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The Hayao Miyazaki movie that got away

May 25-30 is Studio Ghibli Week at Polygon. To celebrate the arrival of the Japanese animation house’s library on digital and streaming services, we’re surveying the studio’s history, impact, and biggest themes. Follow along via our Ghibli Week page.
Hayao Miyazaki doesn’t always make movies with kids in mind. His most recent film, The Wind Rises, is full of challenging adult themes, and the intense violence of Princess Mononoke was enough for Disney to distribute the film in America through Miramax, its adult-oriented brand in the late ’90s. But even his most adult fare wouldn’t come close to a movie he almost made: Rowlf.
Rowlf is an American comic written by Richard Corben. As with some of Corben’s other work, Rowlf is an exploitation-style comic filled with over-the-top violence and nudity. The comic was originally published in a small newspaper before it made its way to the pages of Heavy Metal Magazine, where Corben gained much of his notoriety and fame.
The main character of the comic is a princess’ canine companion named Rowlf. When the princess is kidnapped by demons, an evil wizard who believes that Rowlf killed the princess tries to transform him into a man so he can admit his crimes. However, the spell fails and transfo
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