The photos on this page are from a visit to an exhibition entitled The World of Studio Ghibli’s Animation. This Hong Kong exhibit featured dioramas based on some of animation studio’s most popular anime. It was a pleasant trip down memory lane for fans of director Hayao Miyazaki.
However, there was one flaw with the exhibition. The human characters didn’t look very good. The problem was the human figures had the very smooth features of their animated counterparts, but they inhabited very detailed, textured and realistic settings. The contrast was unsettling. The curators seemed to be aware of this problem and compensated for it by putting some of the human characters in the shadows or by placing the figures so that they faced away from the viewer.
There were three main dioramas for Spirited Away: the interior of the train, the exterior of the witch Yubaba’s bathouse and Yubaba’s office.
Princess Mononoke is my favorite anime. It”s action-packed and gives both sides in the conflict—San and the forest gods versus Lady Eboshi and the residents of Irontown— their own benevolent (though clashing) motivations..
My Neighbor Totoro
This anime—about two young girls vising the countryside and encountering the magical creatures there while their mother recuperates in hospital— was a breakthrough hit for Studio Ghibli
Kiki’s Delivery Service
This is an anime about a young trainee witch, who, as part of her training, has to go to another town and lead an independent life.
Let’s have Wikipedia sum up the plot of this anime for us: “The plot revolves around an Italian World War I ex-fighter ace, now living as a freelance bounty hunter chasing ‘air pirates in the Adriatic Sea. However, an unusual curse has transformed him into an anthropomorphic pig. Once called Marco Pagot, he is now known to the world as “Porco Rosso”, Italian for ‘Red Pig’ or ‘Red Pork’.”
Howl’s Moving Castle
This anime is based on Diana Wynn Jones novel of the same name. It tells the story of Sophie, a young woman who is transformed into an old lady by a witch and who then falls in with Howl, a wizard who is trying to avoid getting involved in his kingdom’s war.
This is an underrated anime about tanuki (also known as racoon dogs), who rediscover their shapeshifting abilities in order to fight against human encroachment.
Laputa: Castle in the Sky
To conclude, here are dioramas based on Laputa: Castle in the Sky.
Studio Ghibli Merchandise (other stores)
At the exhibition there was a lot of merchandise available. I didn’t buy anything at that time, but I got a plush doll for my school’s English Corner from a local Studio Ghibli store. In our English Corner, we have a lot of Studio Ghibli DVDs for students to borrow.
During a visit to Kyoto, I also stopped by the Studio Ghibli store there. I found the planters quite attractive.
The photos of exhibition are available in higher resolution (2048 x 1365) at:
- Flickr: The World of Studio Ghibli’s Animation (47 images)
- Google Photos: The World of Studio Ghibli’s Animation (47 image)
- Why would an exhibition like this be appealing to fans of the anime?
- Would the exhibition be of any interest to people who have not seen the anime? Why/why not?
- How can the exhibition artists solve the problem of having simple human figures in realistic, detailed and settings?
Create a diorama! A diorama is simply a three-dimensional model of a scene. People who are into making models as a hobby often create dioramas to showcase their models.
~text and photos by longzijun
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