The Simpsons Pay Wonderful Tribute to the Anime of Hayao Miyazaki

When the TV series The Simp­sons first pre­miered on Decem­ber 17, 1989, the Berlin Wall had just fall­en, the inter­net wasn’t real­ly a thing yet, and Tay­lor Swift was just four days old. While the show might not have the bite or the cur­ren­cy it had in the mid-90s, the series still man­ages to deliv­er some absolute­ly won­der­ful moments. Last Hal­loween, for instance, they did a hilar­i­ous extend­ed riff on the works of Stan­ley Kubrick. But per­haps the best thing they’ve done recent­ly is a trib­ute to leg­endary Japan­ese ani­ma­tor Hayao Miyaza­ki. You can see the clip above.

The ref­er­ences come thick and fast. There’s Otto, the per­pet­u­al­ly stoned bus dri­ver, as the Cat Bus from My Neigh­bor Totoro. There’s Ralph Wig­gum as the sen­tient fish Ponyo. There’s Pat­ty and Sel­ma as Kiki the Witch from Kiki’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice. And, at the end of the seg­ment, the Kwik-E-Mart sprouts legs and walks off like the tit­u­lar build­ing in Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle. A dis­tressed Abu exclaims, “I’m ruined by whim­sy!” The seg­ment even departs from the show’s usu­al man­ic irrev­er­ence and takes on the melan­choly won­der of Miyazaki’s movies.

Unless you have an unusu­al­ly quick eye and a thor­ough under­stand­ing of the worlds of Miyaza­ki, you will prob­a­bly need to watch this more than a cou­ple of times. For­tu­nate­ly, the folks over at Slate have unpacked and anno­tat­ed the seg­ment for you. You can watch it below.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

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

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

Before The Simp­sons, Matt Groen­ing Illus­trat­ed a “Student’s Guide” for Apple Com­put­ers (1989)

Watch The Simp­sons’ Hal­loween Par­o­dy of Kubrick’s A Clock­work Orange and The Shin­ing

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 lots of pic­tures of vice pres­i­dents with octo­pus­es on their heads.  The Veep­to­pus store is here.

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.