With a life-sized Totoro, a cat bus for adults, and an enormous airship that floats up and down, this exhibition will spirit you away to the magical world of Ghibli.

After reading all the news updates and anxiously counting down the days to the opening of the long-awaited Ghibli Exhibition, our Japanese reporter Mr. Sato was lucky to attend a preview event without the crowds, thanks to his well-connected friend, Tadashi Nema, an online Japanese personality known for his hilarious Vine videos. Despite being worried about tainting the magical world of Ghibli with their “dirty middel-aged man-ness”, by the end of the viewing, the two loveable goofs felt like children again, enjoying everything on offer and revelling in the displays that spanned thirty years of animation from the acclaimed studio.

▼ Mr Sato poses in front of the entrance, decorated with the words「ジブリの大博覧会」”Ghibli no Dai Hakurankai” or “Ghibli’s Great Exhibition”


Despite concerns about standing out at the exhibit, the two reporters quickly realised that nobody would even notice them with all eyes glued to the impressive works surrounding them as they entered the event space.


▼ This huge poster for Studio Ghibli’s latest film, Red Turtle, towers over visitors as they enter the room.


And then, as they looked around the corner, the light-filled exhibit area revealed one of the most impressive works at the exhibition: the airship from Castle in the Sky.


Measuring roughly two-and-a-half metres high and six metres across, the replica has dozens of spinning propellors, making the ship appear as if it’s on a journey to Laputa, the Castle in the Sky.


And as if that wasn’t enough magic, the airship gently moves up and down in the centre of the room, making it look like it’s floating.



Our two reporters resisted the urge to grab onto the airship while shouting out lines from the film, instead moving on to the next section, where they met a friendly well-known face.


▼ Mr Sato does his best impression of Totoro, who now appears to be working at the counter of a cafe.


▼ The counter set-up protects Totoro from being suffocated by bear hugs from visitors.


▼ Close by, in their natural habitat – a dark corner of the room – are black Susuwatari, “Soot Sprites” from My Neighbour Totoro.


▼ And here they are again, scurrying away into the shadows in a different corner of the exhibition.


▼ Then it’s time to take in some of the many original poster designs advertising the animation studio’s films over the past thirty years.




▼ Being able to see original sketches and illustrations is a rare and unforgettable treat for fans.


▼ There are images from the 1984 film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind


▼ …the 1986 animated feature, Castle in the Sky


▼ …the 1988 classic, My Neighbour Totoro


▼… and the 2001 masterpiece, Spirited Away.


▼ Fans of the 1997 film, Princess Mononoke, can enjoy storyboards and sketches of scenes that appear in the animated movie.





▼ With so many movie releases, there’s a lot of image-heavy print advertising to enjoy too.


Nearing the end of the exhibition, Mr Sato and Mr Nema felt like joyous kids again, trying out some imitations of the fish-girl star of the 2008 film Ponyo.



By the time they got to the amazing Catbus for adults, they’d thrown all reservations out the window, eagerly jumping on board and taking over the ride, with Mr Nema grinning just as widely as the famous cheshire cat himself.




▼ Not to be outdone, Mr Sato also got on board, giving the giant feline a good pat on the head.



▼ We’ve seen Mr Sato’s infectious grin hundreds of times before, but we’ve never seen him this happy!



But with great happiness comes great sadness, as this picture at the exit shows. The sign, saying “Owari” or “The End“, appears like this at a film’s conclusion.


Even Mr Sato looked sad by the time he returned to the office, with only his new “Barusu” T-shirt to accompany him. As fans will know, “Barusu” is the incantation used to destroy Laputa, the flying castle in Castle in the Sky.


Awww, cheer up, sad reporters! With the exhibition running until 11 September, there are plenty more chances for you to revisit the world of Studio Ghibli. Plus, with the new Ghibli Museum re-opening on 16 July, who knows – you might be able to get a chance to preview that too!

Event information
Ghibli Exhibition ~ From Nausicaa to their newest work, The Red Turtle ~ / ジブリの大博覧会 ~ナウシカから最新作「レッドタートル」まで~
Location: Roppongi Hills Tokyo City View Observation Deck Sky Gallery
Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi 6-10-1, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower 52nd floor
東京都港区六本木6-10-1 六本木ヒルズ森タワー52階
Hours: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. (entry until 9:30 p.m.)
Dates: July 7 – September 11
Admission: 1,800 yen (US$17)

Photos © RocketNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]