Two of the cutest stars of the Ghibli and Star Wars worlds are teaming up.

Earlier this week, the official Studio Ghibli Twitter account posted a video tweet that consisted only of the Lucasfilm and Ghibli logos. It seemed to foretell of some upcoming creative partnership, perhaps one in such early stages that there was nothing more to say at that point then “We’re working together.”

We hoped we wouldn’t have to wait long for more details, and we didn’t. Actually we don’t have to wait very long for the finished product, either.

If you’ve got even a passing interest in Ghibli anime, you’ll immediately recognize those five little creatures forming an arc at the top of the drawing as makkurokurosuke, the soot sprites that first appeared in 1988’s My Neighbor Totoro, and then again in 2001’s Spirited Away. And underneath them, as anyone who’s been keeping up with the extended Star Wars franchise in recent years will know, is Grogu, the scene-stealing “baby Yoda” from The Mandalorian.

So what are they pictured together? Because they’re the stars of a brand-new Studio Ghibli hand-drawn short anime, to be titled Zen-Grogu and Makkurokurosuke in Japanese and Zen-Grogu and Dust Bunnies in English (“Dust Bunnies” being what they were called in the original My Neighbor Totoro English dub).

Rather than a long, slow buildup to its release, Grogu and Makkurokurosuke will be available for streaming on Disney+ at 5 p.m. on November 12, the third anniversary of The Mandalorian’s series premiere. The anime short is directed by Studio Ghibli veteran Katsuya Kondo, whose impressive credentials include animation direction and character design on Kiki’s Deliver Service and Ponyo, as well as key animation on Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and the non-Ghibli Royal Space Force – The Wings of Honneamise, so he’s got some sci-fi credentials as well.

▼ A Grogu figurine at Studio Ghibli, with Hayao Miyazaki, both blurrily and clearly, sitting in the background.

As for how the collaboration came about in the first place, te producers say that Studio Ghibli co-founders Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki have been friendly acquaintances with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy for some time, and that Grogu and Dust Bunnies is “a symbol of their many years of friendship.”

Source: Twitter/@JP_GHIBLI, Mantan Web
Top image: Twitter/@DisneyPlus
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