Director of the new animated film Moonlight Palace responds to allegations that his movie bears suspicious similarities to Ghibli’s masterpiece, Spirited Away.

Did the creator of this new Korean animated film deliberately copy elements of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film, Spirited Away? That’s what a growing number of commentators are saying ahead of his new film’s September 7th release.

▼ Looks like No-Face heard about it too…

#spiritedaway #hayaomiyazaki

A photo posted by Valdas Bagdonas (@valdasbagdonasphotography) on

The Korean film, called “dal-bich-goong-gwol” (lit. “Moonlight Palace,”)  tells the story of a 13-year-old girl who experiences an adventure in a mysterious fantasy world after being spir—err, magically transported to Changdeok Palace. Though the movie includes some cute characters and fun looking scenes, some people aren’t so charmed and are calling it an inferior knock-off.

The people that say this work rips off the Japanese work cite a number of scenes that bear shots with compositional similarities, as well as characters that share more than a passing resemblance to those in the Ghibli film.

▼Some have compared these to the susuwatari soot monsters in Spirited Away

Screen shot 2016-09-03 at 11.10.46 AM

Stills taken from promotional clips of the Korean film also include a young, female protagonist who resembles Chihiro, and a young man that looks very similar to the protagonist’s friend, Haku, right down to the white and blue color of his clothing.

▼See the trailer for the new movie and judge for yourself!

The director, Kim Hyun-Ju-I, subsequently responded to these allegations by saying he was surprised that people were rushing to judgement based on the promotional trailer alone. He followed this remark by insisting that, once people saw the actual film, they would quickly change their minds.

▼ The English trailer for Spirited Away

Korean commenters were not convinced, however. One user quipped that they thought it was like “season 2 of Spirited Away,” while another wrote that “it probably wasn’t on purpose,” but that the creator might’ve unconsciously been influenced by the famous Japanese film. Others were quick to point out the movie poster, which includes the young girl riding on a dragon in a moment reminiscent of the famous scene in Spirited Away in which Sen rides on her friend Haku, who has transformed into his dragon form.

▼Official poster for Moonlight Palace


Derivative or not, it’s fair to say that people shouldn’t rush to judgement until they’ve at least seen the actual film, which comes out this week!

Sources:, Hancinema
Top image: Youtube/ItsNEWKorea
Images:  Youtube/ItsNEWKorea, Hancinema