6 June 2024

There’s nothing better than an escape from reality in these tough times and now Bangkok residents can do exactly, losing themselves in Studio Ghibli’s Animation Exhibition. From July 1 to September 30, everyone is invited to experience the magic of the studio’s animation films firsthand through installations that showcase a truly fantastic mix of talent, reality and creativity

Fans of Studio Ghibli will be overjoyed to enter and stroll through the “World of Studio Ghibli’s Animation Exhibition” which is spread over 3,000 square metres on the 8th floor of CentralWorld Live. Many hardcore fans will have already headed to Japan to indulge in the world of Studio Ghibli or perhaps visited the exhibition during its various stops in the region, but this is the first time that the creative displays of characters and scenes have stopped off in Bangkok.

Jump on a train with Kaonashi from Spirited Away. (Photo courtesy of Studio Ghibli)

“We’ve been doing this (exhibition tour) for 10 years and we’ve had exhibitions in South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong,” Shinsuke Nonaka, Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs of Studio Ghibli Inc, tells TPBS World.

The exhibition turns CentralWorld Live into a fantastical world where 10 of Studio Ghibli’s most iconic movies and characters are on display. They include such highly popular titles like My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Princess Monoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle and Pongyo.

Visitor can be in the Ghibli movie set. Photo by Vibhasai Niyamabha)

Nonaka said it was too difficult to handpick or rank the most popular stories as each of the studio’s creative films draws viewers in and makes them feel like they are part of the animation.

Studio Ghibli, one of the most popular animation studios in the world, touches people’s hearts with stories bursting with creativity and fantasy based on ikigai, a Japanese concept that refers to the reason for being, or the purpose of one’s life. Co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, portrayed the importance of “being here and now” by making great animations for children. To him, children’s lives rush by at breakneck speed and they enjoy happiness in the moment.

The stories selected for the exhibition are based on the studio’s outstanding characters and stories. “As far as we know, the most popular is My Neighbor Totoro. We could be wrong but we do know for sure that My Neighbor Totoro is very popular worldwide and has made the studio very popular,” Nonaka says.

Just as in the films, exhibition goers will be entering a “world” of Ghibli. Fans can escape reality and let their imaginations flow with beloved stories from the studio. They will get a chance to interact, or at least pose, with displays and awe-inspiring installations that bring the studio’s iconic scenes and characters to life.

The installations based on Studio Ghibli’s films on show in Bangkok are Nausicaa’s plane from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Laputa from Castle in the Sky, the bus stop and Totoro’s tree from My Neighbor Totoro, a flying bicycle and Kiki’s bakery from Kiki’s Delivery Service, the beach from Porco Rosso, Tanukis’ house from Pom Poko, the forest from Princess Mononoke, Kaonashi and the train of spirit from Spirited Away (Easter Egg: Durian), Howl’s castle from Howl’s Moving Castle (Easter Egg: A dog) and Ponyo and her friends from Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (in front of CentralWorld on Rama I Road).

Nonakha is asked which iconic scene installation he likes the most at the Bangkok exhibition but admits he finds it hard to decide. “If I have to pick one, it’s the upside-down castle from Laputa from Castle in the Sky. “It’s very clever and impressive.”

Installation from Princess Mononoke. (Photo by Veena Thoopkrajae)

Studio fans will find it hard not to pose with all the iconic scenes especially the bus stop from “My Neighbor Totoro”, the train of spirit from “Spirited Away”, or even ride a flying bicycle from “Kiki’s Delivery Service”.

Hardcore fans should make sure they have plenty of space or memory in their camera or smartphone as every spot is a Ghibli-like dream and no one can afford to miss a photo opportunity. And perhaps fans would be well advised to bring along some extra money too as a souvenir shop at the front is offering rows and rows of Totoro and other cute characters that are just impossible to resist.

By Veena Thoopkrajae

Fortune-telling witch from Spirited Away