There was once a city in a valley surrounded by green hills known as Miyazaki. A large city where many people lived and was the home of Princess Nausicaa, the ruler of the country that Miyazaki was situated in known as Ghiblitopia.
On one particular night, a girl was sitting on her bed drawing a sketch of the night sky. The girl’s name was Anna. For the last few months, she had been drawing sketches of the sky at night. There was something that she found intriguing about the way the constellations moved across the sky. What grabbed her attention the most, however, were these four stars encircling the moon. Perhaps it was only her imagination, but it seemed that every night, they moved closer and closer to the moon.
And it was on this particular night when Anna looked up at the sky and noticed that she had somehow drawn four of the stars in the wrong position. She put down her pencil to pick up her rubber and erased the stars. She then picked up her pencil and looked up at the sky, where she saw something odd. She blinked, thinking it was just a trick of the eyes. But then she saw it was no trick.
The four stars that encircled the moon were indeed moving toward the moon and then vanished behind it. Suddenly the moon glowed with a bright flash then bolt of purple smoke flew down from the moon straight toward Anna. As the cloud flew toward her, she saw that in the smoke, there appeared to be a face of a girl. And as the cloud approached the girl in the cloud was laughing her head off.
All of a sudden, Anna found herself lying on her bed, with the sun shining into her eyes. “That dream again,” she picked herself out of bed and ran over to her dresser. Pulling open a drawer, she took out her sketches she had drawn of the sky from the previous nights to compare them and noticed that the stars encircling the moon had indeed been drawing closer to the moon every night.
After a quick breakfast, Anna darted out of her house and quickly ran over to the library. As she was running she saw a girl wave at her, trying to get her attention.
“Morning, Anna,” the girl started talking, “Chihiro is having a party this afternoon…”
“I can’t stop. I need to get to the library,” said Anna, who just ran past the girl.
“That weirdo,” the other girl thought to herself, “she’s more interested in books than people.”
Soon Anna arrived at the library. Finding a book in the Astronomy section that she hoped would answer her questions, she opened it to a page showing the moon and constellations in the night sky.
“Alpha, Beta, Kappa, Echo,” she read out loud, “form the constellation of Deltus.” She flipped through the book and found a page on Deltus. She began reading the page and found something very odd. “Every one thousand years, the stars forming the constellation would align and be eclipsed by the moon,” said Anna, reading the page out loud again, “This phenomenon is referenced in the myth known as “The Woman in The Moon”.”
Anna returned the book to its shelf and eventually found a book of myths in the Mythology section. Opening it up to the contents page, she found it included the story of The Woman in the Moon. So she turned to the page and began reading the story.
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful kingdom ruled by two magic princesses.
One, the elder princess had the power to raise the sun and ruled over the day. The other, the younger princess, had the power to raise the moon and ruled over the night. However, the younger princess was resentful of her older sister, because in the day, everyone played in the sun, while when she ruled in the night, when everyone stayed in bed in their homes.
One night, with her resentment having consumed her, the younger sister refused to lower the moon. Her older sister tried to reason with her, but she was unsuccessful, for the younger sister had become corrupted into an evil princess known as Princess Kurohime and sought only to make the citizens of Ghiblitopia suffer.
At her wit’s end, the older sister was forced to use 5 magical crystals known as the Elements of Harmony, with which she banished the younger sister the Moon, but not before the younger sister swore revenge, saying that she would return on the 1000th anniversary of her banishment when the stars would align with the moon on the longest day of the year.
“The longest day of the year,” thought Anna, “the longest day of the year is the day of the Summer Sun Celebration when Princess Nausicaa raises the sun. And that’s in two days.” Anna then remembered her dream. “Princess Kurohime is going to return on the day of the Summer Sun Celebration. I have to send a warning!”
Returning the book to the shelf, Anna hurried to the post office. As she entered the office, she found that the boy behind the counter was talking to a girl wearing a black dress and a red hair bow. Sitting on the counter was a black cat.
“I won’t be here for the Summer Sun Celebration, I’m going to be in Koriko,” said the girl, “Princess Nausicaa has assigned me to do weather control.”
“I see, well I’ll see you later,” said the boy.
“See you,” said the girl, and turned to leave then spoke to her cat, “come on, Jiji.” The cat hopped onto her shoulder.
“I can’t believe Princess Nausicaa assigned you to weather control,” the cat moaned as he and his mistress walked past Anna and left the post office, “We shouldn’t be working on a holiday!”
The boy behind the counter said to Anna, “Another letter for Princess Nausicaa?”
“A letter will be too slow, I need a telegram,” said Anna, “this is urgent.”
The boy took out a telegraph machine from under the desk. “OK,” he said.
“My dearest Princess Nausicaa, stop,” Anna began, “I have reason to believe that we are on the precipice of disaster, stop.”
“Preci-what?” said the boy.
“Precipice,” said Anna, only to see that the boy was still struggling with trying to spell it out loud, “Brink of disaster.”
“Brink of disaster, stop,” said the boy.
Anna continued, “I have been observing the movement of the constellation Deltus and have been researching the myth of the Woman in The Moon and have come to the conclusion that the Woman in The Moon is Princess Kurohime and she will return tomorrow at the Summer Sun Celebration and bring chaos to Ghiblitopia, stop. Something must be done to avert this and I await your response, stop. Your faithful student, Anna Sasaki, stop.”
The boy finished the message. “That’s the most I’ve heard you say whenever you come here. And you sound like you’re talking about the end of the world,” said the boy.
“If Princess Kurohime returns, it will be the end of the world,” said Anna.
“Princess Kurohime? But she’s just a fairy tale. And also, Princess Nausicaa is going to be busy with the Summer Sun…” However, before the boy could say anymore, there was a loud beeping noise. “A reply already?” said the boy and handed the telegram to Anna.
“She must realise how serious this situation is,” Anna thought. Unfortunately, her mood soon changed when she read the contents of the telegram.
“Dear Anna,” read the telegram (which for the sake of readability will have all the mentions of “stop” removed), “you really must stop worrying over old fairy tales. I have a new assignment for you. You are to be sent to the town of Koriko, where you will assist with the preparations for the Summer Sun Celebrations. You will not need to take the train; you will report to the residence of the Wizard Pendragon tomorrow morning (I will send the directions in a following telegram). Also, make some friends. Your teacher, Princess Nausicaa.”
Later that night, Anna was sitting on her bed again. She tried to draw the night sky again, but she could not help thinking about the Princess’s reply. “Princess Nausicaa has listened to me before,” she thought, “why did she not believe me now. And how could she think I need friends at a time like this?”
All of a sudden, Anna saw that the constellation of Deltus was moving again. “It can’t be,” she thought, “it’s too early.”
All of a sudden, the purple cloud with the face of Princess Kurohime flew straight toward her. “It’s not soon enough!” she cackled.
All of a sudden Anna found herself in her bed. It was morning. “Another nightmare,” she thought.
Later that morning, following the directions on the fax she had been sent, Anna made her way to a shop which had a sign hanging above it that said The Wizard Pendragon. She knocked on the front door. It opened and she was greeted by what appeared to be a very short old man wearing a blue cloak. “Yes,” said the old man.
“Are you the Wizard Pendragon?” Anna asked the man.
“No. I am his apprentice,” said the man, “What can I do for you?”
Anna showed the man the telegram, “I was sent by the princess to help prepare for the Summer Sun Celebration in Koriko,” she explained, “only she sent me here, and I’m nowhere near Koriko.”
The man inspected the telegram. “Oh, I see. Come inside,” said the man, who then re-entered the shop and walked up a flight of steps. Anna stepped inside following the man up the flight of steps, the door closing automatically behind her.
Upon the reaching the top of the stairs, Anna found she was now standing in a small, stone walled kitchen. In one corner was a fireplace with a small glowing fire. In another corner was a table and in the middle of the room was an old woman sleeping in a chair. At the feet of the lady was a shaggy dog, also asleep. Anna then had a surprise when the man took off the hood of his cloak, his grey hair vanished, and it turned out he was in fact a small boy of about 7 years old.
“You can make yourself younger?” Anna asked.
“No, it’s a disguise,” said the boy who then held out his hand, “I’m Markl.”
Anna just stared at his hand. “And you are?” said Markl.
“Anna,” said Anna.
“Pleased to meet you Anna. I’m Howl’s apprentice,” said the boy.
“Howl?” asked Anna.
“The Wizard Pendragon,” said Markl.
“Where is he?” asked Anna.
“Well…he left on a mission a long time ago and he never came back,” he said.
“Hey Markl,” a voice came from the fireplace, “Just give her what she wants and send her on her way. Enough with the chit chat.”
“No Calcifer, she’s the guest who’s staying with us during the Summer Sun Celebration,” said Markl, “Oh I haven’t introduced you yet. This is Calcifer, he’s Howl’s friend.”
“Friend? Ha! I’m a scary fire demon!” said Calcifer, who suddenly enlarge himself in height from the fireplace. Anna could then see what appeared to be a mouth and a pair of eyes. “I’m the one who moves the castle, heats all your water and most importantly burns all your bacon!”
“I’ll explain in a moment. And that’s Granny, and that’s Heen.” Markl pointed at the old lady and the dog.
“Beware of her, she’s the Witch of The Waste!” said Calcifer, who had returned to his normal size.
“Calcifer, you know Granny doesn’t have her powers anymore,” said Markl.
Just then, Granny woke up and stared at Anna. “Don’t tell me. Another witch has cursed you, but instead, it’s made you younger this time,” said the old witch, “well on the bright side you won’t be complaining you’re old.”
“No Granny, this isn’t Sophie, this is Anna. She’s staying with us,” said Markl.
“Sophie?” Anna asked.
“Master Howl’s girlfriend,” said Markl.
“Girlfriend? Ha! Howl goes through a dozen girlfriends in a week! If not a day! Well, just stay away from Howl’s heart. It’s mine!” said the witch and then fell asleep snoring.
“What is she talking about?” asked Anna.
“Don’t worry about her, she’s well…old,” said Markl.
“I heard that! No respect for the elderly these days!” said the witch, who then let out a loud snore.
“Where is Sophie, anyway?” said Anna.
“She’s in the town hall right now helping to organise the decorations,” Markl answered.
“But if the Summer Sun Celebration is in Koriko this year, then why is she in the Ghiblitropolis town hall?”
“I’ll show you,” said Markl and turned a switch above the doorknob. Above the door was a coloured wheel divided into four coloured sections – red, yellow, blue and black and at the top of the wheel was a triangle that pointed to whichever section was at the top. Markl turned the knob, causing the wheel to turn to having the blue section at the top. He then opened the door and stepped outside. “Come on,” he said and beckoned Anna to step outside as well.
Anna did so and had another surprise. Two minutes ago, she had been in the city of Miyazaki. Now she was in a small town. She looked around and saw that the shop she had just entered was now a strange castle resembling a fusion between a castle, a boat and a tank.
“Where are we?” asked Anna.
“We’re in Koriko,” said Markl.
“You mean you have a magic doorway leads from Miyazaki to Koriko?”
“Yeah, it’s really useful,” said Markl.
“Well, Princess Nausicaa sent me here to check up on the preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration,” said Anna.
“Oh, well, I can show you around so you can check up on everything,” Markl offered.
“Thank you Markl,” said Anna and she took out a sheet of paper. “Now the first thing on this list is the catering by someone called ‘Kusukabe’.”
“Satsuki and Mei’s house!” said Markl, “come on! I’ll introduce them to you and you can become friends with them.” The pair started walking to Satsuki and Mei’s house.
“Thank you Markl, but I don’t need friends,” said Anna.
“Everyone needs friends,” said Markl, “don’t you have friends?”
“No,” said Anna, “I never made any in Ghiblitropolis and I don’t need any friends here!”
“Well, I’m already your friend Anna, and I bet I can get you another one,” said Markl, who then saw a short girl in a red dress with red hair accompanied with a boy in a yellow shirt with brown shorts with black hair. “I’ll introduce you. Hi Sosuke! Hi Ponyo!”
“Hi Markl!” said Sosuke, the boy, “Who’s this?”
“This is Anna,” said Markl, “She’s staying with us during the Summer Sun Celebration.”
All of a sudden, Ponyo, the girl, took a deep breath and suddenly ran off. “Ponyo, wait!” Sosuke called and ran after Ponyo.
Anna sighed, “Let’s go,” she said.
“Well that could’ve gone better,” Markl thought.
While on their way, the pair heard music that sounded as though it was being played through ocarinas. “That sounds like the Totoros,” said Markl, “but they don’t usually play music in the morning.”
“Totoros?” asked Anna.
“The Totoros are the spirits of the forest,” said Markl, “Mei and Satsuki are best friends with them. I’m surprised you’ve never heard about them.”
“We don’t have forests in Miyazaki,” said Anna, “that’s why I’ve never heard of them.”
Soon enough, the pair came across a group of animals of different sizes, all of which appeared to be a cross between rabbits and owls, but without wings. One of them was very large and grey in colour. The others were much smaller and were perched on branches in a tree. One was smaller, was pink in colour and had a flower behind her ear. Another was smaller and was blue in colour, another one was the same size as the blue one and was brown in colour, one was even smaller and white in colour and the other was black in colour and the same size as the white one. All of them were playing music through strangely shaped ocarinas. In front of all of these strange creatures was a small girl of about four years old wearing a red dress and a straw hat and with her hair in short pigtails.
“They sound nice,” said Anna.
“Yeah, the Totoros are good at playing music,” said Markl.
Then, one of the Totoros started playing out of key. “Oh my, stop,” said the small girl and the Totoros stopped playing.
“Excuse me, Chuu Totoro. No offence, but, you were playing out of key,” said the girl, to the small white Totoro. Chuu Totoro nodded and squeaked. “OK everyone, from the top. 1, 2…”
“Hello Mei!” said Markl.
All of a sudden, Mei made a little scream and hid behind the large Totoro.
“She’s…kind of shy. Wait here, I’ll talk to her,” said Markl, who then walked toward Mei, “Mei, this is Anna. She’s just coming to see your parents about the catering for the Summer Sun Celebration tonight.”
Then there was another voice. “MEI! MEI!” it called. Anna looked at the direction where the voice came from and saw a girl of about 10 years old with short hair in a yellow shirt and orange skirt.
“Satsuki! Over here!” Markl called.
“Granny sent me to tell you lunch is ready,” Satsuki said to Mei. Mei squeaked and nodded. “Markl, you’re welcome to stay for lunch if you want,” Satsuki continued and then walked over to Anna. “Hello, I’m Satsuki Kusukabe,” she said.
“Kusukabe,” Anna muttered under her breath and then took out the checklist, “Oh, I’m seeing someone called ‘Kusukabe’ to check on the catering for the Summer Sun Celebration.”
“That would be me,” said Satsuki, “and that’s my sister, Mei. She’s conducting the Totoros to play music when Princess Nausicaa appears at the town hall.”
Anna looked down the checklist and saw at the bottom a box labelled “Music” which also had the name “Kusukabe” next to it. “Well at least the music is sorted out,” said Anna.
“Come with me, I can show you what I’ve prepared,” said Satsuki who then led the way.
“That’ll be two down already,” thought Anna, “and the sooner I have all of these people over with, the better. Then I can concentrate on finding some way to get Princess Nausicaa to listen to me.”
“Come on Mei,” said Markl. Mei followed nervously and slowly. “I’ll come back after lunch,” she whispered to the Totoros, who grunted or squeaked in reply.
Satsuki led Anna and the others to what appeared to be acres of large rice fields. Not too far from the fields was an old one-floor house.
“Granny, I’m back!” said Satsuki.
“Hi Granny!” Markl called.
From inside the house came an old lady in a blue shirt and blue trousers wearing a handkerchief on her head. “Ah, you’re back,” said the old lady, “And we have guests!”
“Yes! Granny, this is Anna. She’s come to check up on the food for the Summer Sun Celebration,” said Satsuki.
“Pleased to meet you Anna,” said the old lady, “I’m Granny.”
“Another one,” said Anna.
“That’s going to be confusing,” Markl muttered under his breath.
“Oh yes, there are quite a number of ‘Grannies’ in Koriko,” said Granny, “So, you’re here to see the food for the festival. Come inside, I have much to show you.”
Following her inside, Anna saw a very large amount of food including pies, cakes, sushi, tempura, muffins and buns.
“That’s…quite a lot of food,” said Anna.
“Did you cook all of this, Granny?” Markl asked.
“Well I did have a little help,” said Granny. Satsuki beamed. “Speaking of which, Kanta, where are you?”
“I’m here Granny,” said a voice. A boy of about Satsuki’s age came through the front door, completely covered in mud.
“What happened to you?” asked Satsuki.
“I, uh, had an accident,” said Kanta.
“I see,” said Granny, with a hint of disbelief in he voice.
Kanta then saw that Mei was trying to stifle giggles. “Hey it wasn’t funny Mei,” he said, and only then noticed Anna, “And who’s she?”
“She has a name!” said Satsuki, “This is Anna. She’s overseeing the preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration!”
“Oh,” said Kanta. Luckily for him, no one could see he was blushing thanks to being completely covered in mud.
“Hurry up and clean yourself up before you cover the rest of the house in mud!” said Granny, “It’s lunchtime!”
“Yes, Granny,” said Kanta.
Anna took out her checklist. “Well I need to see the next thing on the list,” said Anna, “so…”
“Why don’t you stay for lunch?” asked Granny, smiling.
“Go on,” Markl whispered.
“Alright, yes,” said Anna, seeing that Granny was making the sort of face that you could not say no to.
“That was the best lunch I’ve had in ages,” said Markl as he and Anna returned to the town centre.
“I shouldn’t have eaten so much food,” said Anna.
“Look on the bright side, you won’t need dinner!” said Markl.
“The next thing on the list is weather control,” said Anna. ”And according to the list it’s being carried out by someone called Kiki,” said Anna.
“Kiki? Oh yeah, she does deliveries around town and she also takes the post to Miyazaki. She has her own business called ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’,” said Markl.
Anna looked up at the sky. “Well she doesn’t seem to be doing a good job of weather control,” she said.
“What makes you say that?” asked Markl.
“Because there are still clouds in the sky,” said Anna.
“But there’s nothing wrong with clouds in the sky,” said Markl.
“Princess Nausicaa wants everything to be perfect. That means no clouds in the sky so that there’s no rain,” Anna explained.
All of a sudden, what appeared to be a violet blur darted across the sky, smashing into the clouds, one by one, as though it were a pinball bouncing against bumpers. But then all of a sudden, the violet blur started heading toward Markl and Anna.
“Kiki! Slow down!” a voice shouted.
“I can’t!” another voice shouted back.
“Get down!” Markl shouted and shoved Anna over, who then landed in a large muddy puddle.
Anna picked herself up and saw the girl in the purple dress she had seen in the post office yesterday lying on the ground. Next to her was her black cat and a deckbrush. She then noticed that Markl was now lying at her feet, having also jumped into the puddle to avoid being hit by a fast moving object. Everyone was now covered in mud.
“And that, Kiki, is why we shouldn’t be working on a holiday,” groaned the cat.
“Kiki! Jiji! Are you alright?” said Markl, picking himself up from the ground.
“Yes, I am,” said Kiki, the witch, picking herself up, “Sorry I had to make you dive for cover, and your friend.”
“This is Anna,” said Markl, “She’s from Miyazaki.”
“I thought you looked familiar,” said Kiki, “Are you moving to Koriko?”
“No. I’m checking up on the preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration for the princess,” said Anna.
“Well look on the bright side,” said Jiji, the cat, “at least the princess wasn’t watching us crash!”
“Well Jiji, you’re the one didn’t want to be working today, so I decided to get the clouds over and done with quick! And that way, you could have the rest of the day off.” said Kiki.
“Well you didn’t have to go that quick!” said Jiji, “I left my stomach in the sky! Breakfast and Lunch were in there! And all of my other snacks in-between!”
“Well, except for that cloud over there, the sky is clear. Only we’re now covered in mud!” said Anna.
“That’s it!” said Kiki and grabbed her deckbrush and then said, “Wait here.” She then took off into the sky, pushed the cloud down to directly above the heads of everyone and then landed underneath the cloud.
“Now what?” asked Anna. Kiki snapped her fingers causing rain to fall on everyone, then snapped her fingers again.
“Kiki, what exactly were you trying to do?” shouted Jiji.
“Clean everyone using a rain cloud,” Kiki answered.
“Well we’re clean, but now we’re all wet!” shouted Anna, “Come on Markl, let’s…”
“Wait I can get you dry!” said Kiki, mounting her deckbrush and then flying around the group to create a wind vortex. After spinning around the group for a few seconds she then landed.
“Well at least we’re dry,” said Anna.
“Kiki, I think there’s been an unexpected side effect,” said Jiji. Everyone looked downward and Kiki and Markl burst out laughing. Jiji was now looked like a large black poofy soot sprite. “You think that’s funny, kid,” Jiji said to Markl, “Take a look in the mirror!”
“Why?” said Markl.
“He means your hair’s been messed up,” said Anna.
“He’s not the only one, kid,” said Jiji, “Kiki, take us home before you make a bigger mess.”
“Alright, Jiji. See you later,” Kiki said and then mounted her deckbrush taking Jiji with her and they flew off.
“So what’s next?” said Markl.
“The last thing we haven’t done is check up on the preparations in the town hall,” said Anna, taking the list out for another look, “I’m guessing that’s where Princess Nausicaa will be making her appearance.
“Great, let’s get going,” said Markl.
“And Markl, what did Kiki’s cat mean by “he’s not the only one”?” asked Anna.
“Well…maybe you should see yourself in a mirror. Later,” said Markl.
Markl and Anna soon reached the town hall, which was a large, tall and circular building. Pushing the doors open, the two stepped into a very large hall, decorated with ribbons and flowers with tables laid out. Inside were two ladies, one in a blue dress will silver hair tied into a ponytail, the other in a Japanese school uniform with black hair tied into two short pigtails.
“There, I think that looks perfect,” said the girl with silver hair.
“Yes, it does,” said the other girl.
“Thank you for bringing your friends to assist, Umi. And for staying behind.”
“It was no problem, Miss Sophie. Is there anything else?”
“No, it’s perfect. You can go now.”
“See you later.” Umi, the schoolgirl, turned to leave.
“Oh, we have company,” she said.
Sophie turned around and saw Markl. “Markl, hello,” she said, “What have you done with your hair?”
“It’s a long story,” said Markl, “Let’s just say, Kiki was involved.”
“I see,” said Sophie, walking toward the pair, “You must be Anna.”
“Yes, I am,” said Anna, “but how did you know?”
“The letter we received from Princess Nausicaa told us to expect you,” said Sophie, “How do you find the decorations?”
Anna looked around. “They’re…fine,” she said.
“Oh,” said Sophie, “you don’t sound very enthused.”
“It’s just I don’t know much about decorations myself,” said Anna.
“Well, I’ll admit I’m surprised Princess Nausicaa put me in charge of this,” said Sophie, “I don’t have any experience in decorating rooms.”
“Maybe, the Princess picked you because of your experience in flower arrangement,” said Umi.
“Flower arrangement? Arranging flowers in shop displays is one thing,” said Sophie, “it’s another thing to decorate an entire hall. However, I believe I’ve risen to the challenge.”
“You have! It’s beautiful!” said Markl.
“You have a shop?” asked Anna.
“Yes, a flower shop,” said Sophie.
“Yeah, I should show it to you,” said Markl.
“I need to get going everyone,” said Umi, “I have a large dinner tonight at the boarding house. Bye.” And with that Umi left.
“Right, well now that the hall has been sorted out, I think we should head home,” said Sophie, “Your hair needs tidying, Markl!”
“Can’t I keep it the way it is, Sophie?” asked Markl.
“Certainly not. It’s untidy,” Sophie answered and everyone then exited the town hall.
“Sophie, is there a library in Koriko?” Anna asked.
“There is, but it isn’t open today,” said Sophie, “Why do you ask?”
“I need to research the Woman in The Moon,” said Anna.
“Well Master Howl did have a collection of books in his…” Markl began.
“Markl! I’m sorry Anna but I can’t let you near Master Howl’s books. Some of them contain magic that is simply too dangerous to be used.”
“And isn’t the Woman in the Moon just a fairytale?” said Markl.
Anna sighed. “I’ll find something to convince everyone,” she thought.
“Hey! Home, sweet home!” said Markl as he and the others reached the castle’s entrance. Sophie opened the door and everyone stepped inside. “Huh, it’s really dark in here,” said Markl.
Suddenly the lights came on, the room brightened up and all of a sudden, a five-year-old girl with red hair in a red dress, the same girl Anna had encountered in town with Markl, leapt up to the group and yelled “SURPRISE!”
Anna was stunned. Tables were now laid out around the room covered in party food and drink and party decorations were strung around the room. And the room was now filled with some of the other people she had seen while touring around Koriko.
The young girl leapt up into Anna’s face again. “Were you surprised? Were you? Were you?” said the girl.
“We’re all very surprised,” said Sophie.
“Hi, I’m Ponyo!” said Ponyo who then took Anna’s hand and shook it very quickly, “You remember me, don’t you? I saw you and I was like…” Ponyo stopped to take a large breath. Anna clutched her hand which was now throbbing thanks to Ponyo shaking it. Ponyo then continued talking, “I know everyone in Koriko, but I hadn’t seen you before. And if I haven’t seen you before, then that means you’re new, and if you’re new, that means you don’t have any friends in Koriko, and that made me so sad, but then I had the best idea ever and so I threw you a party and invited my friends and so now you have loads of new friends.”
“ENOUGH!” Anna shouted and with that she stormed off up the stairs. Sophie hurried after her.
“She must be shy,” said Ponyo, “Oh well.”
Markl went to one of the tables to grab a drink of what he thought was a red coloured juice. Only to find the “juice” tasted like chilli.
“WHAT KIND OF DRINK IS THIS?” shouted Markl.
“Erm, Markl,” Sosuke said to Markl and pointed to a bottle on the table. Markl looked and saw the label on the bottle.
“Tomato juice?” Markl read the label out loud.
“No,” said Sosuke and peeled off the label, revealing another label underneath that read “Hot Sauce”.
“No wonder,” said Markl.
Sosuke then saw Ponyo take the bottle, pour its contents onto a cupcake and then eat said cupcake. She then saw Sosuke and Markl gawking at her, “What? It tastes good!” she said.
“Anna, are you alright?” Sophie called after Anna.
“No!” shouted Anna, “The Princess won’t listen to me and I haven’t had the time to make the princess listen to me because I’ve had to go around some random town checking up and various things, and people keep trying to be friends with me when I don’t need any!”
“I…see,” said Sophie.
Anna sighed, “I just need to go to bed.”
“I see, I’ll show you your room,” said Sophie.
Hours later, Anna was lying in her bed with a pillow over her ears. She looked at a clock beside her on a desk. “Four in the morning? Doesn’t anyone in this town sleep?” There was then a knock on the door. Anna sat up in the bed. “Yes?” she said.
The door opened and standing in the doorway was Markl. “Come on, Anna. Ponyo’s starting ‘Pin the Tail on the Fishy’!”
“Markl, do you know what time it is?” she asked.
“Everyone stays up the night before the Summer Sun Celebration,” said Markl, “Don’t they do that in Miyazaki?”
“No,” said Anna, “Although everyone gets up really early, instead. And why are you wearing a lampshade on your head?”
“Oh, it was this game we were playing earlier,” said Markl, “see it’s not a lampshade, it’s a silly hat, and see…” And Markl would have said more, but was cut off when Sophie came up the stairs.
“Markl, it’s time to go to the town hall for the Summer Sun Celebration,” said Sophie, “Anna, will you be come…”
Anna jumped out of the bed before Sophie could finish her sentence. “Good! That means I’ll get to see Princess Nausicaa!”
Soon enough, Anna and the others were gathered along with the other citizens of Koriko inside the town hall.
“Isn’t this exciting?” Ponyo leapt up to Anna, “Are you excited? Because I’m excited!”
“Well I’m really excited!” said Markl.
“YAY!” said Ponyo.
Anna then felt someone tug on her arm and saw it was Sosuke. “Don’t worry,” he said, “You’ll get used to Ponyo, eventually. She’s kind of unpredictable.”
“That’s one way of putting it,” thought Anna. She glanced up through a window at the moon and noticed the four stars surrounding the moon. “I hope it was just a fairytale,” she thought.
Just then, the Totoros, standing on a balcony being conducted by Mei, blasted a fanfare. From behind the curtains on a stage, a portly man wearing a bowler hat with a sash around his torso with the word “MAYOR” written on it stepped onto the stage.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” the Mayor said in a loud booming voice, “Thank you for coming to this event.”
As the Mayor continued to waffle, Anna noticed a flash of light. She looked and saw that the four stars around the moon had now vanished.
“Please let it be a fairytale,” she thought.
“And it is with great pleasure that I welcome the ruler of our country of Ghiblitopia, Princess Nausicaa!” the Mayor finished waffling.
The Totoros played another fanfare. Umi, who was standing on another balcony directly above the stage the Mayor was standing on yanked on a rope, pulling apart the curtains to reveal an empty stage.
“Where is she?” said Sophie.
“Oh, she must be playing ‘Hide and Seek’!” said Ponyo.
Umi darted behind the curtains and looked around the stage. Coming back in front of the curtains she then called “She’s gone!”
“Oh, she’s good!” said Ponyo.
“Ponyo, I don’t think the Princess is…” Sosuke started and then said, pointing at the stage “Hey! What’s that?” Everyone gawked as a purple smoke began filling the stage. The smoke suddenly coalesced into a column. From the smoke materialised a teenage girl with long black hair dressed in a purple kimono.
“Ah! After one thousand years I’m free!” said the girl.
“Who are you and what have you done with Princess Nausicaa?” the Mayor shouted.
“I haven’t done anything to your precious princess!” said the girl, “I see nothing has changed in the last millennium. You still fawn over her and shun me! At least in those days people still recognised me! Don’t any of you know who I am?”
“Oh, a guessing game!” said Ponyo, “Erm, Hokey Smokes! No, Queen Meanie! No, I’ve got it, Black Snooty!” Ponyo would have made more suggestions, but Sosuke stuffed a cupcake into her mouth, preventing her from saying anything else.
“Did none of you pay attention to the signs?” the girl shouted into Umi’s face, forcing her to step backward until she found herself being backed against ledge of the balcony. Then all of a sudden, the girl shoved Umi aside, prompting Umi to flee from the balcony. “Did all of you write me off as a fairy tale?” the girl shouted in Mei’s direction. Mei hugged Totoro in fear, as did the other smaller Totoros.
“I know who you are!” Anna shouted at the figure.
“Yes?” said the girl.
“You’re…you’re…” Anna gulped before saying, “Princess Kurohime.”
“That is correct!” said the girl, “And now my Reign of Eternal Night begins!”