Toshio Suzuki’s “The Red Turtle” receives standing ovation at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival

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RocketNews 24 (by Meg Murphy):

The Red Turtle may have no dialogue, but if that hasn’t stopped viewers from saying wonderful things about it.

Produced by Toshio Suzuki, a long-time colleague of famous Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki, and directed by London-based Dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit, the film The Red Turtle (in French La Tortue Rouge and in Japanese Reddo Taatoru: Aru Shima no Monogatari) premiered at the 69th Cannes Film Festival on May 18, to much excitement from the crowd. Reports state that the excitement could be felt from viewers as soon as Studio Ghibli’s well-known Totoro logo appeared on the screen, and that the film received a huge standing ovation at its end.

I’m so happy,” said Suzuki, “Of course, I would be quite sad if there was no one left at the end of the film (laughs).”

Director Dudok de Wit commented, “There were about a thousand people in this huge theatre, and they were all so focused on the film. I don’t think I’ve felt anything so amazing before.”

The film has no dialogue, and is Studio Ghibli’s first European co-production, with German film distributor Wild Bunch. It “follows the major life stages of a castaway on a deserted tropical island populated by turtles, crabs and birds,” according to IMDb.

If you haven’t already caught it, here’s the official trailer for the film:

 

5 unique cafés to visit in Asia

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Audrey Magazine (by Alyssa Park):

Cafés are popping up all over America, and they are quickly becoming part of a global culture as well. For instance, all across Asia you can find amazing cafés with different types of aesthetics such as rustic, modern, traditional and even themed. If you are traveling through Asia, then these five destinations are a must.

1. Hoho Myoll Café : (Seoul, South Korea)

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Korea is known to have some of the most beautiful cafés in the world. With a bit of a rustic aesthetic, Hoho Myoll Café is an enchanting little café tucked away in the heart of Seoul.

2. Wangye Teahouse : (Zigong, China)

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Inside of what was once a 100-year-old temple lies a very famous Sichuan Teahouse in Zigong, China. Next to the Fuxi River, visitors not only enjoy a traditional cup of tea, they can also become engrossed in a rich cultural history.

3. Shirohige’s Creampuff Shop: (Tokyo, Japan)

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Shirohige’s Creampuff Shop is one of many of Japan’s themed cafés. Not only are the creampuffs Totoro-shaped, the café itself is extremely sophisticated while maintaining a youthful charm.

4.Up Café: (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

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Up Café is a mandatory destination in Saigon mostly for it’s novelty. With all of the furniture and windows hanging upside down from the ceilings, you can’t help but feel like you are in another dimension.

5. Audrey Café & Bistro: ( Bangkok, Thailand)

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Audrey Café & Bistro is one of the most popular destinations in Bangkok, Thailand because of its beauty. With decor that only reflects elegance and class, your experience here will be nothing short of luxurious.

Village in Taiwan has dozens of anime and children’s characters painted on its houses!

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RocketNews 24:

Don’t you agree that our surroundings influence our mood? Being in a bright, vibrant environment usually makes one feel more positive and happy, and the positive energy in us in turn has the power to influence the mood of others around us.

A small village in Tainan City of Taiwan has been attracting attention online and attracting visitors because of the cheerful vibes that emanate from its brightly colored walls. With walls covered in colorful paintings of SpongeBob, Totoro, Doraemon and other characters and motifs, there’s no doubt this village must be a happy place!

Now more famously known as Cai Hui Cun (彩繪村), which literally means “painted village,” Hujia Village, located in the Shanhua District of southern Taiwan, used to be a quiet, rundown district until about a year ago. Since then it has blossomed into a vibrant tourist spot that continues to see an increasing number of visitors each day, and it’s said that property prices have even risen, thanks to its brilliantly painted walls. What’s more impressive than the numerous wall murals is the fact that this amazing transformation started with a home project that stemmed from the filial piety of five sisters.

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According to Yahoo News Taiwan, some time last year, the Li sisters, who spent a couple of their childhood years living in Hujia Village, went back to the village to visit their grandmother. The trip back to the old village brought back fond memories of when their grandmother used to care for them, and that triggered Fan Ting Li’s inspiration to paint the outer walls of her grandmother’s house as a way to express her gratitude to her 86-year-old granny.

With no experience or training in painting wall murals, the Li sisters had a rough start. The elderly woman watched with worry as Fan Ting and her sisters, Hui Qing, Guan Yu, Qing Yan and Wei Zhen, spent long hours under the scorching sun, and asked her “silly granddaughters” to give up on the idea several times, but the sisters were determined to complete their project.

Studio Ghibli murals

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Residents of the village gazed upon them with curiosity and doubt at first, but were eventually moved by their passion, and some even volunteered to join them. Their little home project gradually spread throughout the village, and their painting team once grew to the size of 18 members coming from all walks of life, including an eight-year-old elementary school girl.

▼ Western influences

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Watching as the voluntary painting team contributed their time, effort and money to beautifying their village, the other villagers too, often contributed to their cause by bringing them snacks and beverages. There have also been private companies that donated items to aid in the decoration of the walls, but due to the residents’ limited funds, they narrowed down their mural locations to the houses of elderly residents who lived alone, hoping to brighten up their days.

▼ Japanese anime characters

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Since word of the painted village spread across cyberspace, tourists from near and far have begun visiting the village, not only bringing some liveliness to the once-sleepy place, but boosting profits for local businesses as well. The local authorities have since acknowledged the efforts put into Hujia Village, and have given their word to contribute to the beautifying and expansion of the painted village.

▼ Chinese motifs.

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The Li sisters and their team of mural maestros can still be spotted creating more wall paintings in the village on weekends. If you’re interested in stopping by, the location details are below! Although the area has pretty much turned into a tourism spot, bear in mind that these murals are painted on actual residences, so it would only be nice to show some consideration for their residents, just as you probably wouldn’t appreciate strangers littering or creating a racket outside your house.

Village information:
台南市善化區胡家里300號 (陽明國小)
Tainan City, Shanhua District, 300 Hujia Village (Yang Ming Elementary School)
*Note: The Painted Village is in the vicinity of the elementary school.

 

Look out for this school as a landmark to guide you to the Painted Village.

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Anime/animation worlds collide when Disney Artist combines ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ with ‘Big Hero 6′ 

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 Audrey Magazine:

Big Hero 6‘s Baymax is easily one of the most beloved animated characters of 2014. What’s not to love about this personal healthcare provider? He’s big, huggable and has a warm heart (metaphorically speaking).

But as we list all these lovable traits, it’s a little hard not to think about another popular animated character. Sure he’s decades older, but Studio Ghibli’s Totoro certainly holds many of the same qualities found in Baymax.

Jin Kim, the Character Design Supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Studios, certainly seemed to see the correlation as well. Kim, a South Korean-native who worked on the character designs for Big Hero 6, has made it clear on his personal blog that he is a Studio Ghibli fan. He took this one step further by combining Big Hero 6 with the famed animated film My Neighbor Totoro.

Kim originally posted this image back in November, but it has recently gone viral on twitter and has delighted the hearts of many.

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Here is the original, iconic bus stop scene from My Neighbor Totoro.

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Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen artists recreate this bus stop scene. Hayao Miyazaki’s work has been so inspiring, we’ve seen this moment re-imagined with everything from Pokemon characters to Marvel characters.

 

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Totoro Creampuffs!

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FoodBeast:

These Totoro Creampuffs are from Shiro Hige, a cream puff factory out of Tokyo that doesn’t fare well when hit with Google Translate.

The important thing is blogger and published author Stephanie Le captured their beauty for the world to see. Pictured are a couple of puffs filled with chestnut custard creme and the other is vanilla.

If you don’t live anywhere near Tokyo and you’re interested in making your own, BentoMonsters.com has an almost-as-cute recipe.

New Totoro plush is super pricey, rarer than an encounter with the big guy himself

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RocketNews 24:

As fictional (sorry, I mean completely real and definitely not made up) creatures come, furry forest spirits like Studio Ghibli’s Totoro are pretty rare to begin with. Heck, even the theme song to My Neighbor Totoro tells us that we can only see them when we’re “very young”, so it’s not like we’re tripping over the things in the street.

But if you’re the kind of person who simply must have every piece of high quality Ghibli merch, the rarer the better, then this limited edition plush is definitely one you’ll want to look out for.

The product of a collaboration between Studio Ghibli and the Japanese arm of German plush toy company Steiff, this 25-cm (9.8 inches) handmade Totoro plush is set to go on sale in Japan sometime in June 2015 and will cost a whopping 42,000 yen (US$361).

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The price, however, isn’t the only hurdle that would-be buyers will have to overcome. Only 1,500 units of the cuddly toy will be made, with each one stamped with an individual serial number to prove its authenticity and uniqueness. Sure, 1,500 cuddly toys may sound like a lot at first, but when you consider that the population of Japan (all of them Ghibli fans from birth, of course) currently stands at roughly 127.6 million, you’ll realise just how tricky it will be to get hold of one of these things.

Orders for the rarer-than-rare forest spirits will reportedly start being taken “one day soon”, but whether that means sometime this week or by the end of the month is anyone’s guess, so if you’re in the market for one you’d better keep a keen eye on Steiff Japan’s homepage.

Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”

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RocketNews 24:

 

Legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki is in Los Angeles right now, as he’s making a rare trip to the U.S. to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. While we’re sure plenty of fans are excited to see Japanese animation’s most respected figure receive such a prestigious honor, there’s something else for them to be happier about: Miyazaki’s statement that he’s not even close to done making anime.

The Studio Ghibli cofounder has been retired from the business of making full-length, commercial movies for some time now. Be that as it may, it raised peoples’ eyebrows, not to mention hopes, when veteran Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki casually mentioned that Miyazaki still spends every day at the production house he helped build.

Even though Suzuki relayed conversations he’d had with Miyazaki about the possibility of crafting an anime in some format other than a theatrical release, the director himself had remained mum on the subject in his public statements. That changed during an interview with AP reporters ahead of the Academy’s November 8 awards ceremony, in which Miyazaki said:

“I’m going to continue making anime until I die.”

In stark contrast to the complex themes of Miyazaki’s films and even personal life, the sentiments behind his declaration are as pure and straightforward as can be. “I like creating stories and drawing pictures,” he explained.

 

Unlike Totoro, Miyazaki has no time to rest.

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He went on to reveal that planning has begun for a Miyazaki-helmed short to screen at the Saturn Theater inside Tokyo’s Ghibli Museum. While Ghibli’s films have been the Japanese movie industry’s closest thing to a license to print money, Miyazaki’s cut of prior box office revenues, not to mention Ghibli’s massive merchandising arm, mean that he’s not worried about passing up the economic gains of a general release. As a matter of fact, he’d prefer to not think about money at all, stating that “Not having to worry about whether it will be a financial success or not is a big plus.”

 

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If you’re guessing that this is a way for him to get his creative juices flowing again before jumping back into full-length films, though, you’re in for a disappointment. Miyazaki reiterated that he’s done with that, saying he wants to “leave such things to the next generation of animators.”

Again, the project is only in the planning stage, and no timetable as to when it’ll be ready has even been hinted at, meaning it could be years until it’s ready to screen. Still, for many anime fans, a long wait for a Miyazaki short sounds like a pretty good deal.