Hayao Miyazaki has created some of anime’s more memorable characters, winning legions of fans all around the world. As such you would imagine that along with the thousands of pieces of fan art, an aspiring sculptor somewhere would pick up the gauntlet and recreate some of them in three dimensions.

One sculptor answered that call, and set out to make the ultimate Ghibli character from clay: Mr. Miyazaki himself… We hear his friends say he’s “a real character.”

The artist, who goes by the handle of Nendojin, uploaded the process in a slide show video called “I tried to make Hayao Miyazaki out of clay.” The video description explains the reason for the artist’s unlikely muse.

“Until now, I was thinking about making a Ghibli character, but when Miyazaki announced his retirement from animated features, I thought it was a good opportunity to try to make him.”

The video shows us the process, starting with several scaled lumps of clay.

Then how Nendojin carefully examined photos of Miyazaki to discover that he’s actually Michael Chikilis in disguise.

Next, the “Miyazaki” disguise is applied.

After that, the main part of the body is crafted with the same loving detail as the head, capturing all the wrinkles of the great artist’s typical workshop clothing.

Clay Miyazaki was also given clay glasses, pencils, and a desk.

Next it was time to add color. Nendojin used layered acrylic paints to add warmth to the animator’s face.

And of course, clay Miyazaki is given the tools of the trade: pencils and a carton of Seven Stars cigarettes.

Finally, all that’s left is to put it all together.

Viewers were overwhelmingly pleased with the finished work saying it was “great”; “Ghibli’s greatest character”; and “good enough to be put on a monument if he dies.” While that last comment was a little morbid, we can’t help but agree with the general sentiment.

Source: Nico Nico Douga via Netlab (Japanese)