Looking for a job in Japan? Now you can work in the world of anime at the Ghibli Museum!

That’s right – the Ghibli Museum is now hiring!

If you’re a fan of Japanese anime, then chances are you probably have a soft spot for Studio Ghibli. As one of the country’s leading animation studios, and the creator of Japan’s highest-grossing film ever, the 2001 hit Spirited Away, Studio Ghibli has a huge following around the world, and visitors to Japan get to immerse themselves in its magical world at its very own museum in Tokyo’s Mitaka district.

Now the Ghibli Museum is at the centre of attention for fans once again, this time with the announcement that they’re hiring permanent full-time staff to work for them. The job ad, which was posted in Japanese on their official site just a few days ago, lists all the necessary requirements, and the remuneration on offer for successful candidates, so let’s take a look at the listing below!

According to the advertisement, the Ghibli Museum is looking to hire full-time staff to join them from 1 April 2019, in order to fill the following roles:

  • Customer service and retail sales at the museum shops and cafe
  • Maintenance and contract management for building facilities and exhibitions
  • Store merchandise management
  • Cooking operations at the cafe

Requirements for applicants

  • No older than 28 years-of-age (as they aim to create long-term career development for young people)
  • Confident individuals who get along with people and have bright and cheerful personalities
  • Knowledgeable and able to speak in their own words on a variety of subjects
  • Have confidence in their physical strength
  • Have confidence in language ability
  • Hold a regular driver’s licence (although this is not essential)
  • Experience working 1-4 different roles is a plus (part-time experience included)

▼ Have you got what it takes to work at the Ghibli Museum like these staff members?

Hours, pay and benefits

  • Wage: More than 220,000 yen (US$1,970.26) per month
  • Commuting expenses fully paid
  • Uniform part loaned
  • Pay rise once a year
  • Bonus twice a year
  • Social Insurance and welfare included
  • Holidays: Five-day workweek / Year-end and New Year’s holidays / Long vacation twice a year (approximately 120 days off per year, including weekends)
  • Hours: Between 8:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on a shift system (actual workday is 8 hours)
  • Location: Ghibli Museum (Official name: Mitaka Municipal Animation Art Museum)
  • Access: A 15-minute walk from either Mitaka Station or Kichijoji Station

If this sounds like your dream job and you fit all the requirements, then simply download the application pack here. The pack contains a resume form, to which a photo taken within the last three months must be attached (this is standard for resumes in Japan), and a “self-introduction” page, which should outline your past achievements and successful experiences in 800 characters.

Although there’s no specific mention that Japanese fluency is a requirement, it’s understood that “confidence in language ability” is referring to the Japanese language, and given that the forms in the application pack are written in Japanese, it’s safe to say that responses and resumes are expected to be submitted in Japanese also.

So if you’re confident in your Japanese language ability, send in your application now to: 〒181-0013 東京都三鷹市下連雀1-1-83 三鷹の森ジブリ美術館 採用係 (In English:  Employment Official, The Mitaka Ghibli Museum, Tokyo-to, Mitaka-shi, Shimorenjaku 1-1-83, 〒181-0013).

Applications are only being accepted by mail and must arrive by close of business on Friday 31 August 2018. Successful applicants will be contacted by phone within a month after the application deadline for an interview, with results finalised by early December. Good luck!

Source: Ghibli Museum
Photos © SoraNews24 

Minecraft builders create an amazingly detailed world of Spirited Away, give us a video tour

Who needs a movie when you can just tour the Minecraft recreation?

Minecraft builders have made some truly impressive worlds, and, owing to their beauty and mysticism as well their fame, the settings of everyone’s favorite Ghibli movies are popular inspirations for many. The complex worlds of My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky, and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind are just a few that have been perfectly and beautifully recreated with the game’s digital building blocks.

Spirited Away, another world-famous Ghibli film, has been the subject of YouTube user and Minecraft Builder Alan Becker’s attention for four years now, and with the evolution of the game, his Spirited Away world has also evolved. He recently posted a video of his and his team’s updated recreation, and the high level of detail of the town, the bathhouse, and everything around it will blow you away.

Spoiler alert: the video includes a play-by-play of the film, so if you haven’t seen it yet, beware!

The video starts out with a tour of the road that Chihiro’s family drives through on their way to their new home. Since you don’t actually see all that much of the town, Alan Becker and his team painstakingly created much of the town purely based on quick reflections in the windows of the car. Each of the buildings also has a fully furnished and decorated interior, which Becker says they designed based on videos of home tours in Japan.

One of the neatest parts is the recreation of the shot in the title screen, which is composed of rolling green hills and a line of homes. We would venture to guess that many Spirited Away builders would skip this part to focus on the more popular bathhouse, so we appreciate this tribute to the beginning of the movie.

They also recreated the back side of the clock tower that serves as Chihiro’s doorway to the mysterious spirit world, right down to the face of the statue in front.

And of course the colorful and festive-looking empty town behind it was also carefully created. Becker explains that a lot of these buildings are not actually shown in the movie, so they had to be invented by the team. It’s hard to believe that they weren’t based on storyboards from the Ghibli Studio since they look just like they belong there.

Of course, what everyone wants to see from Spirited Away is the great, beautiful bathhouse, which serves as the primary setting for the movie. The details on the exterior are amazing, but the interior is equally impressive.

Both inside and out, every detail is accounted for. As Becker walks us through the bathhouse, he basically shows us each scene of the movie, and it’s clear that his team paid careful attention to every single detail of every scene, no matter how small. It’s extremely impressive. The buildings even include working and moving functions like elevators, steaming water, an opening and closing boiler door, and even the rows of doors leading to Yubaba’s rooms that open in a sequence.

The only thing the recreation lacks is most of the characters of the movie, but that’s much harder to do in Minecraft. Even so, some characters, like the soot balls and No-Face, do appear at certain times, so if you explore the world you might stumble upon some surprises.

▼ Even the treacherous pathway down to the boiler room was meticulously sculpted.

If you want to check out Becker’s Spirited Away world in Minecraft, you can visit their server at play.ghiblicraft.com. It looks like they have some other Ghibli worlds, too, so take your time to look through it carefully! If you don’t play Minecraft but still want to explore the other worlds, Becker’s YouTube channel also has video tours of each one.

If Ghibli is not your thing but you love to look at different Minecraft worlds, check out one builder’s replication of the city of Kyoto. The talent and dedication of these builders is astounding.

Source: YouTube/AlanBeckerMinecraft via Shoutaro Blog
Images: YouTube/AlanBeckerMinecraft

Seiko to release new Ghibli watches, including limited-edition 30th anniversary Totoro watches

Fans of Kiki’s Delivery Service will also want to check these out.

It’s a great time to be a Ghibli fan right now. With the Ghibli amusement park in the works, an adorable Totoro cafe opened in Thailand, and Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki out of retirement, fans have numerous things to look forward to from their favorite animated film studio.

Plus, even with tons of great Ghibli merchandise already available, new Ghibli products are always becoming available. Adult fans of My Neighor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service may especially like the newest line of casual watches from Seiko which feature adorable motifs from these classic animated movies.

This collection of eight watches is from Seiko’s brand for everyday wear, Alba, and are designed to be affordable, stylish watches that fans of Ghibli can wear at any age. Each of the face designs are subtle yet adorable, while the straps and casings of the watches are sleek and chic. They’re designed with women in mind, but of course any Ghibli fan can appreciate their mature homage to these beloved films.

The watches’ faces come in four different designs for each movie, totalling eight unique varieties, and the leather straps come in seven different colors, so hopefully anyone can find a style that they like.

But the faces are not the only Ghibli-specific features: the back of the straps and the stainless steel watch case are also engraved with Totoro and Kiki motifs. Fans can appreciate the quiet nods to the films on every corner of these new watches.

In addition to the eight styles above, two limited-edition My Neighbor Totoro watches are going to be released exclusively to celebrate the movie’s thirtieth anniversary. The face’s design comes in ivory and black, and features a small Totoro peeking over a flower garden and holding a four-leaf clover.

These watches are limited to just 1,000 units in each style and come with a serial number on the back of the case ranging from 0001 to 1000, which verify their authenticity. They’ll also have the words “30th Anniversary” engraved on the back and will come in a cute “30th Anniversary” box, so these are guaranteed to become super collector’s items.

Each of the regular edition watches will be priced at 9,000 yen (US$81.64) and will be on sale from July 7, while the limited edition Totoro watches will retail for 15,000 yen starting from August 4. The company are being coy about where you can get these, making them real collector’s items, and while there’s no word yet of overseas or online sales, visitors to Japan may want to look out for them at Ghibli merchandise shop Donguri Kyowakoku or any store where Seiko watches are sold as soon as they can.

Looking for more Ghibli goods? Totoro collectors will love the limited-edition handmade reproduction cels of the film, which are now available for preorder, and fans of Kiki’s Delivery Service might also like Donguri Kyowakoku’s new line of Kiki perfumes. If you’re a Ghibli fan, it’s almost guaranteed that there’s a product out there for you!

Source, Images: PR Times

May’s Garden House Restaurant: The first Totoro-themed restaurant officially licensed by Studio Ghibli

The grand opening is scheduled for late May.

For Studio Ghibli fans around the world, a visit to the Ghibli Museum in Japan is a dream destination. Now, though, there’s a new spot vying for everyone’s attention, and surprisingly, it’s not in the animation studio’s home country of Japan – it’s in Thailand instead.

Called May’s Garden House Restaurant, the new establishment is the first Totoro-themed restaurant officially licensed by Studio Ghibli. While the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo’s Mitaka district is home to the Straw Hat Cafe, where diners can enjoy a changing menu of items inspired by a number of Ghibli films, an official restaurant dedicated solely to the star of My Neighbour Totoro has never existed…until now.

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Located in Sukhumvit, Bangkok, May’s Garden House Restaurant has been inviting guests to dine with them during their pre-opening period, which began on 16 April. With guests providing feedback on the menu and the facilities, the restaurant’s grand opening is scheduled for the end of May, by which time some of their yet-to-be-unveiled areas, like the Children’s Playground, the Orchid Glasshouse, the Boat Water Pool, the Library and two Halls are scheduled to be completed.

▼ While adults will love the new restaurant, many of the areas inside have been designed with children in mind.

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A first look at the interiors show there are a lot of Totoro surprises in store for visitors.

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▼ Meals will be served in a bright and spacious dining room, with a giant Totoro to keep everyone company.

While the menu is yet to be finalised, some of the offerings provided to guests during the pre-opening period look to be pretty delicious.

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▼ Totoro’s Forest in Thailand is filled with Isaan food!

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As well as Thai soups and curries, there are other more meaty dishes on the menu, like chicken wings.

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The significance of the chicken wings on the menu harks back to the intriguing story that led to the actual creation of the restaurant. According to a discussion by Ghibli producer and co-founder Toshio Suzuki on Tokyo FM Radio, the idea for the restaurant came about after one of his visits to Thailand, where he met up with an acquaintance who was a single mother working to provide for her young children and extended family in the rural Pak Thong Chai Village.

The half-Thai, half-Japanese woman called Kanyada owned a humble stall that served up delicious chicken wings, which Suzuki immediately fell in love with. However, on a recent trip back to the restaurant, the owner told him she would have to shut the restaurant, as there weren’t enough customers visiting the rural town to keep her in business.

▼ Suzuki says Pak Thong Chai Village in Nakhon Ratchasima Province brought back memories of the Japanese countryside from his childhood, and also conjured up images of Totoro’s Forest.

Coincidentally, Kanyada’s nickname was May, similar to the main character of Mei in My Neighbour Totoro, which gave Suzuki the idea for the new restaurant. Touched by her plight, he called it “May’s Garden House Restaurant”, and designed it so that the flavours and atmosphere of May’s rural town could be brought to the city of Bangkok, where diners could conjure up images of the countryside while chowing down on those tasty chicken wings.

▼ Suzuki was the driving force behind the opening of the new restaurant in Thailand.

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Suzuki’s love for Kanyada’s chicken wings may have also been the inspiration behind Colko and Peeko, two characters that he designed exclusively for May’s Restaurant.

These original mascots also bear a resemblance to the Siamese Fireback, the national bird of Thailand.

Aside from the cute merchandise, there’ll also be some adorable meals to choose from, with Italian owner-chef Federico Colpi, a colleague of Suzuki’s from the anime industry, overseeing the development of the menu.

Fluffy Mini Totoro Steamed Buns In Caramel Sauce.

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Neko Bus Has Come To Town

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May’s Hat

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A Gift From Totoro

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Totoro in the Rain

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Sleeping Totoro

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And while you feast on Totoro, the characters from the film will be there to greet you at every turn, including a giant Totoro that everyone is bound to fall in love with.

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Suzuki also designed the sign for the restaurant, playing up the Totoro theme with an image of the Cat Bus from the movie.

So whether you’re able to make it over to Thailand or not, you can expect your Instagram feed to soon be inundated with cute images of Totoro and friends from May’s Garden House Restaurant. Here are the details below so you can get in on the action too!

Restaurant Information
May’s Garden House Restaurant
Address: 18 Soi Lak Khet (Sukhumvit Soi 29), Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok, Thailand
Hours: 12:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.

Source: Facebook/May’s Garden House Restaurant via Ghibli no Sekai
Featured image: Instagram/May’s Garden House Restaurant

Studio Ghibli fans surprised to find hidden images in Grave of the Fireflies anime poster

The new meanings revealed in this image, thirty years after the film’s release, have anime fans reaching for the tissues.

It’s been a sad month for anime fans after internationally acclaimed anime director and Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata passed away in Tokyo on 5 April, after being hospitalised for heart and health conditions during a long battle with lung cancer.

As tributes poured in for the 82-year-old, Nippon TV paid their respects to the accomplished director by broadcasting one of his most well-known films, Grave of the Fireflies, on national TV on 13 April. Known for its heavy content, depicting the lives of two siblings struggling to survive in the Japanese city of Kobe during World War II, anime fans knew to have the tissues nearby during the televised broadcast, but what they didn’t realise was that there was another heart-wrenching moment on the way for them, waiting to be discovered in one of the promotional posters for the film.

The poster, which has now become a hot topic on chat forums in Japan, appears to show the two main characters of Seita and Setsuko sharing a rare moment of joy while surrounded by a field of fireflies.

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This particular poster has been around since the film’s release thirty years ago in 1988, so fans wouldn’t normally think twice about looking into the details of the already-familiar image. One Twitter user, however, has now caused a stir online by unveiling a hard-to-see object in the darkness, which gives the poster a whole new meaning and a poignant sadness that many fans are seeing for the very first time.

The lightened image on the right of the tweet clearly shows a warplane in the sky above the children’s heads; a striking detail that’s easy to miss on first glance in the original poster. What’s even more heartbreaking is the implications of the plane on our initial reading of the image, which @comicloverhouse mentions in his accompanying text:

“I just read a theory that the fireflies in the Grave of the Fireflies poster aren’t all insects, so I analysed the image and it’s really true. I never knew about this.”

Given that the movie contains a number of scenes showing Japan being firebombed, it becomes clear that the differently shaped lights glowing in the night sky show not only fireflies but bombs from the air raids as well.

With tens of thousands of likes and retweets for @comicloverhouse‘s tweet, Ghibli fans have been expressing their surprise at the revelation.

“Wow. I’ve seen this picture a hundred times before but never seen these details.”
“So the round lights are fireflies and the longer ones are firebombs? That’s a heartbreaking image.”
“It’s amazing that they could conceal these types of details in a poster.”
“So “fireflies” has a double meaning…”
“Is that why they use the kanji for “fire” and “dangle” to mean “fireflies” in the title?”

It’s true that the movie title in Japanese, “Hotaru no Haka“, is written out as “火垂るの墓“, which uses  (hi), the kanji for fire, and (tareru) which describes something dangling down, like a droplet of water about to fall from a leaf, to make up the word hotaru, which means firefly in Japanese. Ordinaily, hotaru is written out in its own kanji – 蛍 – so the double meaning in the title actually references the incendiary bombs, which appear on the poster.

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If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know how important the firefly motif is, not only to the animated scenes onscreen, but also to the storyline, with the short lives of the insects symbolising the young lives lost during war. While the firefly/firebomb reference is clear to see once it’s been pointed out, its initial subtlety and the understated subtext are great examples of the small details that make Studio Ghibli films stand out in the anime film world.

To uncover some more of the studio’s secret details, don’t forget to check out this video here, which reveals all the Easter eggs hidden inside Ghibli films!

Source: Otakomu
Featured image: Instagram/ryuzi_kobayashi

Ghibli Museum merchandise from Boro The Caterpillar short anime movie now on sale!

The newest character from Studio Ghibli is out to charm us all with official merch.

After 20 years in the making, Ghibli’s Boro The Caterpillar was finally released last week, and along with the first screening came a collection of new merchandise for fans.

Available only at the gift stores inside the Ghibli Museum, where the short film is being exclusively shown, these goods are some of the hardest to get, so we made sure we stopped by to see what was available after our recent visit.

Whether you’re a fan of Ghibli or simply a fan of cute goods, this new range of merchandise is sure to put a smile on your face!

▼ The Mama Aiuto gift store inside the museum is
named after the sky pirates in Porco Rosso.

The store sells a whole heap of exclusive Ghibli merchandise you can’t buy anywhere else, but now they’ve got a new lineup of products in store, dedicated to Boro The Caterpillar.

First up, we have a clear stationery file for 350 yen (US$3.34), which captures the moment Boro lands inside a bright yellow groundsel flower, which is one of the most adorable scenes from the film.

If you’ve been to the museum store before, you’ve probably rifled through the drawers in the big chest which has dozens of pin badges featuring all sorts of characters from different films. Boro is the latest character to appear in the extensive pin badge collection, with two varieties available for 583 yen each.

▼ This one shows Boro emerging from his egg,
gazing out wide-eyed at the new world around him.

▼ And here Boro is pictured on a green leaf,
which is one of his favourite things to eat.

If you’re into scrapbooking, or simply want to add some flair to your gift-wrapping game, this cute masking tape is sure to do the trick.

▼ Priced at 467 yen, this adorable little piece of
stationery is covered in images of Boro.

He can be seen trundling about in nature, surrounded by leaves, pollen, flowers and delicious squares of blue “air jelly”.

The most expensive, and cutest, piece of merchandise is a tiny toy plushie of Boro the caterpillar, which retails for 1,050 yen.

The adorable palm-sized soft toy might seem a little on the expensive side at first, but once you feel his hard stomach and take a look at his posterior, the reason for the high price becomes clear.

It turns out that this little Boro actually moves! Simply pull the cord out of his bottom and he’ll start to vibrate and move forwards.

The clever arrangement of feet and threads underneath the toy add to the realistic caterpillar-walking effect.

Take a look at Boro in action below!

▼ Who knew a tiny brown caterpillar could be this cute?

Mama Aiuto is not the only gift shop at the Ghibli Museum, so if you’re interested in the art of animation, head over to the Tri Hawks bookstore on the third floor to pick up the “pamphlet”, which is really a 10-page colour booklet with lots of juicy background information on the process behind making the film, including plenty of beautiful images from the movie.

▼ At 432 yen, this booklet is a bargain!

Still, if you’re keen on stocking up on Boro merchandise, Mama Aiuto should definitely be on your list of places to go. They also stock a sheet of stickers and a set of postcards, all featuring the character of Boro and scenes from the film, so be sure to have a good look around next time you’re in the store!

As with many of the shorts, the entire range of goods will only be available for a limited time, while the movie is showing at the museum’s Saturn Theatre, from 21 March-31 August. Tickets to the museum for March and April are already sold out online, but May tickets go on sale from 10 a.m. (JST) on 10 April so you’ll still have time to see the movie if you’re planning a visit to Japan.

And for more Boro news, don’t forget to stop by here to check out our spoiler-free look at the new film, which has all the details about what you can expect to see, and hear, during its 14-minute-20-second runtime.

Photos ©2018 Studio Ghibli ©SoraNews24

Boro the Caterpillar anime now showing at the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo 【SoraReview】

Our spoiler-free review of Hayao Miyazaki’s first new film in five years comes with a sneak-peek look at the official movie programme.

Late last year, Japan’s national broadcaster NHK screened a documentary about Studio Ghibli’s co-founder and acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki, revealing that he was working on his first film in five years, which would be an anime short screened exclusively at the Ghibli Museum in the Tokyo city of Mitaka.

Ever since the announcement, we’d been counting down the days until the movie’s first screening on 21 March, and after securing a ticket to one of the very first showings, it was time to head down to the museum’s in-house Saturn Theatre, the only place in the world where the much-hyped Kemushi no Boro, or Boro the Caterpillar, is being shown.

▼ Say hello to Boro the caterpillar.

Before viewing the film, we had a vague idea of what to expect, given all the media updates surrounding the new work in the lead-up to its release. Miyazaki himself, who’d been planning the story for almost 20 years, has described the short as “a story of a tiny, hairy caterpillar, so tiny that it may be easily squished between your fingers”, and just days ago it was revealed that famous Japanese comedian Tamori had lent his voice to the sound effects of the film.

Still, despite all this background information, nothing could’ve prepared us for what we saw – and heard – during the short anime’s 14-minute-20-second screening. Without giving away any major plot points or spoilers, there’s still a lot that can be said about this movie, particularly given that it’s an original screenplay, written and directed by the famously talented Miyazaki while he was meant to be retired from filmmaking.

So is Boro the Caterpillar set to be one of the best original shorts ever shown at the Ghibli Museum? Or will it end up being viewed as a self-indulgent post-retirement project that failed to hit the mark? Well, in our opinion, it might very well find itself slotting somewhere in between the two, and here’s why.

The film opens with Boro the Caterpillar hatching from an egg on a stalk of grass, surrounded by a new and unfamiliar environment, which he immediately sets out to explore. From the very beginning, the tone is strangely dark and unsettling, which works well to transport the audience into the 16-legged body of Boro, from where we can view the giant world through his tiny eyes, but at the same time, it’s a departure from many of the gentler, more child-friendly Ghibli shorts shown at the museum.

The first thing viewers are bound to notice, aside from the visuals, is the audio soundtrack. Miyazaki has been quoted as saying, “This film would not have been completed without Tamori-san”, and that’s entirely true, as his voice is used to bring sound to everything, from the titular caterpillar himself, to other flying insects, and even the sound of a girl’s squeaky tricycle.

To be honest, though, it’s an odd choice to use the voice of a 72-year-old male actor to bring life to the just-born baby character of Boro, and it’s even more peculiar to have this one actor create sounds, at a similar low pitch, for all the characters that appear in the movie. This makes it difficult for the viewers to distinguish Boro’s noises, and therefore connect to his emotional responses, in amongst all the other insects when they’re pictured together onscreen.

What’s even more surprising is the absence of any range in volume level; whether an insect is pictured close-up or buzzing further away in the distance makes no difference to its volume. While some might argue that this one-dimensional sound is due to the lack of a high-quality stereo system in the theatre – and it must be, because this is the work of an acclaimed animation studio and not an amateur college project – others might say that a different approach, perhaps with more range in volume and tone, would make it easier for audiences to get a feel for the different insect characters and add to the overall enjoyment of the film.

Miyazaki’s 2013 feature-length anime, The Wind Rises, was well-known for featuring mouth-made sound effects, but this short film takes this concept to a whole other level entirely. There’s very little range in tone here, and little effort made towards achieving any sense of realism. Whether he’s voicing the baby character of Boro, the caterpillar’s older senpai senior figures, or even a passing bumblebee, Tamori’s deep voice is neither light nor feminine, which means that all the insects in the film appear to be male.

Still, Tamori does an admirable job of making insects sound more like vehicles, jackhammers, and passing traffic rather than real insects, which makes us consider our own lives and the noisy environments we live in, and one of his best performances comes with the appearance of a hunting wasp, which Miyazaki has drawn to appear like an “aircraft on a battlefield”.

What the audio lacks in variety, the visuals make up for in spades, with beautifully drawn scenes capturing the moment Boro gets his first taste of “air jelly”, comes into contact with the sun’s rays, and munches on deliciously green nutrient-rich leaves.

Miyazaki has always been a masterful visual storyteller, needing nothing more than an image to evoke a mood, with even the tiniest of movements helping to convey an emotion. If you’ve ever seen Miyazaki’s 2006 short Mizugumo Monmon (The Water Spider) at the Ghibli Museum, you’ll see some common similarities in Boro the Caterpillar, both in imagery and storyline.

Water spiders and caterpillars are both tiny beings in large and often frightening environments, yet nothing in life remains constant, and both characters go on a journey of self-discovery, where they learn to adapt to new worlds and experiences. In this sense, Boro is a metaphor for our own lives, as seen through the eyes of a caterpillar, only without the pleasant sound effects and majestic soundtrack that featured in The Water Spider.

In fact, in Boro, even the incidental noises made by natural movements – like caterpillars pooping, which takes up a good portion of screentime – are all silent. This absence of real-world noise throughout the film, with cars, buses, and even the footsteps of humans left silent as Boro makes his journey through life, is a puzzling, pared-back move you’d expect to encounter in an arthouse film by an avante-garde director.

Watching the movie turns out to be like viewing the world from an inch below water, where you can see things going on around you, but all you can hear is your own voice in your head.

Is Miyazaki trying to tell us that caterpillars are hard of hearing? Or that we need to listen harder to the subtle noises in the natural environment around us? It’s an interesting and thought-provoking approach to filmmaking, and one which could probably only have been made by Miyazaki at this point in his career, when he has nothing to prove to anyone and can make stylistic choices that his producer friend Toshio Suzuki would have resisted years ago. After all, it was Suzuki who advised Miyazaki to put Boro on the backburner and go ahead with Princess Mononoke instead, when Miyazaki first pitched the film to him 20 years ago.

While viewers will be divided over Boro’s soundtrack, there’s no denying that Miyazaki has achieved what he set out to achieve with this new film. By viewing the world through the eyes of a tiny caterpillar with the use of stunning visuals, we are encouraged to re-evaluate our own lives and the way we live them.

While the soundtrack might be less grandiose than those of his other movies, by reminding us of the natural world around us, and the characters that live within it, Miyazaki’s legacy of promoting an environmentally aware lifestyle has never been louder or clearer. Sure, it’s a self-indulgent project that ties up unfinished business from the start of his career, but at the same time, it’s pretty wonderful in its unique style too.

Photos ©2018 Studio Ghibli © SoraNews24