Luca is probably the closest Pixar will get to making a Studio Ghibli film. That’s probably not a huge swing to make — the creatives at Pixar have long been fans of the works of Hayao Miyazaki and the anime studio that he co-founded, frequently citing films like Kiki’s Delivery Service and Spirited Away as influences for their own award-winning films. But there’s a certain feeling with Ghibli films that is hard to express. A nostalgia, a serenity of spirit, a bittersweet simplicity that has been consistent with most of the films from the renowned Japanese animation studio. And Luca gets pretty close to achieving that (at least in the 30 minutes of footage that this reporter watched for an early press presentation dedicated to the Pixar film).

And that was intentional, according to Luca animation supervisor Mike Venturini. The director of LucaEnrico Casarosa, grew up watching some of the earliest TV works of Miyazaki and his frequent collaborator Isao Takahata, like Future Boy Conan and 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother, and that love for all things Miyazaki bled into Luca.

“That really comes from Enrico’s love for those films and how it’s influenced him as a filmmaker,” Venturini told /Film in an interview over Zoom. “We use the word lyrical to describe his storytelling. It’s very rhythmic and get can get quiet at times.”

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