hybrid SACD-CD on 12 July 2006. Its release code was TKGA-503 and ASIN was B000FNNOTG. Carlos Núñez was a key collaborator, contributing his ocarina, whistle and Galician gaita (bagpipe) to 11 out of 22 tracks. Newcomer Aoi Teshima sang in two of the tracks.

A follow-up album, Melodies from Ged Senki, was released on January 17, 2007, and included unreleased Ged Senki OST tracks as well as new tunes by Núñez. Its release code was SICP-1151 and its ASIN was B000HT1ZLW.

Reaction and Box Office[]

Earthsea Display

Various Earthsea-related exhibitions were held at department stores in Tokyo, Yokohama, and Nagoya. One featured a 25-meter long dragon. The Yomiuri Shimbun Tokyo Headquarters, "Ged Senki" Production Committee was responsible for the promotional events.[13]

The film reached No.1 at the Japanese Box Office on its opening week with a gross of over 900 million yen, or approximately US$7.7 million, pushing Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest to second place and became the number one movie in the country for five weeks, until it was pushed out of the top spot when X-Men: The Last Stand was released. This number is a large opening gross by Japanese moviegoing standards due to Japan having some of the highest admission prices in the world, which makes people shy away from theater trips. The movie went on to be the #4 top-grossing movie for the year in Japan.

Ursula K. LeGuin, the author of the Earthsea Series, gave a mixed response to the film in her review on her website. LeGuin commended the visual animation in the film but complained that the plot and the content had been changed drastically. She also praised certain depictions of nature in the film, but felt that the production values of the film were not as high as previous works directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and that the film's excitement was focused too much around scenes of violence. Her initial response to Goro Miyazaki was, "It is not my book. It is your movie. It is a good movie. "However, she was unhappy that the comment was disclosed on the movie's public diary.

Goro Earthsea Suzuki

Goro Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki at an event in 2006.

LeGuin's mixed opinion of the film is indicative of overall reception of the film, particularly in Japan. In Japan, the film found both strong proponents and detractors. Many of the opinions can best be summed up in a response to LeGuin's comments on her website, that the weak points of the film were the result of "when too much responsibility was shouldered by someone not equipped for it. "In the UK, the film was not released as widely as previous Ghibli movies, playing to 23 venues across the nation and making an unremarkable £23,300.[citation needed] Reviews were generally mixed. Radio Times suggested that it "lacks the technical sheen and warm sentimentality of some of Ghibli's earlier films"., while the Daily Mirror called it "ploddy, excruciatingly slow" and not in the same league as the work of Hayao Miyazaki. However Empire magazine said it was "well worth watching" whilst The Guardian called it "An engaging piece of work" The movie at year's end in Japan was awarded "Worst Movie" in Bunshun's Raspberry Awards, which presided over by a panel of 32 movie critics. Goro Miyazaki also won the "Worst Director" award.

Non-Japanese releases[]

Earthsea Release

A display of the film's DVD release in Japan.

Licensing problems are in the way of a North American release of Ged Senki, with the Sci-Fi Channel, which released the miniseries Legend of Earthsea in 2004, currently holding the rights to the property. Under the current situation, the film cannot be released earlier than 2009, when the miniseries is called off, in which case Sci-Fi's rights expire.

The film was released in selected UK cinemas on August 3, 2007, in both subtitled and English dubbed versions. DVD distributor Optimum Releasing released an English dubbed and subtitled, region 2 DVD for the UK market on January 28, 2008. To mark the release, HMV ran frequent sponsor credits for the DVD, as well as a prize competition, on the AnimeCentral channel.

In Australia, Tales from Earthsea premiered in Brisbane on April 15, 2007. The film began a single print tour of major cities on April 25, 2007, currently scheduled to play at locations in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth over the coming months. A 2 disc DVD was released on September 12, 2007, by Madman Entertainment.

In Spain, Tales from Earthsea (Cuentos de Terramar) premiered only in Madrid and Barcelona in 2 small theatres on December 28, 2007, only in Japanese version with subtitles (An odd Theatrical release compared to previous Ghibli movies). A Single DVD and a Special 2 disc DVD are to be released on March 12, 2008, by Aurum, this time with Spanish track included.

Voice Cast[]

Character Original English
Arren Junichi Okada Matt Levin
Therru Aoi Teshima Blaire Restaneo
Ged Bunta Sugawara Timothy Dalton
Cob Yūko Tanaka Willem Dafoe
Hare Teruyuki Kagawa Cheech Marin
Tenar Jun Fubuki Mariska Hargitay
Hazia Dealer Takashi Naito Jess Harnell
Cloak Vendor Mitsuko Baisho Kat Cressida
Queen Yui Natsukawa Susanne Blakeslee
King of Enlad Kaoru Kobayashi Brian George

Additional Voices[]


Credit Staff
Director, Storyboard Goro Miyazaki
Screenplay Goro Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa
Character Design Akihiko Yamashita
Art Director Yôji Takeshige
Digital Paint Akane Kumakura, Akiko Shimizu (T2 Studio), Ayumi Inoue (T2 Studio), Fumie Kawamata (T2 Studio), Haruna Kiryu (T2 Studio), Hiroaki Ishii, Hiromi Takahashi, Kanako Takahashi (T2 Studio), Kasumi Wada (T2 Studio), Kiyoko Saitou, Kumi Nanjo (T2 Studio), Naomi Mori, Rie Kurihara (T2 Studio), Ryou Sugino, Youko Fujioka, Yukiko Kakita (T2 Studio)
Key Animation Atsuko Tanaka, Atsushi Shigeta, Atsushi Tamura, Dong Joon Kim, Eiji Yamamori, Fumie Konno, Gil Yong Jang, Hideaki Yoshio, Hideki Hamasu, Hiroomi Yamakawa, Hiroyuki Morita, Kazuchika Kise, Kazuyoshi Onoda, Keishi Hashimoto, Kenichi Konishi, Kenichi Yamada, Kenji Hachizaki, Koji Sugiura, Makiko Suzuki, Mariko Matsuo, Masafumi Yokota, Masako Sato, Masashi Okumura, Megumi Kagawa, Minoru Ohashi, Miwa Sasaki, Nobuyuki Takeuchi, Shigeru Fujita, Shinji Hashimoto, Shinji Ôtsuka, Shougo Furuya, Shunsuke Hirota, Takeshi Honda, Tetsuya Nishio, Toshihiko Masuda, Yoshihiro Ōsugi, Yoshiyuki Momose
In-between Animation Ai Mochida, Akiko Teshima, Alexandra Weihrauch, Asami Ishikado, Ayumi Tsukamoto, Azumi Kuniyoshi, Bok Simm Kim, Chiaki Nakajima, Emiko Iwayanagi, Eun Soon Byeon, Eun-Kyung Lee, Heo Young Mi, Hiromi Nakagawa, Hisako Yaji, Hitomi Odashima, Hong Yi Min, Houko Sakano, Hye-Soon Byun, kuyo Kondou, Ji Eun Kim, Jung-Hee Kim, Kana Onodera, Kaori Itou, Katsutoshi Nakamura, Kazue Yoshida, Keiko Tomisawa, Keiko Watanabe, Keisuke Watanabe, Kenji Terao, Kiyoko Makita, Kumiko Ohta,Kumiko Ohtani, Kumiko Tanihira, Kumiko Terada, Kunitoshi Ishii, Kyung Suk Park, Lee Hyun Mi, Mai Nakasato, Maiko Matsumura, Maiko Nogami, Makoto Oohara, Mariko Kubo, Mariko Suzuki, Masakiyo Koyama, Masami Nakanishi, Masaya Saito, Maya Fujimori, Mayumi Ohmura, Megumi Higaki, Megumi Matsumoto, Mi Kyoung Yoon, Mi Ok Lee, Min Kyung Kim, Mitsutomo Kane, Moyo Takahashi, Naoko Shige, Nobuyuki Mitani, Nozomi Goto, Reiko Sakai, Rie Fukui, Rie Kondo, Rie Yamamoto, Rieko Sugawara, Risa Suzuki, Ritsuko Shiina, Ryouji Masuyama, Ryun Hee Jung, Seiko Higashi, Setsuya Tanabe, Seung Heui Hong, Shinichiro Yamada, Shouko Nishigaki, Shuko Sasagawa, Sonoo Akagi, Sumie Nishido, Takahiko Abiru, Takahito Sugawara, Taketo Kudou, Tomoko Kanetani, Tomoko Miura, Tomoko Miyata, Tomoko Nakajima, Tomoko Sugano, Tomoyuki Kojima, Tsutomu Shibuya, Woo Youn Lee, Yasuko Ohtomo, Yasuo Muroi, Yasuyuki Kitazawa, Yayoi Toki, Yohei Nakano, Yoshitake Iwakami, Youko Motoya, Yu Kyong Jeong, Yukari Umebayashi, Yukari Yamaura, Yukie Kaneko, Yukihiro Miyaji, Yukiko Satou, Yuko Watanabe, Yun Hee Jo, Yuuhei Ueda, Yuuji Takano, Yuuko Higashi
Background Art Akane Iwaguma, Chung Hyeon Ryu, Geum Yeong Ra, Hiromasa Ogura, Hyo Soon Ko, Hyun Soo Kim, Jun Ho Lee, Jung Eum Park, Junko Ina, Kazuo Oga, Kazuyo Izawa, Kikuyo Yano, Kiyomi Oota, Kyung Suk Park, Masako Nagata, Mitsuo Yoshino, Naomi Kasugai, Noboru Yoshida, Noriko Wada, Osamu Masuyama, Park Young, Ryoko Ina, Sayaka Hirahara, Shiho Sato, Soon Nyu Heo, Takashi Omori, Toshiharu Mizutani, Yohei Takamatsu, Yoshikazu Fukutome, Youichi Nishikawa, Youichi Watanabe
Animation Director Takeshi Inamura
Animation Check Hitomi Tateno, Kaori Fujii (assistant), Rie Nakagome
Producer Toshio Suzuki
Music Tamiya Terashima
Production Studio Ghibli

Goro's Diaries[]

Ushiko Cat Meow

Goro's photo of Shachi-ga (シャチが) or "Orca" the cat during the last weeks of production.[14]

Goro credited Shinichi Takai for helping design and operate his Director's Diary and Production diary. Takai also designed the official Studio Ghibli website. His entry dated June 28, 2006, stated the following: "Without Mr. Takai's deep knowledge and skills regarding the Internet, Studio Ghibli would not have been able to operate the site in this way.

We would also like to thank all the staff of Forecast Communications who have set up the server of this site. In particular, Yuko Dozono, who was in charge of the operation of the mobile site, gave us valuable opinions and impressions every day in addition to the quick update. Without Mr. Dozono's advice, a reckless "daily update" would not have been possible.

And thank you to the staff and the cat Ushiko who provided various stories as he wandered around the production site.

Studio Ghibli Official Website and Director's Diary will continue to be serialized. Please continue to look forward to the "live voice" of Director Goro and producer Suzuki, who are flying around the country in campaigns from the latest information on Studio Ghibli.

Finally, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those who visited the "Production Diary".[15]

Related Products[]

Home Video[]

  • Tales from Earthsea Blu-ray Disc- Walt Disney Studios Japan (November 16, 2011)
  • Tales from Earthsea Blu-ray/DVD- PBS (March 2, 2021)

Published Works[]

  • To Saihate no Shima-Earthsea III (Iwanami Shoten, August 30, 1977) ISBN 4-00-110686-8
  • Softcover version - Tales from Earthsea III To Saihate no Shima (April 7, 2006) ISBN 4-00-028073-2
  • The Secret of Tales from Earthsea - How to Walk Earthsea (Bunkasha, July 20, 2006) ISBN 4-8211-0912-3
  • Riding the Wind of Earthsea - Complete Guide to the Movie "Tales from Earthsea" (Kadokawa Shoten, July 29, 2006) ISBN 4-04-853990-6
  • Tales from Earthsea (Studio Ghibli Storyboard Complete Works 15) (Tokuma Shoten, July 31, 2006) ISBN 4-19-862190-X
  • Our Favorite Tales from Earthsea (Takarajimasha, August 13, 2006) ISBN 4-7966-5384-8
  • Tales from Earthsea (This Is Animation) (Shogakukan, August 20, 2006) ISBN 4-09-103807-7
  • Tales from Earthsea of the World "Earthsea" for the first time readings (Kindaieigasha, August 25, 2006) ISBN 4-7648-2095-1
  • From the "Eureka Extra Edition No." Total Special Ursula · K ·-le-ins "The Left Hand of Darkness" to "Tales from Earthsea" ( Seidosha, August 25, 2006) ISBN 4-7917-0150-X
  • Ged Senki Poetry Collection (Goro Miyazaki / Poetry / Painting) (Studio Ghibli, August 31, 2006) ISBN 4-19-862201-9
  • Tales from Earthsea (Tokuma Anime Picture Book) ( Tokuma Shoten, August 31, 2006) ISBN 4-19-862202-7
  • THE ART OF TALES from EARTHSEA Tales from Earthsea (Studio Ghibli Responsible Editor, Tokuma Shoten, September 1, 2006) ISBN 4-19-810011-X
  • Tales from Earthsea TALES from EARTHSEA (Tokuma Shoten <Roman Album>, September 1, 2006) ISBN 4-19-720248-2
  • Tales from Earthsea- Film Comic (1) (Tokuma Shoten, September 1, 2006) ISBN 4-19-770133-0
  • Tales from Earthsea- Film Comic (2) (September 15, 2006) ISBN 4-19-770134-9
  • Tales from Earthsea- Film Comic (3) (October 15, 2006) ISBN 4-19-770135-7
  • Tales from Earthsea- Film Comic (4) (October 20, 2006) ISBN 4-19-770136-5
  • Works of Earthsea Digital Artwork | STUDIO GHIBLI ( Be NTT NTT Shinsha, September 10, 2007) ISBN 4-86100-513-2
  • Tales from Earthsea- Ghibli Textbook (14) (Studio Ghibli Edition, Bungei Shunju <Bungei Shunju Bunko>, April 2017) ISBN 4-16-812014-7


  • Gedo Senki Soundtrack SACD HYBRID (Stereo / Multi-ch) Tokuma Japan Communications (July 12, 2006) TKGA-503
  • Studio Ghibli Produce "Gedo Senki Kashu" (Aoi Teshima) Yamaha Music Communications (July 12, 2006) YCCW-10028
  • Tales from Earthsea Piano Plus (Tamiya Terashima) Tokuma Japan Communications (November 29, 2006) TKCA-73148


External Links[]

Official Sites