Whether it’s a surprising new development or a visual treat, the Studio Ghibli never fails to grab our attention. This past week, the anime giant took a big step toward live-action with two distinctly different projects.

First, we got an eyeful of Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo (Kyoshinhei Tokyo ni Arawaru ), a live-action short film from Studio Ghibli director Higuchi Shinji, who worked on the Neon Genesis Evangelion series.  The work – which features the terrifying Kyoshinhei from Hayao Miyazaki’s 1984 film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind – is included on the recently released Evangelion 3.33 Blu Ray and DVD. The chilling footage is a testament to the beautiful, haunting imagery of which the studio is capable – in just under nine minutes, Tokyo is annihilated by the monstrous god warrior, who’s depicted as part Godzilla, part literal war machine. The intensely meaningful imagery – which includes the city’s destroyer silhouetted against a mushroom cloud – should haunt your dreams for at least a week. See video below:

On a less nightmarish note, Twitch provided an update on the live-action version of Miyazaki’s 1989 animated feature Kiki’s Delivery Service. Earlier this month, rumors circulated that Japanese horror director Takashi Shimizu was in talks to helm the film, and now it’s confirmed that he’s officially on board.

Based on a novel by Eiko Kadono, Kiki’s Delivery Service tells the enchanting story of a young broom-riding witch who spends a year trying to make it on her own by working as an air courier. The sweet kiddie flick is a strange choice for Shimizu, whose previous work includes such creepy hits as Ju-0n and its American remake, The Grudge. And he’s not the only one entering unfamiliar territory – it was also confirmed that sixteen-year-old figure skater Koshiba Fuka was cast as the lead, marking her first time ever appearing in a film. Hiring an inexperienced actress adds another interesting element to the mix, so we’re intrigued to see how this film will turn out.

As a bonus, we also got hold of some images for Miyazaki’s latest endeavor, The Wind Rises. The film focuses on the life of Jiro Horikoshi, who designed the fighter planes used to carry out the attack on Pearl Harbor. The feature is one of two anticipated releases from Studio Ghibli, along with director Isao Takahata‘s folktale-based The Tale Of The Bamboo Cutter. Though not of the best quality, the images are a satisfying follow-up to the posters we revealed last December. See images, courtesy of Yaraon, below:

Update: See high-resolution versions of the below posters here.

The Wind Rises opens this summer, while The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is set for a fall release. 

What do you think of Studio Ghibli’s move into live-action? The first look at 

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