Tales From Earthsea (Gedo Senki) is an animated full-length feature film that was released by the popular Studio Ghibli in 2006. It is loosely based on the third book in the Earthsea trilogy, a popular set of novels all based in the same fictional world. Tales From Earthsea was highly anticipated when it was released in Japan in 2006, and fans of the popular series were very excited that Studio Ghibli, an anime production studio with an impeccable background, was going to be in charge of the movie.
The Earthsea books were written by Ursula K. Le Guin in 1964. The phenomenon started out as a fictional short story called “The World of Unbinding”, and was really noticed in Le Guins’ novel, The Wizard of Earthsea. There are a total of six books set in the Earthsea world.
Each of these books contains a variety of short stories, all set in the fictional world of Earthsea, and all bound together by common bonds.
Earthsea is a mystical world, where magic and strange creatures dwell. There is a school for learning magic in Earthsea that is set on Roake Island. It is here that all magical hopefuls come in order to learn how to ply their trade successfully. Any who do magic are taught that they should be in harmony with the world, but some ignore the advice and use magic for their own gains. Villians abound in Earthsea, and it seems that there is constantly someone that is trying to take over the world.
Gorō Miyazaki, son of Hayao Miyazaki, a famous director under Studio Ghibli, consistently went to Le Guin asking for her permission to create a film about the popular books. For a long time, Le Guin refused. Finally Le Guin decided that it was time to have an animated movie made about Earthsea, and agreed to let Gorō Miyazaki, an inexperienced director, make the movie. He decided to base it on the third novel in the Earthsea series, called Tales from Earthsea.
Tales from Earthsea focuses on Gedo Senki. In the beginning of the movie, Arren, a 17 year old Prince of Earthsea, kills his father, the King, and takes his sword, an object of power. Arren then leaves his palace. It is Gedo that finds him, traveling under the name of Haitaka, when he is involved in a live and death battle with a pack of wolves. Ged takes care of the wolves and eventually is able to calm Arren down.
They travel together to a city where they see a young girl who is trying to escape soldiers that are holding her hostage. It is Arren that saves her, and she turns her anger onto him. Therru is the young girl’s name, and she is extremely strong willed, which is why she is so hostile to Arren. She later comes to trust Arren, and eventually becomes very loyal to him.
If you are a fan of the Earthsea series, then watching Tales from Earthsea is a must. Even people who have not read the stories find themselves sucked into the world of magic and dragons.