'Spirited Away' helmer primes first feature in five years

TOKYO

Japanese animation helmer Hayao Miyazaki is set to release his first toon feature since 2008 smash “Ponyo.”

Toho — the No. 1 distrib in the Japanese biz — will release “Kaze tachinu,” whose literal translation is “The Wind Has Risen,” next summer.

It will focus on the life of Jiro Horikoshi, who designed the Zero fighter planes used in WWII, based on a comic Miyazaki created for the “Gekkan Model Graphics” magazine and Tatsuo Hori’s eponymous novel.

Miyazaki films include “Howl’s Moving Castle” (2004) and 2001′s “Spirited Away,” which is the biggest Japanese B.O. hit of all time.

Toho will also release a second toon from Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli next year. Based on a folk tale, “Kaguya hime no monogatari” (The Story of Princess Kaguya) is studio co-founder Isao Takahata’s first feature since “My Neighbors the Yamadas” came out 14 years ago.

The two toons will be released on the same day to “excite the fans,” according to Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki. Toho has not specified a date.

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