Before Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi signed on to direct Godzilla 2016, they partnered for a short film in the same genre under Studio Ghibli.
Acting as a loose prequel to Hayao Miyazaki's Nassicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984), Anno and Higuchi's Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo (2012) gives us a small taste of things to come. The film was made in conjunction with Anno and Higuchi's Tokusatsu Museum Exhibit and has received overwhelmingly high marks from fans and critics.
The film is a proud celebration of the tokusatsu tradition-- using miniatures and puppets to create a stylistic, moody short honoring the best aspects of Japanese visual effects. Additionally, the short paints a cultural metaphor about the country's struggle with uncontrollable forces. Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo debuted a year after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown and echoes the anxiety and futility of that disaster.
Watch the short here:
If the dark atmosphere, attention to detail and callbacks to cultural anxieties in this short are anything to go on, Godzilla 2016 could be one of the series strongest entries. Lets hope Anno and Higuchi bring their A-game. (Judging from their quotes, that's the plan.)
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