Museum marks a special milestone since its opening.

Something that’s especially fascinating about the Ghibli Museum is how charmingly relaxed it is. As an entire building dedicated to the works of Japan’s most prestigious anime production company, one that draws visitors not from just all over Japan but from around the world, it wouldn’t be a surprise if all of that fan energy boiled over and turned the place into a madhouse of unbridled excitement. Everything about the museum, though, from the attendance caps to the spacious layout of the facility and its gardens, is designed to fill you with both a sense of wonder and a feeling of calm, .

So even though October 1 marked the 20th anniversary of the Ghibli Museum’s opening, it kept the celebration pretty low-key. However, Ghibli doesn’t have to make a lot of noise in order to produce a lot of smiles, and to celebrate hitting the two-decade mark, on October 3 they did this.

“Who are you, big gray guy who suddenly showed up on the terrace of the Ghibli Museum?” asks the narrator as the video opens. Sure enough, there’s an unusual object in the stone courtyard just outside one of the museum’s doors, but really, any Ghibli fan will instantly recognize that particular shade of gray, and as it takes on an increasingly cuddly-looking shape, it’s clear that this could only be…

Totoro! As he fills with air, he continues to get bigger and bigger, and following some last-minute whisker grooming from his human helpers, it’s time for the My Neighbor Totoro star to take flight!

Fully inflated, we can see that Totoro’s character design lends itself perfectly to a balloon rendering. The bulging nature of the material makes his eyes and cheeks look extra innocent and inviting, and the way the wind gently blows him around is entirely in keeping with his tranquil, in-tune with nature aura. Oh, and the way his ears wiggle in the breeze is enough to instantly melt your heart with its cuteness.

A giant Totoro balloon seems like the sort of thing that should be all over social media, but the Ghibli Museum has strict policies that largely prohibit on-site photography and filming (as part of their commitment to creating a relaxed atmosphere). Thankfully, though, the museum’s official YouTube channel posted the video so everyone can see the flying Totoro, and in addition to a whole lot of “So cute!” reactions, it’s also gotten comments such as:

“I couldn’t make it to the museum on that day, so I’m really happy they posted this!”
“This is awesome! It makes me want to say ‘It was a dream…but it wasn’t a dream!’ just like Satsuki and Mei in the anime.”
“Seeing this, I can’t help thinking how cool it’d be if they made a balloon that looks like the floating island from Laputa too.”
“Whoa, has it already been 20 years since the Ghibli Museum opened?”

Maybe it has something to do with the elegant, timeless architectural design and landscaping, but it really does feel surprising that the Ghibli Museum has been open for 20 years already. “We hope you’ll continue to support us in our 21st year.”

Sadly, the Totoro balloon was only on display for a single day. There’s no way they threw it out after that, though, so we’ll be keeping out fingers crossed that Totoro will fly again someday, maybe around the next time the Ghibli Museum’s theater is playing the My Neighbor Totoro sequel.

Source: YouTube/三鷹の森ジブリ美術館 GHIBLI MUSEUM, MITAKA via Anime News Network/Kim Morrissy
Images: YouTube/三鷹の森ジブリ美術館 GHIBLI MUSEUM, MITAKA
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!