Although The Wind Rises, the last anime directed by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, was released in North America back in February, it wasn’t until this month that the film premiered in the UK. To celebrate, Birmingham-based digital artist Richard Evans wanted to recreate some of his favorite scenes from the collected works of Studio Ghibli.
Since the subject material includes many of the most respected animated films to ever come out of Japan, Evans wanted to do something appropriately classic yet creative, which led him to create this awesome set of Ghibli pixel art.
Technically, 1984’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind isn’t a Studio Ghibli production, as its release predates the founding of the anime studio most associated with Miyazaki by a year. Still, a number of key Nausicaa staff members went on to establish Studio Ghibli, so the film gets a pass.
The first official Ghibli release was Laputa: Castle in the Sky. From the gentle atmosphere crafted by Evans, you’d never guess the film has a body count in the hundreds.
As Studio Ghibli’s most instantly recognizable and universally loved character, we don’t think anyone will be sad about having a double dose of Totoro.
Yes, we realize little witch Kiki’s pixelized broom looks a little jagged, but this is still some impressive use of perspective.
1991’s Only Yesterday/Omoide Poro Poro often gets lost in the shuffle of more famous Ghibli films, and it suffers the same fate here, as Evans skips over it and goes next to Miyazaki’s tale of an anthropomorphic Adriatic aviator, Porco Rosso.
Remember how we said you’d never guess from the above image that so many people die in Laputa? In that same vein, this shot of the cast of Pom Poko doesn’t give you any clue as to the massive number of tanuki (raccoon-dog) testicles that appear during its 119-minute runtime.
For many fans outside Japan, 1997’s Princess Mononoke, which had a wider international release than any Ghibli film before, was their first exposure to the world of Miyazaki. Such was the case for Evans, who pays tribute to the dark fantasy with three pieces of art showing the film’s two central characters, their steeds, and the movie’s unforgettable kodama forest spirits.
Even among dedicated Ghilbi fans, most haven’t seen My Neighbors the Yamadas. Whether that’s true for Evans or not, he once again jumps ahead in the studio’s catalogue to the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away.
And while Evans is yet to produce any pixel art for 1995’s ironically depressing Whisper of the Heart/Mimi wo Sumaseba, he did put together a little something its spinoff, The Cat Returns, which came out in 2002.
It’s hard to get the cast and setting of Howl’s Moving Castle in the same picture, simply because of their difference in sizes. While this means more work for Evans, it also means more pictures for us to enjoy.
Even Goro Miyazaki’s own father doesn’t seem entirely convinced of his son’s directing chops, and it seems our artist friend is similarly unimpressed, since neither Tales from Earthsea or From Up on Poppy Hill get the pixel treatment. Miyazaki Senior’s kid-friendly Ponyo does, though, as does Arrietty.
And finally, the anime that got the ball rolling on this project in the first place, The Wind Rises.
Considering the soft, rounded look to Ghibli’s character designs and the inherently sharp-corners of pixels, Evans’ ability to combine the two so elegantly speaks volumes about his skill as an artist. With another Ghibli film, When Marnie Was There, set to hit theatres this summer, here’s hoping the new picture impresses Evans enough to make one more of his own.