This amazingly detailed theme park map is what Tokyo Ghibli Land would look like

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RocketNews 24:

At the Ghibli Museum in Mikata, Tokyo, in an enchanting building designed by Hayao Miyazaki himself, you can wander among sketches and storyboards, gaze up at the iconic Robot Soldier standing guard on the building’s roof, and learn about the history of animation.

What you can’t do is ride a Laputa roller coaster, a Sea of Decay log flume, or a monorail shaped like the Cat Bus, because a) Mr. Miyazaki would probably hate that and b) Ghibli is presumably doing pretty well out of its other endeavours and doesn’t feel the need to build an actual amusement park just yet.

So, alas, these beautiful plans for a full-blown theme park by Japanese artist and Studio Ghibli fan Takumi won’t be being realized any time soon. Which is a shame, because Takumi’s incredibly detailed Tokyo Ghibli Land is one theme park that we’d happily pay through the nose to visit.

Takumi posted his beautiful plans to Twitter on January 31, along with some pretty serious-sounding statements of intent.

And we are seriously impressed with the attention to detail in these plans.

At the centre of the imagined park is Calcifer as a Ghibli-style house with pipes and chimneys poking out all over the place. His lolling tongue rolls out onto Kingsbury Square, named after the fictional town in which Howl’s Moving Castle is set:

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Of course, guests to Takumi’s Ghibli Land park would need accommodation, and the artist has included Hotel Adriano (from Porco Rosso), and the Aburaya Bathhouse (Spirited Away) for guests to choose from. Leading up to the Aburaya Bathhouse is a beautiful homage to the street scenes from Spirited Away, the aptly named Buta-kui Food Court where you can (of course) eat like pigs:

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Elsewhere, there are other cool little details, like a Forest Animals attraction guarded over by Shishigami and occupied by a whole host of mythical creatures, and an Aviation Museum holding flying machines from a Flaptter (Castle in the Sky) to Jiro’s Birdplane from The Wind Rises. Snaking around the whole site, of course, is a Cat Monorail made up of five stuck-together Cat Buses.

▼ Shishigami (Princess Mononoke) and friends.

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▼ The Aviation Museum and Cat Monorail. We wanna go!

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Clockwise from top left: Hotel Adriano (Porco Rosso); Automobile Mountain (with a gun-toting Dora from Castle in the Sky); Laputa Labyrinth; Hatter hat shop (Howl’s Moving Castle); Uncle Pom’s Planetarium, Flying Flaptters and Tiger Moth Adventure 3D (Castle in the Sky); Therru’s Dragon (Tales from Earthsea).

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▼ Shishigami’s Animal Forest (Princess Mononoke); Zeniba’s Cake Factory, Aburaya Bathhouse, and Eat-Like-A-Pig Food Court (Spirited Away); Mei’s Acorn Hunt (My Neighbour Totoro); Jiro’s Bird-Plane (The Wind Rises); Atelier Antique Shop (Whisper of the Heart); Yakul Carousel (Princess Mononoke); Calcifer Talk (Howl’s Moving Castle). Centre: Irontown (Princess Mononoke).

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▼ Sea of Decay Cruise (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind); Koriko town and Gutiokipanja (Kiki’s Delivery Service); Cat Monorail; Aviation Museum.

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▼ Arrietty’s dollhouse; the Marsh House (When Marnie Was There); Sousuke’s Pop Pop Shop (Ponyo); Susuwatari Mansion (i.e. Mei and Satsuki’s house); Safflower Picking (Only Yesterday); Princess Kaguya’s Bamboo Grove; Fujimoto’s Twenty Thousand Leagues and the Devonian Period Aquarium (Ponyo); The Cat’s Office (The Cat Returns); Manpuku-ji Temple (Pom Poko).

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Top 5 Miyazaki films for those who have only seen ‘Spirited Away’ 

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 Audrey Magazine:

By now, you’ve probably heard of the legendary filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki and his award-winning animated film Spirited Away (2001)Some other Miyazaki fan-favorites that come to mind include My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving CastlePrincess Mononoke and Ponyo (If you haven’t seen these yet — go watch them! They’re classic Miyazaki and beautifully rendered).

But apart from these five, how many other Miyazaki films are well-known? With so many Miyazaki films, the average movie-watcher may not bother with films beyond the fan-favorites, but many of the lesser-known films are definitely worth your time. The more you get into Miyazaki’s world, the more curious it gets.

In honor of famous filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki receiving an honorary Oscar last November 8th at the Governors Awards ceremony, here are five of our favorite Miyazaki films that often fly under the radar.


 

1. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

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Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is Miyazaki’s second feature film, and its animation, especially in the 1980s, is impressive. In fact, this is the very film that led to the creation of Studio Ghibli. The film is set a thousand years after an almost-apocalyptic war forces mankind to live in a polluted forest filled with huge insects. Luckily, the princess of the Valley of the Wind recognizes the importance of preserving the forest and its environmental significance.

 


 

2. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

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Kiki’s Delivery Service is often known as the most popular with mainstream audiences, but it’s on this list because many core Miyazaki fans may not regard it as such. While there might be less drama, the basis of the film is its focus on character. The story is of Kiki developing a sense of independence and confidence though her delivery service (by broomstick) in a faraway city.

 


 

3. Castle in the Sky (1986)

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Castle in the Sky is an epic fantasy story with beautiful animation adornment. Not only was it Miyazaki’s third feature film, it was also one of the first to put Miyazaki on the map for being an excellent storyteller. The film is of an orphan girl who inherits a crystal that links her to Laputa, a legendary kingdom. During the adventure, she crosses paths with a brave young man, evil forces and ancient technology.

 


 

4. Porco Rosso (1992)

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Often referred to as Miyazaki’s strangest movie, Porco Rosso is on the opposite end of the spectrum compared to Kiki’s Delivery Service. An Italian pilot/bounty hunter has a curse that gives him a pig’s head in place of a human head. As he navigates his life in the early 1930s, Miyazaki gives us plenty of gorgeous airplane and aerial shots.

 


5. Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

https://mubi.com/films/lupin-iii-the-castle-of-cagliostro

Right to the beginning is Miyazaki’s first feature film Castle of CagliostroLupin III is a criminal genius and sly thief who accidentally steals counterfeit bills from a casino. He traces the money to a small country, where he and his ninjas team search for a fortune and save a damsel. As Miyazaki’s first film, the animation techniques are a bit unrecognizable, but there’s something about all Miyazaki films (this one included) that capture a sense of wonder and adventure.

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Five Hollywood movies with a taste of anime/Japanimation

 

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RocketNews 24:

 

What do you think of when someone mentions Japan? Anime certainly may be one of the things that comes to mind with all the Japanese animations being seen around the world in recent years. In fact, those of us here in Japan are often amazed by how passionate and knowledgeable some foreign fans are about Japanese anime.

So, we guess it’s not a complete surprise if some Hollywood movies seem to have been influenced by Japanese anime. Movie creators would have watched anime too, and I think we all know to a certain extent how some anime or TV programs, especially ones that we saw as a child, can grab our imagination and never really completely go away.

Well, we happened to find a post on information-compilation site Naver Matome that listed some Hollywood blockbusters containing what seem to be subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) tributes and references to Japanese anime, which we thought would be fun to share with you. Let’s take a look below at the movies that were mentioned in the article.

 

1. Clash of the Titans 

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This visually stunning action adventure film is a remake of the 1981 classic based on the famous Greek myth of Perseus’s battle with the sea monster Kraken. In the 2010 remake directed by Louis Leterrier, the Olympian gods don’t wear traditional Greek robes but are instead clad in costumes that resemble medieval armor. Leterrier has said in an interview with the Japanese media that the armor-like costume was inspired by the anime Saint Seiya, which also borrows heavily from Greek legend and in which the characters battle with each other wearing special armor called “Cloths”. Leterrier says he is a huge of the anime which he saw in his native France and had thought the Cloths looked so cool that he wanted to pay homage to the anime in his movie. (Personally, this bit of information made me smile because it just so happens that I actually saw Saint Seiya on TV in France — although it was called by the fancier sounding French title Les Chevaliers du Zodiaque— when I home stayed in the country for about a month a long, long time ago when I was still in high school.)

 

▼Characters from Saint Seiya wearing their Cloths

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It’s hard to believe the popular anime, based on a manga of the same title, is now more than 20 years old! Back then, at least to me, the graphics seemed to be of very high quality by the standards of the time; okay, so the guys looked hot/cute/beautiful in their armor-style suits.

 

▼Zeus in his armor-like costume in Clash of the Titans — do you see a strong resemblance?

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2. The Matrix

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Many of you have probably seen this hit sci-fi movie, which caused a sensation in many parts of the world with its innovative story and stunning visual effects when it was released in 1999. It’s considered a classic cyberpunk movie, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the creators were inspired by anime of the same genre in making the film.

As those of you familiar with Japanese anime may expect, Akira and Ghost in the Shell are anime that are often cited as having influenced The Matrix.

 

▼Akira and Ghost in the Shell, both cyberpunk anime that likely had an influence on The Matrix

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The super-human powers exhibited by some of the characters in the Matrix are certainly evocative of parts of Akira, and Ghost in the Shell seems to have been even more of a strong influence, including the visual concept of a cable being connected into the neck, as well as the cinematography in some of the chase scenes. In fact, the directors of The Matrix, the Wachowski Brothers, have said that they were so impressed with Ghost in the Shell that they wanted to make a live-action movie like it and even gave a video of the anime to the creative staff when making The Matrix as an example of the kind of world they wanted to create. Oh, and speaking of Japanese influence, did you know that the falling green digital code that appears in the movie contains mirror images of Japanese katakana letters?

Well, I certainly think the Wachowski Brothers succeeded here in making a film that leaves a strong and lasting impression. The Matrix is a movie that kind of gets to you, isn’t it,when you start to wonder about whether the world you live in is … well, really real?

 

3. Avatar

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This is another mega-blockbuster many of you will have seen. Although the plot, which involves greedy business and military oppressing and attacking an indigenous tribe for materialistic gain, is not particularly original, the movie does create a whole new world visually unlike any we had seen before. And that’s definitely something Hayao Miyazaki, anime producer and cofounder of Studio Ghibli, also excels at. James Cameron, who directed Avatar, admits that he is a big fan of Miyazaki’s films.

As such, it is no wonder if there seem to be parallels between Avatar and some of Miyazaki’s works, be it the industry/technology vs. nature theme, the uniquely vibrant colors or the amazing, speed-filled flight scenes. Movie fans have also been quick to point out that the presence of a strong, attractive female lead character is another element Avatar shares with many of Miyazaki’s works, particularly bringing to mind San in Princess Mononoke and Nausicaä in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind — both young women who battle fiercely against armies possessing sophisticated technology to protect the precious natural environment around them.

 

▼Princess Mononoke and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, both films featuring young, strong heroines fighting to save the world they live in

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There are also many visual details in Avatar that are reminiscent of images from Miyazaki’s anime, like the floating islands of rock that bear a noticeable resemblance to the floating castle Laputa in Castle in the Sky, or the supernaturally powerful tree with healing tendrils, which is a concept that also appears in Princess Mononoke. I’m sure it’s a testament to the creative genius of James Cameron and his team that they succeeded in making such a beautifully unique and thoroughly engaging movie while at the same time incorporating elements that we have seen before in some very well-known anime films.

 

4. Real Steel

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Perhaps befitting a movie set in a world where robots programmed to engage in boxing matches in place of human boxers, Real Steel is another film that contains images and references evocative of Japanese anime, which is after all, famous for its robot/mecha genre, among which some hugely popular anime such as Mobile Suit Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion can be counted.

What could be more symbolic than the fact that the robot the main character comes into possession of is named Atom? Although the name may not necessarily ring a bell with those of you outside of Japan, Atom is actually the name by which Astro Boy , the iconic anime robot character, is known in Japan. I’m sure a lot of Japanese movie viewers smiled at that, since we all love Astro Boy here in Japan — in fact, I think most people over a certain age can sing the anime theme song completely by heart.

 

▼Astro Boy, or Atom as he is known in Japan

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Another anime that viewers of Real Steel may be reminded of is the classic Tetsujin 28-go, which was released in the United States as Gigantor. The design of some of the robots in Real Steel seem to bear a certain resemblance to those in the anime, and what’s more, the robot in Tetsujin 28-go is controlled by a young boy, which is also the case in Real Steel.

 

▼Tetsujin 28-go, the original Japanese version of Gigantor

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Of course, for those of us in Japan, it was also good fun to see some other references to Japan as well in the movie, albeit not necessarily anime-related, such as one of the robots being initially set to be controlled in Japanese, and the young boy managing to give some commands in Japanese, saying that he learned the words playing Japanese video games. Well, you have to admit it is kind of nice when your country receives a positive nod of recognition in a big Hollywood movie.

 

5. Transformers 

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I guess this sci-fi action film can be considered as receiving a kind of honorable mention here, as the movie is not exactly a work containing Japanese influences but rather based on a franchise that started as a line of transforming robot toys that was produced jointly by a Japanese and American toy company, so the series does have a good part of its origins in Japan.

 

▼Transformer toys from Takara Tomy

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Since then, it seems that the whole franchise, including the animated series, has been a combined effort between American and Japanese companies with South Korea involved as well in the animation.

 

▼One of the earlier animated versions

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Some fans also seem to think that the basic concept and some of the designs of the original Transformer toys were likely influenced by the anime series Macross.

 

▼The Macross anime series — the robotics certainly look sophisticated

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The Transformers anime was certainly a hit in Japan, but the question of whether it is technically an American or Japanese series still appears to be a subject up for debate even today. Well, either way, it’s certainly been a good source of entertainment for us, and we can’t complain about that.

 

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Five Hollywood movies with a taste of anime/Japanimation

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Special exhibits on Studio Ghibli’s art and architecture coming soon to two Tokyo museums

 

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RocketNews 24:

 

For any serious anime fan making a trip to Tokyo, a visit to the Ghibli Museum should be at the top of their list. Not only is the design of the building bursting with subtle references to the works of esteemed director Hayao Miyazaki and his compatriots, the on-site theater also screens Ghibli shorts you can’t see anywhere else, such as the heart-warming follow-up to My Neighbor Totoro.

This summer, though, two more Tokyo museums are getting in on the act with special exhibits focusing on the architecture of Studio Ghibli plus artwork for the animation house’s newest film.

One of Japan’s most unique museums is the Edo-Tokyo Tatemono-en, also known as the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum. Located in western Tokyo, not far from the Ghibli studio itself, the museum is made up of a number of buildings of historical merit, which visitors can enter and wander about.

 

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From July 10 to December 14, the museum will also be hosting an exhibition of background paintings and other artwork connected to the buildings featured in Studio Ghibli’s films, starting with the upcoming When Marnie Was There and stretching all the way back to Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, which predates the formal founding of Ghibli itself.

 

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Included in the exhibit will be such plausible structures as Mei and Satsuki’s house from Totoro, and the Tsukishima home from Whisper of the Heart, as well as more fantastic creations such as castles of both the in the sky and moving varieties, as seen in Laputa and Howl’s Moving Castle.

 

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Aside from two-dimensional artwork, miniature recreations of some of the more famous Ghibli buildings are also planned to be on display, although the museum has yet to announce which particular ones.

 

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Just a few weeks after the Open Air Architectural Museum’s Ghibli event kicks off, the Edo-Tokyo Museum (which is indoor and focused on art, history, and culture) will hold its own anime-inspired event, an exhibition focused on the When Marnie Was There anime and the film’s production designer Yohei Tanada, who also served as an animator on the 2002 theatrical feature Innocence.

 

▼ A piece from the exhibit shows off the sort of seemingly simple yet deceptively complex artwork Studio Ghibli has become known for.

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While tickets can be bought for the two museums separately, there’s also the option to prepurchase both in a set for 1,500 yen (US $14.70). While this doesn’t give you any sort of discount, the first 3,000 purchasers will receive a cool freebie in the form of a small sketchbook modeled after the one that appears in Marnie.

What will save you some money, though, is the triple pack which also includes entrance to the Ghibli Museum for 2,360 yen ($23.17). Granted, it’s only 140 yen cheaper than the normal price for admission to the three facilities, but with Marnie showing in theaters on July 19, that’s money fans can put towards their tickets for opening day.

 

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Special exhibits on Studio Ghibli’s art and architecture coming soon to two Tokyo museums

 

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Famous celebrities you forgot did Anime voiceovers

There are plenty of notable anime properties that are packed to the gills with A-list actors. Many of Disney‘s Studio Ghibli releases are a fine example of this, using household names like Patrick Stewart and Claire Danes as a means to draw audiences to the theaters who normally otherwise wouldn’t have given the property a second glance. Amongst them, Princess Mononoke (Billy CrudupClaire DanesMinnie DriverBilly Bob ThorntonGillian Anderson, Jada Pinkett Smith), Castle in the Sky (Anna PaquinJames Van Der BeekMandy PatinkinCloris Leachman, Andy Dick), Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Alison LohmanShia LaBeouf, Uma ThurmanPatrick Stewart), and Kiki’s Delivery Service (Kirsten DunstPhil HartmanJaneane Garofalo) are some of the most star-studded.

But there are a lot more mainstream celebrities whom you might not have realized—or just plain forgotten— also starred in anime properties.

Do you remember the 1995 cyberpunk quadrilogy Armitage III? Back in ’97, all four OVAs were compiled into one release (called Armitage III: Poly-Matrix) by now-defunct Geneon, who was then called Pioneer. Fans may have forgotten this over the years, but it turns out that Armitage III: Poly-Matrix was full of celebs, including Keifer SutherlandElizabeth Berkley, and Bryan Cranston.

Before Keifer Sutherland blew up as Jack Bauer in 2001 on 24 (but after the incredible 1990 Flatliners, a movie about med students who experiment with visiting the afterlife that also starred Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, and William Baldwin), he played Ross Sylibus in Armitage III: Poly-Matrix.

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Co-starring with him was Elizabeth Berkley (Saved by the BellShowgirls), who played Naomi Armitage.

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Naomi Armitage has also been played by Juliette Lewis (Natural Born KillersWhat’s Eating Gilbert Grape), who played the character in Armitage III: Dual Matrix.

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And of course, the one that fans love to pull out the most to blow everyone’s minds is Bryan Cranston who is beloved for his roles in shows like Malcolm in the Middle and most recently, Breaking Bad. He has his fair share of anime credits, though, including Matti Tohn in Wings of Honneamise, Eddie Borrows in Armitage III, and most famously, Isamu Dyson in Macross Plus.

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Meanwhile, action fans might be surprised to learn that the 1986 Fist of the North Star movie showcased none other than James Avery, whom many might recognize as Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Or, as Shredder in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.

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But wait, there’s more.

Although these examples dip back into the Disney x Studio Ghibli pot, some of these actors and actresses hadn’t yet skyrocketed to fame when these films were released, while other roles just deserve a reminder.

For instance, only a short while after she first played Princess Mia Thermopolis in the 2001 The Princess DiariesAnne Hathaway got to play another princess—this time, Haru, the bride-to-be for the Cat Prince in 2002 Studio Ghibli film The Cat Returns. Although she only had a couple roles under her belt at the time, she starred alongside a varied cast of noted film actors, amongst them Tim Curry [Rocky Horror Picture Show] (who played the Cat King), Elliot Gould [Ocean’s Eleven/Twelve/Thirteen] (Toto), and Cary Elwes [The Princess Bride] (Baron Humbert von Gikkingen).

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Also on the cast list for The Cat Returns was Kristen Bell, who was still two years away from her breakout role as Veronica Mars. She plays Hiromi in The Cat Returns. She’s no stranger to voice acting, though; she’s also voiced a few video games, including Astro Boy: The Video Game and a handful of Assassin’s Creed games.

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Spirited Away
 had some famous names as well, including Big Love and The Ring actress Daveigh Chase as Chihiro, and Bob Newhart Show co-star Suzanne Pleshette, but fans of Fantastic Four and The Shield might not realize that Michael Chiklis was also in the film, as Chichiro’s dad Akiichiro.

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With Michael Keaton‘s long and storied career, one might forget that he also played title character Porco Rosso in Studio Ghibli‘s film of the same name. Cary Elwes was also in that film, as Donald Curtis.

mkIGPXImmortal Grand Prix is less so “actors you forgot were in the series” as it might be, “series you forgot existed.” A co-production between Production I.G and Cartoon Network, it tried to get audiences to tune in by casting talents like Michelle Rodriguez [AvatarThe Fast and the Furious] and everyone’s favorite ex-child actor, Haley Joel Osment [The Sixth SenseA.I.] (who of course is famous for also playing Sora in Kingdom Hearts, alongside a slew of celebs like Hayden Panettiere, Billy Zane, Mandy Moore, and Lance Bass, amongst others).

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The IGPX dub also included Star Wars hero Mark Hamill as Yamma, who in addition to lending his voice to a billion American-animated series and video games, was also in Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles as Commander Taylor, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind as Mayor of Pejite, Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic as Alghiero, Castle in the Sky as Muska, and Afro Samurai: Resurrection.

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Speaking of Afro Samurai, lest anyone forget, that title also made quite the effort to stuff its cast with A-listers, including Samuel L. Jackson as Afro and Ninja Ninja, Ron Perlman as Justice, Kelly Hu as Okiku, and producer RZA as DJ (and music composer). They reprised their roles for the sequel, Afro Samurai: Resurrection, which also added Lucy Liu to the cast as Sio. Jackson has since aligned himself with several live-action anime adaptations, including Kite and the probably-dead-forever Afro Samurai.

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Famous celebrities you forgot did Anime voiceovers