Panda! Go Panda!

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Panda Kopanda: 17 December 1972 / 35 minutes
Panda Kopanda: Amefuri Sākasu no Maki: 17 March 1973 / 38 minutes
Director: Isao Takahata / Concept, Screenplay, Art Design, Scenic Design, Key Animation: Hayao Miyazaki

Mimiko and Pandas
Mimiko and Pandas
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Panda! Go Panda! (パンダコパンダ Panda Kopanda?) is a 30 minute movie made in 1972. Miyazaki created the original idea, the script and the layouts and did key animation and Takahata directed the film. The story is about a little girl, Mimiko, who was left alone while her Grandma was away. A 1973 sequel, Panda! Go Panda!: The Rainy-day Circus (パンダコパンダ 雨ふりサーカス Panda Kopanda: Amefuri Sākasu no Maki?), continues the story and was made by the same people who made the first movie. The literal translation of the title Panda Kopanda is "Panda, Baby Panda" but it's been released in North America, Australia and the UK and Ireland as Panda! Go Panda!.

The movies were made at a time when "panda fever" was sweeping Japan: a pair of pandas had just been given to Japan by China and everyone was very excited about them. These two movies are considered by many to be prototypes of My Neighbor Totoro due to the similar character designs and child-friendly nature throughout the films.