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Now in its 25th season — with a 26th on the way — The Simpsons has taken to producing elaborate homages to other works of entertainment. In October, the show's creators recruited Guillermo del Toro to put together a lengthy Halloween-themed intro sequence that toasted classic horror films and referenced the director's own work. Now The Simpsons has created a similar tribute to the films of Studio Ghibli's Hayao Miyazaki.

Miyazaki bid farewell to film-making last September after the Japanese release of Studio Ghibli's The Wind Rises. The director and animator is best known for his work creating anime as iconic and well-loved as My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, and the short Simpsons segment above — part of forthcoming episode "Married to the Blob" — is packed with references to his 11 movies. Highlights include Otto's stint as a Simpsons-ized Catbus, and Patti and Selma riding broomsticks borrowed from Kiki's Delivery Service. You'll be able to see the whole episode and pick out additional nods to the esteemed director and his influential animation studio this coming Sunday on FOX.

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Miyazaki Hayao’s latest animated film Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises) will start its domestic run in Japan from the 20th of July and publicity for the film has been in full swing for a while. I’ve collected a few clips in this post for your enjoyment, beginning with the trailer right below :

(above) Next up is a clip from the sound recording studio with Hideaki Anno (yes, the director of Evangelion) up as the voice of the lead character Jiro Horikoshi. Voice recording sessions are called “Ah-fu-re-ko” in Japan.

Part of the conversation between Anno-san and Miyazaki-san :

Anno-san : “I’ll do my best. (for the voice recordings) I can’t promise anything more !”

Miyazaki-san : “That’s fine. Suzuki-san (famous Ghibli producer) will take over you if can’t manage.” (Suzuki-san laughs in the background)

In their conversation, Miyazaki-san addresses Hideaki Anno as just “Anno”, without the honorific “-san”. If there’s anyone with the authority to do that, it’d be Miyazaki-san. :P

(above) In this next clip, Ghibli producer Suzuki-san makes an appearance on a Japanese variety program to promote the film and gives some background information regarding the story & characters.

The hiragana characters splashed acrossed the poster is handwritten by Suzuki-san, and is the tagline for the film “Ikineba” (loosely translating as “live on”).

The lead character Jiro Horikoshi is actually a combination of 2 historical characters that Miyazaki-san highly respect – the novelist Hiro Tatsuo & and the chief engineering of the WWII Japanese “Zero” fighter plane.

Suzuki-san also goes on the explain that all the sound effects (engines of the plane, etc) in the film are synthesized by voice actors. This is actually not new to Ghibli films as it has been done before on the Ghibli Museum short “House Searching”.

(above) Suzuki-san talks to actress Miori Takimoto, who voices the female lead Naoko Satomi, and also some behind the scenes in the voice recording studio. Apparently Miori-san was recommended for the role by Miyazaki-san’s mentor Takahata-san.

The storyboard book (drawn by Miyazaki-san) for Kaze Tachinu is now up for pre-orders on Amazon Japan, going on sale later in July. I believe the last storyboard book that Miyazaki-san drew was for Ponyo, and that was just spectacular.

I hope to get a copy of Kaze Tachinu soon to do a review.

Kaze Tachinu will take a while to reach screens outside of Japan, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it.

Sidenote : Otomo Katsuhiro’s animated film Short Peace is also starting it’s run on 20th of July. While the target audience/demographic is not exactly the same, its definitely going to face stiff competition from a Ghibli film.

Related Posts:



  1. Kaze Tachinu – Hayao Miyazaki’s New Film


  2. Studio Ghibli Layout Exhibition – A preview


  3. The Art Of Porco Rosso Book Review


  4. Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea


  5. Studio Ghibli – Brutus Magazine Special Part I
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