spirited away

Shimotsuki Matsuri: The extraordinary winter festival that inspired Ghibli’s ‘Spirited Away’

Shimotsuki Festival is held every December in the remote mountains of Nagano Prefecture, Japan. But as well as locals, the festival also attracts visitors from farther afield, all ooking for the magic and fantasy of the world of Studio Ghibli.

That’s because this ancient festival, featuring boiling cauldrons and dancing monsters, has an unlikely and little-known claim to fame: it inspired Hayao Miyazaki to make Spirited Away.

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A Ghibli mystery solved — the identity of exotic looking food in Spirited Away revealed!

If you’re a Ghibli fan, chances are you’ve been fascinated on more than one occasion by the various colorful and tantalizing foods that appear in their films. Perhaps you’ve even seen some of the dishes recreated in real life. And then there are those mysterious looking foods, the identity of which we quite aren’t sure, like this stretchy, jelly-like translucent item that Chihiro’s father is seen eating in the film Spirited Away. Well, word on the Japanese Internet recently has it that the mystery as to what that food is has finally been solved.

Care to take a guess what it is? We’ll give you a hint: it’s not a Japanese dish!

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Lego models of Ghibli characters pay tribute to Hayao Miyazaki

It’s been an emotional week for fans around the world after news broke about the possible closure of Studio Ghibli’s production department. Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki thankfully cleared up some of the misconceptions out there, and while we’re still left with many unanswered questions, his words left us with a glimmer of hope that even the great Hayao Miyazaki himself may be back to make a short animated film in the near future.

Miyazaki himself has publicly stated that last year’s The Wind Rises would be his final feature-length film, even if he continues making short films after retirement. So how do you pay tribute to a man whose career spans decades and who created some of the most beloved movies around the world? Well, one fan’s idea to build Lego models of his famous characters and a bust of the master himself seems like a good start!  

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This is what happens when you give a Ghibli character a typical anime haircut

With all the recent rumors about Studio Ghibli possibly shutting down or being bought out by another media company – which, thankfully, turned out to be a hoax – we’ve  been taking a lot of time out to take stock of what it is that makes Studio Ghibli and studio founder Hayao Miyazaki so special.

Certainly, Miyazaki’s films are at least a cut or two above other critically acclaimed anime films and are far and away higher in both visual and narrative quality than most of the anime you’ll see on TV.

But one Japanese Twitter user with a copy of Photoshop thought most anime does at least one thing better than Ghibli: anime hair.

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Bring the boiler room of Spirited Away to virtual life with Oculus Rift

The commercial release of the virtual reality headset known as Oculus Rift should be just around the corner, and with the technology looks to be something great allowing you to do everything from being Hatsune Miku to sleeping next to Hatsune Miku, we’re sure that gamers and fans of gadgets alike are positively itching to get hold of it.

Until then, those of us not willing to shell out for a developers’ kit will have to bide our time with YouTube testimonials such as this one done by Cymatic Bruce. In the video Bruce takes us on a virtual tour of none other than the boiler room setting from Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. Even better, the way he presents it allows us all to watch in 3D without the need for an Oculus Rift or any special equipment.

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Some of the best Studio Ghibli cosplay we’ve ever seen 【Photos】

Cosplayers mimicking the characters from Studio Ghibli’s timeless animated creations is nothing new, but the following photos, which were shared by Japanese compilation site Naver Matome and are generating a lot of heat online today, simply blew us away. Covering Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke and more, these high-quality photos show how Ghibli cosplay really ought to be done, and with their vivid colours and incredible costumes are a true pleasure to behold.

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The animated meals in Ghibli’s movies have our mouths watering

Ghibli films are celebrated the world over for their enchanting art, beautiful world-building, and family friendly plotlines. Stylistically, there are many things that set these movies apart from other animated titles, both in terms of common themes and art quality. The backgrounds will be scenic. The children will fly. Tears will fall like big, fat drops, and the food will always, always look enticing.

Latching on to that latter truth, Japanese news source My Navi Woman asked its readers which of Ghibli’s mouth-watering morsels they would most like to eat. 225 women responded, leading us to six of the most desirable dishes featured in Ghibli films.

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【Photos】 Taiwan’s Jiufen — the Real-World Inspiration for Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away

Studio Ghibli’s visually stunning animated movie Spirited Away has long been this writer’s personal favourite. Its Alice in Wonderland-style adventure, the enchanting characters, the enormous, bustling bathhouse and of course the piles of mouth-watering food have had me going back to the movie time and time again since its release in 2001.

Little did I know, however, that the mountain region of Jiufen, situated just 30 kilometres from Taiwan’s capital city, is where creator Hayao Miyazaki drew much of his inspiration for the film.

Come with us now as we pair the many sights and scenes from the enchanting animated movie with their real-life counterparts.

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