Those of you fortunate enough to have been introduced to Studio Ghibli’s animated feature films will know that they’re of the highest quality and easily rival Disney’s own productions.
Back in my native UK, comparatively few people have met with Ghibli’s heart-warming animated creations, with some people, in fact, falling into the trap of thinking that anything foreign and “a bit manga” is probably not for them. Thanks to the UK’s relative reluctance to embrace the movies, it was not until I was 15 years old when, one rainy Sunday afternoon, My Neighbor Totoro was shown on cable TV that I first became aware of Hayao Miyazaki’s work. At the time, I had no idea what I was watching, but have been a huge fan ever since.
Over in the studio’s native Japan, however, Studio Ghibli has become something of a national treasure since its establishment in 1985, with the studio’s near-annual releases always eagerly awaited, and usually met with both an abundance of praise and mounds of cash.
For most Japanese, Ghibli characters like My Neighbor Totoro’s Satsuki and Mei, Spirited Away’s Chihiro, or broomstick-riding Kiki from the movie of the same name, form a part of their childhood or are attached to fond memories, perhaps even more-so than Mickey, Donald and pals are toWesterners.
So when one hawk-eyed Twitter user suggested that perhaps certain Ghibli characters have cropped up in more than movie without us realising it, internet users understandably paid attention…
Imagine if you discovered that Beauty and the Beast‘s Belle was the granddaughter of Ariel from The Little Mermaid? Or if Aladdin turned out to be the great grandson of Flynn Rider from Tangled? Or if Simba from The Lion King was actually grew up to become King Richard in Robin Hood!? OK maybe that last one’s a stretch…
But one Japanese Twitter user may well have stumbled upon an interesting connection in the Studio Ghibli movies…
Could it really be that childhood pals Sousuke and fish-girl Ponyo from 2008 film Ponyo on the Cliff…
… actually grow up to become the husband and wife bakers from Kiki’s Delivery Service!?
They certainly look petty similar! Have we stumbled upon something here!?!
The characters are literally fictional worlds apart, and in terms of personality, it’s hard to imagine that brave, outspoken Sousuke from Ponyo on the Cliff would grow up to become the mild-mannered, tight-mouthed baker, but there is a definite similarity between the character models… Perhaps human Ponyo’s antics finally wore him down and he’s reduced to kneading bread in silent reflection on his life and the fact that his wife used to be a fish?
Ghibli’s animation is held dear by so many that entire urban legends about a number of the movies have surfaced over the years, including one that cuddly forest creature Totoro is, in fact, a death god who can only be seen by people who are either close to death or already deceased. In June this year, however, Ghibli went on record to state that this was not that case and to ask whether we could all kindly lighten up a bit, but that won’t stop the fans wondering and finding new thoeries to focus on!
▼”The unknown truth”▼
Faced with this shocking new revelation, Japan’s Twitter-using Ghibli fans were understandably excited by the idea that some of their favourite characters could have made a subtle reappearance, or at least that Miyazaki’s team could be re-using character models in a quiet nod to preceding movies.
“Is this for real? Could it possibly be true!?”
“Hahaha this is awesome!”
“Woah, woah, woah- Osono-san’s pregant in the movie, too, right!?”
The news, whether true or not, has delighted countless fans across the country, and is perhaps not entirely dissimilar to how Star Wars fans might feel if they learned that an adolescent Han Solo can be spotted twelve minutes and thirty seconds into The Phantom Menace, or that Chewbacca’s father plays the part of a rug in the fourth movie…
There is, however, always one wet blanket at every party, and Twitter is no exception, as we see here when one Ghibli fan chimes in point out a flaw in the argument:
“Sorry, but as a long-time Kiki fan, I have to point out that the movie wasn’t even an original creation of Studio Ghibli, so the chances of this being ‘true’ are pretty slim.”
Source: Byoukan Sunday Title image: Kiki’s Delivery Service (C) Studio Ghibli