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Miyazaki Teams with CG Animator Yuhei Sakuragi on 'Boro The Caterpillar'.

One of the most surprising news stories of this year was that the legendary Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli was working on a CGI short. Sure, we knew his retirement from features wasn't going to stop him making shorts- he'd already said as much- but a computer animated work from one of the finest proponents of 2D animation was still somewhat unexpected.

Japanese CG animator Yuhei Sakuragi, who's previous works include producing CG animation for 009 Re:Cyborg and Tiger and Bunny has revealed that he is working with the master on the project. The 10 minute short entitled Boro The Caterpillar will centre on the titular insect larva, and is expected to screen exclusively at the Ghibli Museum. The character goes back a long way- in fact, Miyazaki intended to turn this story into a feature back in the 90's, before ultimately making Princess Mononoke instead.

Sakuragi revealed that animation firm Steven N' Steven (who primarily work in advertising) were collaborating with Ghibli on the project.  Sakuragi recently produced a short in the Animator Expo series Neon Genesis Impacts at the studio. It was during a broadcast to promote this short that he made the announcement of his involvement.

It's certainly interesting that as he experiments in a new medium for the first time, Miyazaki is choosing to collaborate with somebody with experience with the technique, Even a film-maker who is as successful and accomplished as Miyazaki is still willing to push himself and learn something new- and that's hugely inspiring.

We can only hope that one day Ghibli relents and allows us to buy a collection the Museum shorts on Blu-ray. Because for most of us, sadly, that's our only chance of seeing the finished result.