Throughout the late 1970s, Mamoru Oshii worked in the anime industry, mainly drawing storyboards for various television series. After starting his career at Tatsunoko Productions, Oshii followed his mentor, Hisayuki Toriumi, to Studio Pierrot where he began to hone his skills at directing animation. While there, Oshii worked on a number of shows, most notably Nils’s Mysterious Journey. An adaptation of a Swedish fairy tale, Nils is a tale of a young boy’s quest for identity that features geese as the boy’s traveling companions. It is noteworthy that Oshii was involved in a retelling of this tale at the beginning of his career; the story of Nils also has been cited as an early influence by Nobel Prize-winning Japanese author Kenzaburo Ōe.1 As Susan J. Napier states, “Just as the young Ōe would grow up to commingle the Western Other in both his art and his life, so Nils seems happier among the alien geese than with humans.”2 Perhaps, like Ōe, Oshii could see something of himself in Nils and his quest.
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