French Student Sets Internet on Fire with Animation Inspired by Moebius, Syd Mead & Hayao Miyazaki

in Animation | May 20th, 2015

The internet over in Japan was lit ablaze last month by a student film. Titled “Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux” (“Girls and Guys from the Summits and the Skies”), the short is a gorgeously animated trailer for what looks like an amazing yet-to-be-made feature film. Created by Gwenn Germain, who is studying at the French art school Créapole, the animation is also a love letter to legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. You can watch it above.




“I’ve been told by a friend of mine that all the movies that I’ve made are essentially the same!” That’s what Miyazaki said to me during a roundtable for his children’s movie Ponyo. Though the stories vary from movie to movie, his world is immediately recognizable and remarkably consistent. He creates universes that are wondrous and mystical. He has an almost shamanistic reverence for nature; rocks, trees, rivers, and oceans all seem to be alive and aware. And he populates his world with shape-shifting creatures like the ravenous masked blob No-Face in Spirited Away; the Great Forest Spirit in Princess Mononoke, which looks like it was yanked straight out of Japanese mythology; and perhaps his most delightful creation, the Cat Bus from My Neighbor Totoro, complete with headlight eyes, a Cheshire grin and a warm, womb-like interior. It was this whimsical creation that reportedly impressed The Emperor himself – Akira Kurosawa.

It’s no wonder why Japanese netizens went crazy for “Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux.” Germain’s short seems sprung from the same world as Miyazaki. The giant bugs look like something out of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. The ambiguously European architecture looks like something from Kiki’s Delivery Service and those purple amorphous worms look like something from Spirited Away.  Heck, Miyazaki himself even seems to be in Germain’s short – that bearded old guy at the end of the movie is a spitting image of the famed animator.

Germain credits other influences aside from Miyazaki: Syd Mead, the concept artist who created those flying cars in Blade Runner and the city of the future in the upcoming Tomorrowland, and particularly the boundlessly imaginative French illustrator Moebius. Their influence might not be as obvious as Miyazaki’s, however.

In any case, I am seriously looking forward to seeing a feature length version of “Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux.”

Related Content: 

How to Make Instant Ramen Compliments of Japanese Animation Director Hayao Miyazaki

Moebius Gives 18 Wisdom-Filled Tips to Aspiring Artists (1996)

Moebius’ Storyboards & Concept Art for Jodorowsky’s Dune

Japanese Cartoons from the 1920s and 30s Reveal the Stylistic Roots of Anime

Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veeptopus, featuring pictures of vice presidents with octopuses on their heads.  The Veeptopus store is here.

by | Make a Comment (17)




Comments (17)

  1. KevinP says . . .
    May 21, 2015 / 1:43 pm

    What kind of mushrooms? And what is gobo? I want to make this tonight!

  2. Jai says . . .
    May 21, 2015 / 6:04 pm

    just…. WOW!!!

  3. francis says . . .
    May 21, 2015 / 11:33 pm

    Wow. Hayao miyazaki fan here

  4. Dan Colman says . . .
    May 22, 2015 / 1:08 am

    Hi there,

    I was just curious if anyone knows whose Facebook page gave us a mention. Got a big wave of visitors and want to know who to thank.

    Cheers,
    Dan (editor)

  5. Neil Popham says . . .
    May 22, 2015 / 3:40 am
  6. John says . . .
    May 22, 2015 / 6:36 am

    it is very good, but i wonder, HOW DID HE GET Joe Hisaishi into this, The music is amazing

  7. Youssef Eskandar says . . .
    May 22, 2015 / 3:08 pm

    Don’t see much of Syd Mead in there

  8. fernand says . . .
    May 23, 2015 / 6:12 am

    Quels intérêts pour nous qui ne parlons que Français
    nous sommes en attente de traduction
    Salutations Fernand

  9. Chris J says . . .
    May 23, 2015 / 10:30 pm

    Beautiful work, though it really tests the limit between “being inspired by” and “completely ripping off”. Nicely done though.

    My only criticism of the animation was the old man at the beginning is running like a little girl.

  10. Serse says . . .
    May 24, 2015 / 10:37 am

    I see the resemblance in the designs!
    when the purple blob walked it looks like it’s the blob of the wicked witch of the waste in Howl’s moving Castle! so many concepts are inspired by Ghibli Animations specially the Background and the feel in the music! but the movements of the character has the signature of French! :)
    I love it and can’t wait for it!

  11. John says . . .
    June 9, 2015 / 9:07 am

    I cried, did you?

  12. sanjuro says . . .
    June 11, 2015 / 3:36 pm

    He ripped off many different sources, I can even spot some Naruto. That also helps he took the music from the composer of Miyazaki films, Joe Hisaishi (track is from Hana Bi, which he managed to misspell). The very beginnning is a complete rip off of Secret of Mana’s intro, giant tree with red birds flying in front. But well, gotta admit it’s obviously very well drawn and animated (but is it all original work? it seems huge for a student film).

  13. Cal says . . .
    December 15, 2015 / 9:06 pm

    Gwen!? Wow, I’m SO impressed that a girl did this!

  14. Dan Colman says . . .
    January 2, 2016 / 12:29 pm

    Hi there,

    Does anyone know who posted this on their Facebook page today?

    Thanks in advance,
    Dan (editor)

  15. Esskah says . . .
    January 3, 2016 / 12:35 am

    got here cause of Sean Andrew Murray

  16. H says . . .
    March 22, 2016 / 7:15 pm

    Looks interesting. Shame the style is very derivitive and the costumes and characters look totally flat. Other than that it looks pretty good.

  17. R. Derrick Pomeroy says . . .
    August 29, 2016 / 3:54 pm

    I MUST SEE IT WHEN IT IS RELEASED AND BUY IT WHEN IT COMES OUT ON BLUERAY.

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