It’s been almost a year since Studio Ghibli announced it was halting production after director Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement, and also since the studio’s most recent movie, When Marnie Was There, played in theaters. However Yoshiharu Sato, one of the studio’s animators who helped direct and design My Neighbor Totoro and served as a key animator for Porco Rosso and The Secret World of Arriety, has given Ghibli animation fans something to look forward to with his recent work on Francois company’s Slow Bread commercial series.
Sato is a prominent animator who initially began building his career in the late ’70s with anime series such as Anne of Green Gables and Galaxy Express 999. Later becoming a key animator for Nippon Animation and Studio Ghibli, Sato then went on to work as an animator for Walt Disney Japan and game developer Taito.
His recent work with Francois included developing characters Cassis, her mother, architecture student Arles, and brother and sister Will and Elena to help promote the company’s all-natural Slow Bread series. According to the series’ web site, Cassis’s mother opened up a bakery after her father passed away, and is raising 17-year-old Cassis all by herself. Her mother prides herself on using all natural ingredients and yeast at their family bakery, and Cassis enjoys helping her mother out by making morning deliveries. Though any direct connection between the other characters and Cassis and her mother have yet to be introduced, they all share the same love of naturally baked bread.
Speaking of which, the bread looks just as good as the animation, so we don’t recommend watching these commercials on an empty stomach!
Judging by Francois’s commercial history, it appears Sato has been working with the company over the past few years to promote a number of their different bread line-ups, although this particular series isn’t his only commercial animation collaboration. Earlier this year he teamed up with Satsuma Shuzo Co. to direct a commercial for their Satsuma Shiranami sweet potato shochu.
Francois’s most recent Slow Bread commercial started airing on May 7, but as of now the company’s commercials can only be seen on TV in Fukuoka. Despite this, the company seems to have hit upon a successful theme and has so far received an overwhelmingly positive response. Wallpapers are also available for download here on Francois Slow Bread web site.
Fans of Studio Ghibli can only hope that the company might eventually try go the way of Glico and their Princess Onaka series and eventually enlist Sato or other animators to start making full episodes. Either way, it’d be nice to see more beautifully animated commercials on TV like these. What kind of product would you like to see advertised in Studio Ghibli-esque style? Let us know in the comments!