Studio Ghibli’s veteran producer recalls a major change of heart by the legendary anime director.

This week, we got our biggest sneak peek yet at Ghibli Park, the theme park inspired by the anime films of Studio Ghibli that’s set to open in the fall. During the presentation, which included the long-awaited reveal of an exact opening date, veteran Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki spoke about a visit he made to the site with Ghibi co-founder and director Hayao Miyazaki.

Miyazaki is known to take a very hands-off approach to any supplementary projects that aren’t directly related to the production of whatever anime film he’s currently working on, and he doesn’t seem to have made any significant public comments about Ghibli Park since the project was announced in 2017. However, Suzuki recalls that in November of 2020, Miyazaki was becoming more and more mentally preoccupied about Ghibli Park’s development, and so the two of them took a trip to visit the site in Aichi Expo Memorial Park, several hours away from Ghibli’s studio in Tokyo.

As Suzuki rememebers:

“I came with him, and he was really worked up, fuming about how he was going to give them a piece of his mind. But then we got to the park, and it felt so spacious. There was rain falling on that day, and that probably made the atmosphere even better, and he suddenly said, ‘I’ve made up my mind! Let’s leave it to Goro!”

That’s Miyazaki’s son, Goro, who also designed the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, that he was referring to. The younger Miyazaki was also present at this week’s presentation, where he talked about Ghibli Park’s unique concept as a collection of artistic park spaces, eschewing the rides, shows, and other conventional attractions seen at other amusement parks. “For a long time, there had been talk of creating a Ghibli theme park, as a way of to preserving the studio’s works for future generations, but conceptually a conventional theme park just didn’t feel like the right fit.” He also expressed his desire for Aichi Expo Memorial Park to remain a place where the memories and experiences of the park’s caretakers and guests are treasured and respected.

When Ghibli Park opens in the fall, only three of its five areas will be receiving guests. Suzuki is excited by what he’s seen so far, though. “I’ve only seen part of what it will be,” the producer said, “but I’m very happy to be involved in this project. The spirit of the Ghibli Museum is alive here, and I can feel things truly starting to take shape.”

Oh, and as for the elder Miyazaki’s declaration of “Let’s leave it to Goro?” According to Suzuki, “A few days after he said that, I peeked into his private studio, and saw him drawing sketches of his ideas for Ghibli Park.”

But maybe we should have expected that.

Source: Animage Plus via Yahoo! Japan News
Top image: Studio Ghibli
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