Tales from Earthsea (film)

Tales from Earthsea (film)

Infobox Film
name = Tales from Earthsea

director = Gorō Miyazaki
producer = Toshio Suzuki
Tomohiko Ishii
writer = Ursula K. Le Guin (novel)
Gorō Miyazaki
Keiko Niwa
starring = Bunta Sugawara
Junichi Okada
Aoi Teshima
Jun Fubuki
Yuko Tanaka
Mitsuko Baisho
Kaoru Kobayashi
Yui Natsukawa
Teruyuki Kagawa
distributor = Studio Ghibli (Japan)
Toho (Japan)
Optimum Releasing (United Kingdom)
Madman Entertainment (Australia)
Walt Disney Pictures (U.S.)
released =flagicon|Japan July 29, 2006
flagicon|South Korea August 10, 2006
flagicon|Hong Kong October 26 2006
flagicon|Spain 2006
flagicon|France April 11 2007 flagicon|Italy April 20, 2007
flagicon|Australia April 25, 2007
flagicon|Belgium May 16, 2007
flagicon|Poland May 18, 2007
flagicon|Netherlands August 2, 2007
flagicon|United Kingdom August 3, 2007
flagicon|Finland September 28, 2007
flagicon|Denmark January 1, 2008
flagicon|Sweden January 4, 2008
flagicon|United States 2009
runtime = 116 min.
language = Japanese
amg_id = 1:357710
imdb_id = 0495596
music = Tamiya Terashima
awards =
budget =
nihongo|" Tales from Earthsea"|ゲド戦記|Gedo Senki|extra=loosely "Ged's War Chronicles" is a feature anime film from Studio Ghibli, released in Japan on July 29, 2006cite web
title=Studio Ghibli website (release date)
] , and in the rest of the world soon afterwards. It was the first film directed by Gorō Miyazaki, son of Hayao Miyazaki.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", by Ursula K. Le Guin. A manga adaption of the film has been published in Japan.


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, one of which is eventually killed.

Shortly thereafter the King, 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 his son, Prince Arren. 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 killed in a dark corridor by a young lad, who turns out to be his son Arren. The prince steals his father's sword and flees the palace.

The action now moves to a desert where Arren is pursued by wolves, and rescued (despite refusing to defend himself) by a wizard who turns out to be Sparrowhawk the Archmage. Arren accompanies Sparrowhawk and travels to the town of Hort. Arren goes to explore the town alone, suddenly becoming scared as if something is following him. As Arren runs away, he sees a young girl, Therru, fleeing from slave hunters from whom he then saves her.

Later in the evening Arren is captured by the slave hunter but loses his sword as the hunter believes it to be worthless junk as it does not even unsheathe (we later discover that this is due to its magical nature). Arren is rescued by Sparrowhawk from the slavers, and they travel to a farm where Therru is looked after by a woman, Tenar, whom Sparrowhawk knows.

The head slaver ("Hair") reports back into a castle to Lord Cob, and almost pays with his life for the loss, until he tells Cob that Sparrowhawk freed the slaves. Lord Cob orders him to bring Sparrowhawk to the castle. Sparrowhawk at the farm reveals that he is investigating the cause of the Balance being upset and leaves for the town of Hort in which he discovers the sword that Arren had is in a merchant shop. Sparrowhawk is then encountered by Hare but he transforms his face to disguise himself. When the slave hunter leaves, he buys the sword.

Arren at the retreat gets scared of the unknown presence following him, and reveals to Therru that he killed his father. Later he leaves in secret. Tenar is captured by the slave hunter as a bait to lure Sparrowhawk into the castle and leaves Therru behind tied to a post as a messenger. Arren is again pursued by the unknown presence and runs away, falling into a lake. Lord Cob who sees this saves him, but manipulates him, saying that Sparrowhawk wants to use Arren to discover the secret of eternal life. Cob persuades Arren to reveal his true name, Lebannen, in order to control him. Sparrowhawk, on the way back to the farm, gives the sword to Therru and tells her to stay and give it to Arren if he returns. He goes to the castle to save Tenar but finds Arren who tries to kill him, but fails. Sparrowhawk is captured as his power is weakened within the stronghold of Cob's castle.

Therru sees a copy of Arren and follows him to the castle, where he reveals he is the light of Arren. He tells Therru his true name, but 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. The sword that Arren possesses unsheaths and he cuts off Lord Cob's hand, which flies away still holding his staff, rendering him unable to use magic. Cob becomes old due to the magic cast on himself. Cob captures Therru and kills her. However, she does not die but becomes a dragon, thus killing Cob and rescuing Arren from the collapsing tower that Cob destroyed to prevent Arren advancing.

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


This feature film from Studio Ghibli is the first anime film adaptation of any part of the Earthsea series. In the past, numerous directors have attempted to adapt the Earthsea cycle for film only to be refused by the author herself. [cite web |url=http://anime.goo.ne.jp/contents/news/NAS120051214001/ |title=ジブリ新作は「ゲド戦記」!宮崎駿氏の長男・吾朗氏が初監督 (The Next Film from Ghibli is "Ged's War Chronicles": Son of Hayao Miyazaki, Gorō to Direct for the First Time) |accessdate=2006-10-08 |author=Sankei Sports|date=14 |year=2005 |month=12 |publisher=goo Anime|language=Japanese] Hayao Miyazaki had desired to create an anime version of the cycle, before he made "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind."cite web
title=Article about the anime by Shuffle Alliance, a Taiwan anime club
] In 2003, after winning an Oscar for his film "Spirited Away", he received approval but was busy directing "Howl's Moving Castle". On behalf of Studio Ghibli, his son Gorō Miyazaki took charge of this film adaptation.


*Producer: Toshio Suzuki
*Assistant Producer: Tomohiko Ishii
*Original Story: "The Farthest Shore" by Ursula K. Le Guin
*Screenplay: Goro Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa
*Storyboard: Goro Miyazaki
*Music: Tamiya Terashima
*Art director: Youji Takeshige
*Animation director: Takeshi Inamura
*Assistant director: Akihiko Yamashita
*Color Design: Michiyo Yasuda
*Image Director: Atsushi Okui
*Theme Song Composition: Akino Arai and Hisaaki Hogari
*Theme Song Lyrics: Akino Arai and Goro Miyazaki
*Theme Song Performance: Aoi Teshima
*Animation Production: Studio Ghibli
*Director: Goro Miyazaki
*Distribution: Toho
*Produced in cooperation with Tokuma Shoten, Studio Ghibli, NTV, Disney, Hakuhodo, Dentsu, d-rights and Toho

Voice cast

The movie stars the following actors:
*Ged: Bunta Sugawara
*Prince Arren: Okada Junichi
*Therru/Tehanu: Aoi Teshima
*Tenar: Jun Fubuki
*King: Kaoru Kobayashi
*Queen: Yui Natsukawa
*Cob: Yuko Tanaka
*Hare: Teruyuki Kagawa
*Vendor: Mitsuko Baisho

The voice cast for the English-dubbed version includes:

*Sparrowhawk (aka Ged) - Timothy Dalton
*Cob - Willem Dafoe
*Arren - Matt Levin
*Hare - Cheech Marin
*Tenar - Mariska Hargitay
*Therru - Blaire Restaneo


*The three-minute Japanese trailer was first shown in Japanese cinemas starting Saturday 24 February 2006. It was aired on NTV on 23 February 2006 (the day the trailer was completed.cite web
title=Translation of Gorō Miyazaki's Blog (page 23)
] )
*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."cite web
title=Translation of Gorō Miyazaki's Blog (page 32)

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


The Earthsea soundtrack 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 is TKGA-503 and ASIN is 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 2 of the tracks. A followup album, "Melodies from Ged Senki", was released in 17 January 2007 and included unreleased Ged Senki OST tracks as well as new tunes by Núñez. Its release code is SICP-1151 and its ASIN is B000HT1ZLW. [Ghibliworld, [http://pages.citebite.com/x1f1q8t3f0kkj MEMORIES FROM GEDO SENKI WITH CARLOS NUNEZ] , 19 December 2006] [ja icon Studio Ghibli, [http://www.ghibli.jp/10info/003503.html カルロス・ヌニェスのニューアルバムの発売決定!] , 11 December 2006]

Reaction and box office

The film reached No.1 at the Japanese Box Office on its opening week with a gross of over 900 million yen, or approximately 7.7 million USD, [ [http://www.madman.com.au/actions/news.do?method=view&newsId=712 Tales from Earthsea Tops Japanese Box Office] ] pushing "" to second place and became the number one movie in the country for five weeks, [ [http://eiga.com/ranking/060815.shtml#jp Ranking at Eiga.com from 2006-08-15] ja icon] until it was pushed out of the top spot when was released. [ [http://www.cinemanavi.co.jp/english/end3.html Box Office Japan's Weekly Statistics] ] The movie went on to be the #4 top grossing movie for the year in Japan.

Ursula K. Le Guin, the author of the Earthsea Series, gave a mixed response to the film in her review on her website. Le Guin 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."cite web |url=http://www.ursulakleguin.com/GedoSenkiResponse.html |title=Gedo Senki, a First Response |accessdate=2006-08-15 |author=Ursula K. Le Guin |authorlink=Ursula K. Le Guin |date= |work=UrsulaKLeguin.com |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] However, she was unhappy that the comment was disclosed on the movie's public blog.

Le Guin'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 Le Guin'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."cite web |url=http://www.ursulakleguin.com/GedoSenkiCorrespondents.html |title=Gedo Senki: Responses from Correspondents |accessdate= |author=Ursula K. Le Guin |authorlink=Ursula K. Le Guin |date=2006-08-19 |work=UrsulaKLeguin.com |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]

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.Fact|date=August 2007 Reviews were generally mixed. Radio Times suggested that it "lacks the technical sheen and warm sentimentality of some of Ghibli's earlier films".cite web
title=Radio Times Film Review: Tales from Earthsea
] , while the Daily Mirror called it "ploddy, excruciatingly slow" and not in the same league as the work of Hayao Miyazaki.cite web
title=Daily Mirror: Tales from Earthsea
] However Empire magazine said it was "well worth watching"cite web|url=http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=135109|title=Tales From Earthsea Empire Review|author=Helen O'Hara|accessdate=2008-02-15] whilst The Guardian called it "An engaging piece of work"cite web|url=http://film.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/Critic_Review/Guardian_review/0,,2140268,00.html|title=Tales from Earthsea - guardian review|author=Peter Bradshaw|date=2007-08-03|accessdate=2008-02-15] 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. [ [http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2007-01-25/earthsea-wins-rasperry-award Earthsea Wins "Raspberry Award" - Anime News Network ] ] [ [http://anime.ign.com/articles/842/842865p3.html IGN: 2007 Year in Review: Anime ] ]

Non-Japanese releases

Licensing problems are in the way of a North American release of "Gedo 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 taken off the air, in which case Sci-Fi's rights expire. [http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2006-10-17/gedo-senki-us-release-in-jeopardy Gedo Senki US Release in Jeopardy] ]

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. [ [http://www.play.com/DVD/DVD/4-/3296335/Tales-From-Earthsea/Product.html Play.com (UK) : Tales From Earthsea (Studio Ghibli Collection) (2 Discs) : DVD - Free Delivery ] ] . To mark the release, HMV ran frequent sponsor credits for the DVD, as well as a prize competition, on the AnimeCentral channel. [ [http://www.animecentral.com/forums/tm.aspx?m=42635 HMV Sponsorship ] ]

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. [ [http://b2b.madman.com.au/actions/catalogue.do?method=view&releaseId=8090 Madman Release Schedule] ]

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 were released on March 12, 2008 by Aurum, this time with Spanish track included.


External links

* [http://www.ghibli.jp/ged/ Ged Senki official website]
* [http://www.talesfromearthsea.com.au/ Madman Entertainment official website]
* [http://www.ghibliworld.com/gedosenkiatviff2006.html/ Ged Senki at VIFF 2006: a review and interview with Goro Miyazaki]
*bcdb title|id=86860|title=Gedo Senki
*movietome|id=146549|title=Gedo Senki - Tales from Earthsea
*imdb title|id=0495596|title=Gedo Senki
* [http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/earthsea/ Ged Senki] information at Nausicaa.net
*Gorō Miyazaki's [http://www.ghibli.jp/ged_02/20director/ Director's Blog] ja icon
*Translation of Gorō Miyazaki's [http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/earthsea/blog/ Director's Blog]
* [http://rose-rote.hp.infoseek.co.jp/miya/gedo/interview01e-1.htm Translation of an Interview] with producer Toshio Suzuki
* [http://www.ursulakleguin.com/GedoSenkiSynopsis.html Film synopsis] at Ursula K. Le Guin's website
* [http://www.earthsea.com.hk/ Official Hong Kong movie website]
* [http://www.world-art.ru/animation/animation_trailers.php?id=5513 Russian Official Trailer]

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