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Welcome to the world of Ghibli

The creations of Hayao Miyazaki   and   Isao Takahata , the founders of Studio Ghibli are perfect for escaping into a surreal atmosphere while immersing yourself in the best of Japanese animals and (re)discovering the adventures of   Chihiro ,   Princess Mononoke   and My friend Totoro . With productions on Netflix in select countries around the world and coming soon to HBO Max, here’s everything you need to know about Studio Ghibli before you start your binge watching.

The beginnings of the studio

Isao Takahata  and   Hayao Miyazaki   first met in the 1960s while collaborating for Japanese animation studio   Tōei Dōga . The two creators worked together for more than ten years, particularly on Heidi . At the beginning of the 1980s, when the publication of animated films on television complicated the good quality of the productions, these two epicureans decided to collaborate together in order to offer exceptional animation which was simply perfect. .

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

In 1985, a first partnership followed, to adapt Miyazaki ‘s manga , titled Nausica of the Valley of the Wind . Absolutely dazzling, this first success, convinced the public that quality animated feature films have a real place in the Japanese market, in the outskirts of Tokyo , supported by a large publishing house Stoten , they established a mini studio to produce other animations. In 1986,   The Castle in the Sky  was born and released on televisions. It then becomes the first film officially conceived by Studio Ghibli .  

The name

Hayao Miyazaki   who had this genius idea. An aircraft enthusiast, Ghibli  was inspired by a surveillance aircraft developed in Italy during World War II. He also makes reference to the hot air of the Sahara desert, which represents the current of fresh exhaled air in the Japanese animation .

The logo

My Neighbor Totoro

Totoro   became its emblem, and this mascot brought their first financial success. If the animation born in 1988 did not have the expected success compared to the first two creations of Miyazaki   and   Takahata , it is thanks to the sales of derivative products (such as Totoro toys ) which made it possible to keep them afloat, and thus to contribute to alleviate their financial problems, that the production of other animations could see the light of day.

The studio ethic

Not like any basic animation studios, Studio Ghibli   has one goal: To go deep into the human soul, in order to offer its Japanese and international audiences poetic tales that would bring awareness to their lives. , of its beauty and to question oneself with always a morality and an awareness of reality.

The greatest success

In 1989, Kiki’s Delivery Service took No. 1 and was the Japanese studio’s biggest hit.

Indeed, it placed first in theaters that year. Arriving at the top of the bill at the Japanese box office, Porco Rosso , dethroned the great American successes. But it was The Wind Rises, the first non-English film to win the 2013 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature , that dedicated the studio to its international work.

Disaster averted

In 1988, after almost two years of creation, the small studio almost died out. Indeed, the animated film Tomb of the Fireflies , which follows the story of two children abandoned during this tragic war that is the Second World War, was deemed too difficult for young Japanese people . Thanks to the success of   My Friend Totoro , released that same year, and its famous stuffed animals, the studio managed to avoid bankruptcy.

A new movie in the making

How do you live?   Here is the new title from the Japanese novel by  Genzaburô Yoshino , it should be released  in theaters in 2021 . Toshio Suzuki , chief producer of this firm, convinced its creator to broadcast a large part of his best works on the Netflix platform in  order to subsidize this project. Miyazaki , who in 1998 had already warned of his desire to retire, but he is not yet ready to drop everything. While waiting for this new feature film, the first 21 animated films from Studio Ghibli can be devoured on the Netflix platform   and soon on HBO Max .

For fans of the work of Studio Ghibli , the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka is already an indispensable stopover once in Japan , for which it is worth facing laborious reservation procedures.

However, although the museum represents a fascinating immersion into the world of Hayao Miyazaki and his partner, Isao Takahata , the director himself in an interview put it in perspective with these words: ” Maybe museum is a big word . , because it’s more like a little cabin where we exhibit some of the work from the studio ”.

Despite the modesty, typically Japanese, it is also true that the reconstruction offered by the Ghibli Museum offers a limited experience compared to what is seen on screen and much is entrusted to the imagination of its visitors. After celebrating the historic milestone of 10 million visitors last year , it is now time to offer a more complete experience and it was recently announced that, from 2022 , it will finally be possible to bring this experience to a higher level.

In recent days, indeed, Studio Ghibli released the first images of what will, effectively, be the first theme park dedicated to the characters of the Oscar-winning director and his equally glorious lifelong collaborator. The park will be built in Nagakute , near Nagoya , Aichi Prefecture , famous for hosting the 2005 Aichi World Expo and it is in the same Expo area that the amusement park will be built.

The area occupied by the park will be approximately 200 hectares and will contain elements, both exterior and interior, from a wide range of Studio Ghibli productions : My Neighbor Totoro , Princess Mononoke , Howl’s Moving Castle , Kiki’s Delivery Service etc etc etc.

Respecting the theme addressed by the Expo Aichi , dedicated to the wisdom of nature, the intention is to elegantly blend the structures with the pre-existing natural habitat of the park, embracing at the same time the philosophy inherent in all the works of the Studio . Ghibli , in which it is often possible to trace the themes – very current in Japan but also in the West – of the difficult relationship between man and nature and the need to establish a balanced relationship based on love and respect of nature itself.

List of animated films

Studio Ghibli’s Greatest Hits:

Castle in the Sky  (Hayao Miyazaki, 1986)

Tomb of the Fireflies  (Isao Takahata, 1988)

My Neighbor Totoro  (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988)

Kiki’s Delivery Service  (Hayao Miyazaki, 1989)

Drip memories  (Isao Takahata, 1991)

Porco Rosso  (Hayao Miyazaki, 1992)

I can hear the ocean  (Tomomi Mochizuki, 1993)

Pompoko  (Isao Takahata, 1994)

If You Listen  (Yoshifumi Kondo, 1995)

Princess Mononoke  (Hayao Miyazaki, 1997)

My neighbors the Yamada  (Isao Takahata, 1999)

Spirited Away  (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)

The Kingdom of Cats  (Hiroyuki Morita, 2002)

Howl’s Moving Castle  (Hayao Miyazaki, 2004)

Tales from Earthsea  (Goro Miyazaki, 2006)

Ponyo on the cliff  (Hayao Miyazaki, 2008)

Arrietty the little world of pilferers  (Hiromasa Yonebayashi, 2010)

Poppy Hill  (Goro Miyazaki, 2011)

The Wind Rises  (Hayao Miyazaki, 2013)

The Tale of Princess Kaguya  (Isao Takahata, 2013)

Memories of Marnie  (Hiromasa Yonebayashi, 2014)

The Red Turtle  (Michael Dudok de Wit, 2016

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