Japan’s biggest carmaker is building a fleet of eco-friendly feline EVs to help fans navigate the sprawling anime-themed destination.

November 1 saw the opening of Ghibli Park, the world’s first theme park dedicated to the anime works of Studio Ghibli. Ghibli Park isn’t a Disneyland substitute with Totoro and Ponyo swapped in for Mickey and Minnie, though. Much like with the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, the focus at Ghibli Park is on environment and atmosphere, so you won’t find any of the roller coasters or dark rides you’d expect at a conventional amusement park.

However, an addition planned for later this year is something Ghibli fans can, and definitely will want to, ride: the Catbus!

The introduction of Catbuses won’t be requiring any biogenetic engineering, instead relying on the automotive variety. Ghibli Park is located in Aichi Prefecture, which is also where you’ll find Toyota’s headquarters, and Japan’s largest carmaker will be building half a dozen Catbuses. Fitting with the environmental themes of many films from Studio Ghibli and director Hayao Miyazaki, the Catbus will be electric-powered, carrying up to six passengers while releasing no exhaust gasses into the park’s air.

▼ The Toyota APM, originally developed for the Tokyo Olympics, will serve as the base for the Catbus, with special wrapping, and hopefully other visual upgrades, in order to look the part.

The Catbuses are projected to go into service sometime this year, and according to the announcement, will be operating within Aichi Expo 2005 Commemorative Park, the expansive green space dotted with different non-connected zones of Ghibli Park, so there’s a chance that even Expo Park visitors who don’t have one of Ghibli Park’s hard-to-obtain tickets will get to go for a Catbus ride. Our first ride can’t come soon enough, but at least we can munch on some Catbus cookies while we wait.

Source: Kyodo via Livedoor News
Top image: Studio Ghibli
Insert images: Studio Ghibli, Toyota
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