Sensei's Anime Gallery
Pippi Longstocking 1 (Miyazaki/Takahata, 1971): Image Boards and Test Cels

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The celebrated anime artist/director Hayao Miyazaki began his career in 1963 working for Toei Animation, where he established a close working relationship with fellow animator Isao Takahata. In 1971, the two left Toei to freelance for other studios. They began their independent career by proposing an anime series based on the Pippi Longstocking [Pippi Långstrump] books by the Swedish children’s writer Astrid Lindgren. They titled the project Nagakutsushita no Pippi, Sekai ichi tsuyoi onna no ko, or “Pippi of the Long Socks, Strongest Girl In The World."

The animators traveled to Sweden to visit Visby, the original setting of the tale, and Miyazaki made a large number of preliminary sketches in pencil with watercolor accents. During the trip, the two artists tried to meet with Lindgren to gain her support. In the end, however, permission was not granted, and the project was abandoned. In 1983 Miyazaki published a selection of his preliminary drawings and watercolors for Pippi in the art book Hayao Miyazaki Image Board (Kodansha). In 2014 a softcover book appeared that collected a wider range of the art generated for this project. It was titled Maboroshi no "Chou Kutsushita no Pippi" or, roughly, "The 'Pippi Longstocking' that never came to be." (Maboroshi literally means a mirage or illusion, something that one can see from a distance, but can never ever actually approach.)

This gallery and its partner are based on photographic records of the Pippi project: twenty-four color prints, and seven view-camera color slides. They are vintage items, noticeably darkened by age, so they may well date from 1971. They may have been taken as safety images, or perhaps circulated among potential backers to show them how the proposed anime would look. In any case, they give a fuller glimpse of the vision Miyazaki had for the Pippi project before it was abandoned.

For more about these photos and transparencies, their historical context, and what they reveal about the original setups, click here!

 Pippi carrying her horse into Villa Villekulla: sketch

 Pippi carrying her horse into Villa Villekulla: test cel

 Pippi Changes Her Horse’s Shoe.

 Pippi Awakens

 Pippi washing up

 Pippi Braiding her Hair

 Pippi dangling out of a window: test cel

 Pippi and the Frog 1: Test cel

 Pippi and the Frog 2: sketch

 Pippi in the chimney: test cel

 Ouch! Pippi and the candle: test cel

 Pippi blows out the candle

 Pippi on the swing

 Pippi and the Settergrens

Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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Presentation 8.82/10   Collection 9.47/10   Overall 9.03/10   Votes 84 votes
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