Beloved anime studio Studio Ghibli and its legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki are welcoming the new year with commemorative illustrations of the year’s zodiac animals.
2022 is the year of the tiger in the Japanese calendar. Borrowed from the Chinese zodiac, the tiger is the third zodiac animal, or “eto,” in Japan. As there are twelve animals in the zodiac, the last year of the tiger was in 2010.
The official Studio Ghibli Twitter account shared Miyazaki’s illustration online. His tiger takes on the decidedly unthreatening form of a more docile, large cat with round ears and whiskers. “We look forward to working with you this year,” the studio said in its post.
The account also shared candid photos of Miyazaki illustrating the tiger alongside his long-time collaborator Toshio Suzuki. The animator is lost in concentration and smiling for the camera in the collection of photos.
Suzuki, who co-founded Studio Ghibli, also made a zodiac-themed illustration. The post reads: “This is Tora-chan drawn by Mr. Suzuki.” Tora is the Japanese romanization of ”tiger.”
2022 will be a big year for Studio Ghibli and for Miyazaki especially. Recently, the director broke his years-long silence with the English press to talk about his next and likely final film, How To Live. Based on the 1937 novel of the same name by Yoshino Genzaburō, the film has been in production since 2016.
How To Live also marks the second time Miyazaki has left retirement to direct a film. The first time, the director cemented his place in the hearts of anime fans worldwide by making Spirited Away.