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


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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:


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:


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.


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




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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Studio Ghibli’s “The Tale of Princess Kaguya” nominated for Academy Award

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We’re just about a month away from the 87th Academy Awards presentation, and if you’re a general cinema fan, odds are you’ve been looking forward to the event. However, if the only thing that can make you take a trip to the theater is a screening of a Studio Ghibli anime, you might not have been expecting too much from the gala to be held at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theater.

Ghibli’s newest film, When Marnie Was There, hasn’t been getting the sort of rave reviews of a Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke. Six months after its Japanese release, Marnie is mostly forgotten in its home country and still unreleased in North America, making it ineligible for this year’s Oscar race.

Thanks to the time lag caused by international distribution, though, Ghibli does have one film eligible for the upcoming academy awards, and it just cleared the first hurdle with the Academy announcing The Tale of Princess Kaguya as a nominee in the Best Animated Feature Category.

Although Kaguya premiered in Japanese theatres in late 2013, it wasn’t until the following year that it arrived in North America. Helmed by Isao Takahata, the director best known for heart-rending Word War II tragedy Grave of the Fireflies, Kaguya is based on the Japanese folktale often referred to in English as The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.

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Many of Kaguya’s elements will be familiar to viewers who’ve read or know the basic structure of the 10th century literary classic it draws from. Its visual style, though, is unprecedented, composed of subdued colors and vaguely sketched outlines that are in stark contrast to the ultra-polished look of most other Studio Ghibli films.

Also nominated for Best Animated Feature are Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and Song of the Sea. Unlike Ghibli’s last shot at winning an Oscar, when Hayao Miyazaki’s swansong The Wind Rises got steamrolled by Frozen in 2014, none of Kaguya’s competitors completely set the world on fire (despite our growing infatuation with Big Hero 6’s Baymax). As such, what’s assumed by many to be Takahata’s final film has a fighting chance, although it will still have to overcome what seems to be a growing distaste in North America for non-CG animation.

▼ Since the establishment of the Best Animated Feature in 2001, Miyazaki’s Spirited Away is the sole hand-drawn film to win the award, and one of only two winners that weren’t computer animated.

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With Hayao Miyazaki retired from theatrical animation and having already received an honorary Oscar for his body of work, Marnie’s lukewarm reception, and the possible disbanding of Studio Ghibli as we know it, this may be the last opportunity for Japan’s most respected animation house to bring home the Academy’s highest honor. We’ll find out whether or not it did at the awards ceremony on February 22.

New trailer for upcoming Studio Ghibli film “When Marnie Was There”


Animation fans may have been discouraged when Studio Ghibli founder and filmmaking great Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement following last year’s debut of his final feature-length The Wind Rises, but the upcoming When Marnie Was There looks set to inspire those pangs of sadness and wonder you’ve come to associate with the studio’s productions.

When Marnie Was There is the second directorial venture by Hiromasa Yonebayashi following his 2010 Ghibli release The Secret World of Arrietty and while the trailer doesn’t yet sport subtitles or dubbing, the premise is clear enough.

Like his last film, Yonebayashi has based the narrative on an old British children’s novel. This time, the story focuses on an unwell girl named Anna who meets Marnie while being treated at a seaside town.

According to an anonymous Studio Ghibli insider, When Marnie Was There could be the last film released by the studio before it shuts production and shifts to purely managing its copyrights.

This change would most likely be due to the increasing difficulty of maintaining high quality animated movies produced entirely within Japan that yield profitably on a global scale.

This doesn’t mean that Marnie will be the last we’ll hear from Ghibli, though. The company is set to make the venture into television with upcoming series The Robber’s Daughter.

A global release date for Marnie hasn’t yet been announced but based on the interim of Studio Ghibli’s recent film releases between the Japanese premiere and localization, fans will probably have to wait until 2015 to see an English version.


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


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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



Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki retires as producer


Legendary Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki.

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65-year-old producer Toshio Suzuki is voluntarily stepping down from his position at Studio Ghibli, although he will assume the new title of “general manager.” Yoshiaki Nishimura will instead be the studio’s producer for Ghibli’s films going forward. Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi is adapting Joan G. Robinson‘s English children’s novel classic When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Marnie) for release this summer.

Suzuki co-founded Studio Ghibli with directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, and he served as its president. Former Walt Disney Japan president Koji Hoshino succeeded Suzuki as Ghibli’s president in 2008, although Suzuki remained as producer for all of Ghibli’s feature films until last year. Thanks to Suzuki’s frequent television appearances and his Sunday radio program Suzuki Toshio no Ghibli Asemamire, the Sports Hochi newspaper describes him as the “face of Ghibli.”

Suzuki’s successor Nishimura made his debut as a producer on Takahata’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya, which opened last November. Suzuki was credited for just “project planning” on The Tale of Princess Kaguya, as he devoted himself to producing Miyazaki’s final feature film The Wind Rises.

For When Marnie Was There, Suzuki’s only roles were selecting the original work and main staff, and then deciding the budget and schedule. Nishimura is handling the actual day-to-day producing at the studio.

Miyazaki, Suzuki’s colleague for three decades, also retired from making feature films last September, although he is drawing a samurai manga on his own free time. Suzuki emphasized that his own decision to retire was not linked to Miyazaki’s. Instead, he hoped to step aside and boost the new era of Ghibli with “young strength” such as 36-year-old Nishimura and 40-year-old Yonebayashi.

Suzuki was born in Aichi Prefecture on August 19, 1948. He graduated from Keio University with a bachelor of arts degree in 1972 and then joined the publisher Tokuma Shoten. He worked at the Weekly Asahi Geinō magazine before he helped launch Animage magazine and served as its second editor-in-chief.

In fact, Suzuki was editing Animage when Miyazaki started serializing the landmark Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind manga in its pages. Suzuki served as Tokuma’s production committee member on the subsequent Nausicaä anime film, and then participated in the founding of Studio Ghibli in 1985. He officially moved from Tokuma Shoten to Studio Ghibli in 1989 to produce all of its films ever since. He began serving as the studio’s president, in addition to his other duties, in 2005.

Suzuki attended the Academy Awards ceremony last weekend on behalf of Ghibli and The Wind Rises, which had earned a Best Animated Feature Film nomination. He appeared at a symposium with the other Animated Feature nominees in a traditional Japanese happi coat. There, he said that Miyazaki wanted to make “Ponyo Part II,” but Suzuki asked the director to adapt his own manga Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises) instead.

Suzuki just accepted The Wind Rises Japan Academy Prize for Best Animated Feature Film on Friday. In his acceptance speech, he drily observed that he learned his lesson — his studio should not make two films in the same year.

Source: Sports Hochi via Hachima Kikō

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Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki retires as producer