Japanese anime legend shows off his art skills at the Straw Hat Cafe.

One of the small blessings to come out of this horrible year has been the acts of kindness from big players in the entertainment industry. Without their regular video uploads and free livestreams, life at home with a global pandemic hanging over our heads would be far darker, and one of the YouTube channels that’s been soothing our souls lately belongs to the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo’s Mitaka.

After sharing clips from inside the museum, where photography and filming is strictly banned, Studio Ghibli co-founders Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki appeared on the channel last week, giving us a sneak peek at the Ghibli Museum’s revamped cafe. Now, they’ve shared an extra clip from Miyazaki’s visit to the cafe, and this time we get to see the legendary anime director in action, sketching a new design to replace the “Hot Dog & Ice Cream” sign above the “takeout corner” at the Mugi Wara Boshi Cafe (Straw Hat Cafe).

▼ Take a look at the video below.

In the clip, museum director Kazuki Anzai tells the masked Miyazaki that they’d like to change the signboard to reflect the new items on the menu. She says they’d like to give the takeout corner a new name — something more befitting a sweets store.

Miyazaki is then asked if he has a good name for the takeout corner, and he says he can’t think of one. He then sits down and cheekily suggests calling it “Dagashi“, which refers to cheap Japanese candies and snacks. Anzai explains that they’d like to give this spot a name so they can easily direct visitors to it, and Miyazaki, who appears to be in a playful mood, says he can only think of odd things, like “Wara Wara“.

“Wara” means “straw” in Japanese, and looking at the signboard, Miyazaki points out that the title “Mugi Wara Boshi” is already written on it. Anzai then suggests he might like to sketch an idea out on paper, and Miyazaki agrees and heads over to the stairs, which offer a better view of the takeout corner.

▼ The anime director takes out his fountain pen and begins sketching.

Miyazaki’s on-the-spot design is complete in seconds, showing a new signboard that retains the ice cream cone, changes the title to “Wara Wara & Ice Cream“, and adds some adorable little characters alongside it.

▼ Could these be Ice Cream Bunnies or Ice Cream Sprites?

The new signboard is still a work-in-progress so it’s yet to be revealed if this will be the final design. It’s definitely an adorable sketch to come up with on the spot, and it gives us a tantalising glimpse into how the creative wheels turn in the mind of the artistic director.

The video ends with a look at Miyazaki’s apron, which is embroidered with cute Ghibli-related images. There’s a soot sprite, cakes — one even has the Egg Princess from the Ghibli Museum short Mr Dough and the Egg Princess on it — and a toy soldier, which can be found at the museum as well.

It’s nice to see Miyazaki in such a playful mood at the Ghibli Museum, and now that we’ve seen the way he sketches, he’s inspired us to create some cute characters of our own. Time to take out those pencils and take another look at Toshio Suzuki’s “How to Draw Totoro” video tutorial!

Related Ghibli Museum official website
Source: YouTube/鷹の森ジブリ美術館 GHIBLI MUSEUM, MITAKA 
Images: YouTube/鷹の森ジブリ美術館 GHIBLI MUSEUM, MITAKA
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