Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli launched an official Twitter page to kick off the new year. To mark the beginning of the new year, the account has posted an image hand-drawn by the legendary director himself, Hayao Miyazaki. The drawing shows an ox, crushing a hairy masked creature with its hooves. It is a nod to the Japanese zodiac calendar, with 2021 being the Year of the Ox.
The corresponding message reads, “We would like to extend our sincere greetings to all of you and thank you for always supporting Studio Ghibli. Last year, for Studio Ghibli, we had more opportunities than usual to interact with everyone, through the TV broadcast of Goro Miyazaki’s latest work, Earwig and the Witch, the re-screening of four works including Spirited Away, the free distribution of still images, and full-scale digital distribution worldwide. In a world where we continue to practice self-restraint due to coronavirus, we hope we were able to make you all smile, even if only a little bit.”
The illustration was published alongside an annual new year’s post on the Studio Ghibli website that reads: “Thank you for always supporting Studio Ghibli. The global pandemic of the new coronavirus, which has continued since last year, has yet to show signs of ending…the medical professionals who are devoted to the treatment of infected people are devoted to medical practice regardless of the end of the year or the beginning of the year. [We] would like to express [our] deepest respect and deep gratitude.”
The studio has completed its first-ever CGI film, Earwig and the Witch, overseen by Miyazaki’s son Goro (Tales from Earthsea, From Up on Poppy Hill). Hayao Miyazaki is continuing production on his next, How Do You Live? which will feature the hand-drawn animation style of all the previous Studio Ghibli films.