Ghibli fans have used their fertile imaginations to come up with multiple nightmare scenarios for the theme park based on the anime studio’s movies.

A lot of people are excited about the announcement that a Ghibli theme park, inspired by the animated films from the animation studio co-founded by legendary director Hayao Moyazaki, is going to be built in Japan. No other anime production house can boast the rich yet consistent design aesthetics and thematic elements that Studio Ghibli can, and the prospect of something like Tokyo’s amazing Ghibli Museum, but on a far grander scale, is enough to send shivers down the spine.

The park will be located on land that is currently part of Expo Park, near Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture. As the park is still several years away from opening, though, other details are still scarce, such as the park’s size and specific attraction plans.

And so it’s left for fans to daydream and speculate about what wonders await them. However, in what’s perhaps a fitting analogy for the sometimes thin line that separates childlike whimsy and sinister danger in Ghibli films, Japanese Twitter users have been sending out tweets with the hashtag konna Ghibli Park wa iya da,” or “I’d hate for the Ghibli Park to be like this.”

Let’s take a look at some of their fears, broken down by the anime from which they spring.

1. Spirited Away
What could go right:
● Japan’s highest domestic grossing film of all time and the only anime to win an Oscar is ripe with possibilities for the park. How about an interactive walk-through of Yubaba’s bathhouse, where you have to follow clues to remember your stolen name?
What could go wrong (according to Japanese Twitter users):
● The park employees could all be dressed like No-Face, and unable to communicate by anything other than croaking “ah…ahh…” sounds.
● If you eat any of the food sold in the park, you turn into a pig.
● As soon as you enter the park, an employee runs up to you and sternly tells you “You shouldn’t be here. Get out of here – now!”

2. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
What could go right:
Nausicaa contains the earliest big-screen examples of Miyazaki’s love of fantasy flight, so a ride in which you soar above and around the park on the titular princess’ glider would be thrilling.
What could go wrong:
● If you go more than five minutes within the park without wearing a gas mask, your lungs rot, like those who perish in the anime’s Sea of Corruption.
● There’s a ride that faithfully recreates the Seven Days of Fire which devastated human civilization.

3. Howl’s Moving Castle
What could go right:
● A large-scale recreation of the magician’s mysterious home, with an individual door that can lead to multiple destinations, would be cool, but so would a relaxing rest area where you can sit around the hearth and bask in the warm glow of fire demon Calcifer.
What could go wrong:
● The moving castle attraction is overly authentic, and is always on the move, meaning that park visitors can never actually reach it.

4. Pom Poko
What could go right:
● This often-overlooked Ghibli film from director Isao Takahata deals with the complex conflict between magical shape-shifting raccoon dogs and the expanding human communities that are encroaching upon the tanukis’ natural homeland. In light of that, a nature preserve for indigenous wildlife, occupying a part of the Ghibli theme park grounds, seems like an appropriate gesture.
What could go wrong:
● Every time you visit the Ghibli park, actual tanuki displaced by the park’s construction gather at the entrance and give you the evil eye as you walk through the gates.

5. Overall Ghibli theming
What could go right:
● Processions featuring the loveable characters created by Studio Ghibli, such as Totoro, the Catbus, flying witch Kiki, the elk Yakul from Princess Mononoke, and more.
What could go wrong:
● Parades like this.

6. Park longevity
What could go right:
● A place Ghibli fans can keep coming back to again and again, and where they can one day share their love of the anime classics with their children and their children’s children.
What could go wrong:
● Taking a page from Hayao Miyazaki’s multiple retirements, every few years the park announces “We’ll be shutting down the park permanently.”

Obviously, many of these concerns are made with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Still, it’s a long way to go until the Ghibli theme park opens (the current projection is sometime in the early 2020s), so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that things turn out closer to the rosy expectations than the scary ones.

Source: Twitter hashtag #こんなジブリパークは嫌だ
Top image ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s hoping for a full-scale working Kiki bakery at the Ghibli park.

[ Read in Japanese ]