Above: The official Studio Ghibli Theme Park Logo
The upcoming inauguration of the Studio Ghibli Theme Park has kept fans counting down the days to when it becomes officially open for the public. Standing as a celebration of the creative works by Oscar-winning animator Hayao Miyazaki and a posthumous appreciation for Director Isao Takahata, this theme park lets the animated life of Miyazaki’s films to set itself in the real world.
While it was originally set to open in the year 2020, the construction of the amusement park has since been delayed with the official date of opening being revised to 2022. However, the famous Japanese animation studio has declared significant alterations to take place during the delayed period with the new conceptualized plan intending to bring a more interacting and exciting experience for fans and visitors. With so much kept in anticipation, here are everything you need to know about the new Studio Ghibli Theme Park before it opens.
Above: Concept art for the Big Ghibli Warehouse
What is in the Theme Park?
The park is completely based off the popular productions of Studio Ghibli, with the large portion of it being influenced by characters and designs taken from films such as Howl’s Moving Castle, Whisper of the Heart, My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. Taking a total of 500 acres of land, the amusement park will include architecture that is directly derived from those presented in the anime films, including brick building and other architectural artifacts. The park will also consist of specific areas that will be comprised of themed playing spaces and a few exhibitions and galleries to showcase replicas from the films as well as give visitors an in-depth look behind the production process.
Above: Plans for the Big Ghibli Warehouse
Above: Plans for the main gate
Because of its central focus being on creating a life-like experience for fans of the franchise, the Studio Ghibli Park will specifically concentrate on nature tracks where different elements of their films are laid out for fans to discover. There will also be statues that imitate the characters and components of the work of Studio Ghibli spread out in different locations in the expanse, including a Princess Mononoke Village complete with boars, demons and other exciting creatures from the film.
Above: Princess Mononoke Village concept art.
Where will it be located?
The Japanese government has officiated the location of the new Studio Ghibli Theme Park to be constructed at the Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park in Nagakute city. With the place being in the vicinity of a replica of the homes of two character in My Neighbor Totoro, the revelation of the official venue has received a lot of support from fans. Furthermore, this location had also attracted significant crowd previously where it had a fair hosted on its premises in 2005 which lead to a 22 million people in turnout.
Above: A real life recreation of the house from My Neighbor Totoro.
What is Studio Ghibli?Based in Tokyo, Japan, this particular film studio has garnered international interest with many being devoted to watching their productions. Founded in June 1985, Studio Ghibli created a name for itself in the hearts of youths with their beautifully curated anime feature films. Under the director and co-founder, Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli became notable for its emotionally invigorating and dynamically modelled films, of which certain names conjoined itself with international success. Famous productions such as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro were recognized with notable film awards, including the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film that was presented to Spirited Away in 2003.
The name Studio Ghibli derives from the Italian word Ghibli, which translates to a hot desert wind. Birthed from the mind of Hayao Miyazaki, his belief was that this production studio would ‘blow a new wind through the anime industry’. This was a belief that is well reinforced by the thousands who remain loyal to its productions and the numerous awards with which this studio has been received. Ultimately, Studio Ghibli has brought on a modern redefinition of anime, re-purposing its features and techniques to touch the hearts of millions who’ve watched and had the characters grow on to them.
What’s Next for Studio Ghibli?The park is essentially an homage to Miyazaki and his creative productions, branding him with the honor of being the most prolific and influential animators in the 21st century. Studio Ghibli underwent a number of ordeals, where succeeding the international recognition of Spirited Away through the Academy Award presentation, the studio was temporarily halted in production. This was in following to a retirement declaration from Miyazaki, as the second co-founder, Toshio Suzuki expressed concerns over the company’s future. With their decisions upsetting many fans, Studio Ghibli was faced with the frightening outcome of a conclusion in their productions.
Yet, in 2017, hope of a return for Studio Ghibli in the animation and film industry emerged and was quickly reinforced by Hayao Miyazaki reinstating his position as the Director in the studio. Miyazaki wanted to go out with one final production, which would launch in either 2019 or 2020. He has stated that this would be dedicated to his grandson and leaving a piece of him behind for his grandson to reminisce on when he’s older. This incredibly heart moving and yet, despairing gesture is one that has gnawed at the hearts of fans worldwide, especially due to the death of Isao Takahata.
Therefore, the new Studio Ghibli theme park doesn’t simply represent a physical embodiment of the life that takes place in the anime films, but also stands as the last remnant of the legend that Studio Ghibli is. This park gives fans closure as it gives Studio Ghibli one final way to say goodbye, at least for its creative masterminds that were Miyazaki and Takahata.