ghibli museum virtual tour

The awe-inspiring worlds of Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki have always been a little hard to access, especially for those who aren’t living in Japan (or who didn’t collect all the DVDs back when they were released in the early 2000s). But 2020 and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic bring them a little closer to the rest of the world. Following the addition of all of Ghibli’s catalog to HBO Max, the Ghibli Museum is giving the internet a rare peek inside its foliage-covered doors with a virtual tour hosted on its YouTube channel.

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aya and the witch images

Studio Ghibli has built a reputation as being the last bastion for 2D animation, one of the final holdouts of that warm, whimsical, hand-drawn style before the entire animation industry succumbs to to the ease of CG animation. But the venerated Japanese animation studio, which has long stood in the shadow of co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, even closing its doors when the animation legend “retired” in 2013, needs to innovate too.

Ghibli has dabbled with 3D animation over the years, with Miyazaki using CG to animate the more intense sequences in Princess Mononoke and even creating a CG short film in 2018, Boro the Caterpillar. So a fully CG-animated feature film was only the next step for Studio Ghibli. But it wasn’t Hayao Miyazaki who would direct Ghibli’s first CG feature, but his son Goro Miyazaki, with the upcoming Aya and the Witch, based on the novel by Howl’s Moving Castle author Diana Wynne Jones. So what could Ghibli’s first fully CG-animated film look like? See for yourself with the first Aya and the Witch images below.

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Hayao Miyazaki short film

In January of 2019, we learned that legendary Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki and his filmmaker son, Goro Miyazaki, were working on new movies. The elder Miyazaki’s film still has years of work left before it will be completed, and the younger’s movie was previously shrouded in mystery. All we knew about it was that it would be a rare all-CG movie for the venerated Studio Ghibli, and that it was based on an English book about “a very wise girl.”

Today, more details came to light. Goro Miyazaki’s mysterious movie was announced as part of the 2020 Cannes Film Festival’s virtual lineup, and the title has been revealed: it’s called Aya to Majo, or Aya and the Witch, and it’s based on a book by the author of Howl’s Moving Castle, which Studio Ghibli adapted into a movie in 2004. Read More »

(Welcome to Pop Culture Imports, a column that compiles the best foreign movies and TV streaming right now.)

For the first time in its 36-year history of making some of the most breathtaking animated masterpieces of all time, all of Studio Ghibli‘s movies are available to stream right now. The Japanese animation studio best known for its adorable raccoon-like mascot and the acclaimed works of animation titan Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli is often written off as the maker of peculiar arthouse animes — too philosophical for western kids used to fast-paced Disney movies, and too anime for cinephiles. Well, I’m here to prove those hypothetical haters wrong. Or, at least, to lend a helping hand to those who are interested in diving into the works of Studio Ghibli, but are unsure about where to start or if the studio’s films will even appeal to them. I can assure you, of the 21 feature films (and one TV movie) released by Studio Ghibli since its inception in 1984, there will be something for you.

So in this week’s Pop Culture Imports, I’m shaking things up a bit and spiriting you away across the Pacific to give you a beginner’s guide to Studio Ghibli movies.

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how do you live

Hayao Miyazaki is a notoriously meticulous director. The formerly retired filmmaker oversees every key frame of his films, and has his hands on every part of the animation process. Naturally, that results in a famously slow production for many of the films of the legendary anime director behind Studio Ghibli classics like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and The Wind Rises. But they’re always worth the wait.

However, Miyazaki fans breathlessly waiting for his new film, How Do You Live?, a coming-of-age drama that brought the filmmaker out of retirement once again, will have to wait a little longer. Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki gave an update on the How Do You Live production, revealing that the upcoming film is still years away from being completed.

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Studio Ghibli fans, mark your calendars for two weeks from today. On Tuesday, December 17, 2019, the beloved Japanese animation studio will finally release its complete library of films on digital home media in the U.S. and Canada. Ghibli’s North American distributor, GKIDS, has announced through a press release that the studio’s entire catalogue will be available to download for the very first time on all major transactional platforms, including Apple TV, Amazon VOD, Vudu, Google Play, Sony, Microsoft, and Fandango Now.

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spirited away collector's edition

If, like me, you have watched your DVD copy of Spirited Away so much that the disc is scratched to the point of being unwatchable, you’re in luck. Hayao Miyazaki‘s Oscar-winning animated classis is getting a long-deserved collector’s edition that will be available in limited supply this November. Studio Ghibli is teaming up with GKIDS and distributor Shout! Factory to issue this Spirited Away collector’s edition, which includes a new 40-page book filled with beautiful art and essays, in addition to hours of special features and the film’s soaring soundtrack composed by longtime Miyazaki collaborator Joe Hisaishi.

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Toy story 4 china box office

It’s very rare for a film, animated or otherwise, to hold a candle to Pixar at the box office. But when you throw in a classic work by Hayao Miyazaki, it’s a different kind of contest. Pixar latest film, Toy Story 4, was a critically acclaimed guaranteed mega-hit that was sure to sweep the box office worldwide — except in one country. China, usually one of the biggest markets for Disney and Pixar releases, instead awarded the No. 1 spot to Spirited Away, Miyazaki’s 18-year-old film which just made its theatrical debut in the country this weekend.

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studio ghibli theme park

There’s no experience more magical than that of watching a Studio Ghibli film. But what about actually experiencing one? Studio Ghibli is bringing to life the works of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and its other renowned anime directors in the form of its long-awaited theme park, which is now officially in development thanks to the help of local partners in Japan. The unnamed Studio Ghibli theme park is scheduled to open in 2022.

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hayao miyazaki kingdom of dreams and madness

When Hayao Miyazaki comes back from retirement (again), he’s going to do it right. The animation legend has long had his hands in every detail of his productions, but as he nears 80, you would perhaps expect him to take it easy or slow down just a little. Nope. He’s been dubbed “The Never-Ending Man” for a reason, and this famously perfectionist filmmaker will take as long as he needs to complete his next movie, titled How Do You Live? Even if that means we have to wait another three to four years for it.

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