A couple of quick news updates for you: this Sunday (May 3rd) sees the annual Sci-Fi London Film Festival’s annual Anime All Nighter swing into action – highlights this year being a showing of the controversial Ghost in the Shell 2.0, and – most interestingly – a very rare screening of a little film from 1972 called Panda! Go, Panda!

And why is that interesting? Well, the film was written by Hayao Miyazaki, and directed by Isao Takahata – over a decade before the two friends would go on to create the legendary Studio Ghibli. It was made at the height of ‘Panda madness’ in Japan, when China had started lending the cuddly beasts to Japanese zoos so they could assist in breeding programs. The film is a real treat for Ghibli fans though, as both the pandas themselves and the films little red-haired protagonist were clearly the inspiration for Miyazaki’s subsequent character designs for the Totoros and Mei. If you’re in London and free on Sunday then get yourself down there – but hurry up and book some tickets, as they look like they’re selling out fast.

While we’re talking about the greatest animation studio in the world – I must remind you all to check out Daniel Thomas’ ever brilliant Ghibli Blog – Conversations on Ghibli. He’s been digging out some real treats recently – most notably this mind-blowing piece on a never-to-be-released home brew Porco Rosso game for the Nintendo DS. Looks amazing but will never see the light of day due to, amongst a million licensing problems, Miyazaki’s dislike of video games based on his creations. Never the less: do want.

Keep up the good work Dan.