Future Boy Conan, Miyazaki’s Hidden Masterpiece

Hayao Miyazaki has mastered the art of cli-fi. And yet so many of his earlier visions have remained out of sight and out of mind.

No longer is that the case for his solar punk, Future Boy Conan. The irrepressible superhuman from a drowned Earth is no longer a bootleg YouTube clinic on extraction, disaster, technocracy, fascism and much more. Thanks to Studio Ghibli, GKIDS, and Shout! Factory, Future Boy Conan is now an official presence in our overheated, underwater climate crisis.

Let’s hope he’s not too late.

Premiering in 1978, Hayao Miyazaki’s sprawling directorial debut series productively interrogated all of the aforementioned, intersecting, existential issues, and yet it has remained an underrated, unreachable classic.

Conan would quickly be overshadowed by Miyazaki’s similarly ambitious, subsequent environmental epics like The Castle of Caligiostro (1979), Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984), and Castle in the Sky (1986) — especially in the international marketplace, where Conan took cover as one of his best-kept secrets.

It was only a matter of time before Conan finally resurfaced, on our apocalyptic Earth wracked by the personal, political climate crisis that served as Miyazaki’s thematic anchor.

Thrown off its axis and sundered by catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis, and under siege from ruthless technocrats abusing renewable power and waging class warfare, Future Boy Conan’s cli-fi blueprint of our own ruined 21st century still flickers like an undiscovered beacon adrift in space, even though its warnings have been trying to reach us for decades.

From GKIDS:


NEW YORK (September 1, 2021) – On November 16, GKIDS, the acclaimed producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, with distribution by Shout! Factory, will release the much anticipated box set Future Boy Conan: The Complete Series. The 4-disc Blu-ray™ set, contains all 26 episodes of the show, and an exclusive 16-page booklet featuring character artwork. The full series will additionally be available on digital download-to-own, arriving November 16.

The 1978 directorial debut of Academy Award®-winner Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away), Future Boy Conan, is a landmark in animation history. This legendary sci-fi adventure series, beloved worldwide but never before released in North America, features a new English language dub version and 4K digital restoration.

Twenty years ago, a terrible war fought with magnetic weapons caused the earth’s axis to tilt, and earthquakes and tidal waves destroyed civilization. Conan is born into this new world, raised by his adopted grandfather on an isolated island. But his life is forever changed when a mysterious girl named Lana washes ashore, pursued by shadowy operatives who seek to use her in a new scheme to control what’s left of the world.


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