If you think about films like ‘Spirited Away‘ and where they have come from, well Studio Ghibli is the answer. In an area called Mitaka, again in north west Tokyo just before I visited Nakano, is the Ghibli Museum and what can only be described as ‘magical‘. With obtaining tickets like trying to get into the Kremlin, the Ghibli Museum is the public’s chance to get to see what Studio Ghibli do and how they work creating such epic animations like Spirited Away, Prince Mononoke and Yadosagashi (the second animation in the video) and one which has now become my favourite. It can be seen here.
The museum itself felt like stepping into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory but for Ghibli, with three floors and sky walkways and an exciting atmosphere so apparent in everyone’s faces. On the first floor there was a wonderful series of studio rooms, with original drawings, photograph folios, ink colours, old film strips, boxes of used pencils, celluloid drawings, and quirky items for the people to see. This was followed by a trip right to the top of the museum to visit the Ghibli guardian robot which was the best photograph opportunity as unfortunately you weren’t allowed to take photos inside, I did manage to get a few sneaky snaps however.
I headed upstairs to the ‘Ponyo on the Cliff‘ area of the museum where there was lots of interactive flip books, film clips being shown, models, and probably the best bit of it, a glass case, well I say case, I mean more of a cargo hold’s worth of all the drawings and storyboards stacked on top of each other that made the animation. The space was probably about 12′ x 5′ x 4′ high! I then took a look at the Wallace & Gromit section. I’m not sure whether Ghibli had involvement with the hit animation, or whether it was taking a look at the future of animation, but again there was some great things on display.
I then went onto to take a look at the museum shop and separate book shop, which, as you can imagine was packed with people lapping up Ghibli memoribilia. I bought a Yadosagashi short book. There is a great cat bus play area for kids which I wish could take adults on it as well as it looked so much fun and then finally onto the screening of Yadosagashi down in the Saturn Theatre. Just a wonderful and simple animation that has everything you’d want in it. A quick walk around the outside sections of the museum and it was time to leave. If you are ever visiting Tokyo this is a 100% must to see! I have also contacted Studio Ghibli to see if I can take a look around the actual studio, but that may be harder than getting into the White House; we will have to see.
You can see some more photographs of the Ghibli Museum and what else I’ve been spotting in Tokyo on my Flickr page here.