December 15, 2009 — We celebrate thirty years since Hayao Miyazaki made his animated feature debut The Castle Of Cagliostro, with our new contributor Raz Greenberg!

After previously contributing a review of The Astro Boy Essays to Animated Views last year, we’re delighted to welcome Raz Greenberg to our motley crew. A writer and lecturer on animation, we can be sure that Raz will bring a fresh and unique look back on some of animation history’s greats, and without missing a beat his first piece is ready for you right now!

Released thirty years ago, Lupin III: The Castle Of Cagliostro announced Hayao Miyazaki’s feature animation debut and at the time was a great departure from the stronghold that Disney had on the market. Where their then-contemporary releases included The Rescuers, Pete’s Dragon and The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh, Miyazaki’s Cagliostro was a straight action adventure epic – in animation since it would have been prohibitively expensive to film in live action (and most probably beyond the ability of all but a few directors…it isn’t for nothing that Steven Spielberg calls it “one of the greatest adventure movies of all time”).

I was able to see Cagliostro fairly recently, and even though I have often professed that Japanese animation is a tough nut for me to crack personally, I did enjoy the flippant attitude of its hero and the general caper movie tone of the film. In his first piece for us, Raz certainly takes a microscope to the production and Miyazaki himself, and makes for excellent reading on this, the very anniversary to the day that the acclaimed director initially made his mark on the big screen.

Stay tooned! — Ben.