The Delightful TV Ads Directed by Hayao Miyazaki & Other Studio Ghibli Animators (1992–2015)

Last week, we fea­tured a trio of ridicu­lous­ly cute com­mer­cials about a cat called Kon­yara. The com­pa­ny that made them was none oth­er that Stu­dio Ghi­b­li, Hayao Miyaza­k­i’s ani­ma­tion shop. Those com­mer­cials, drawn in an ele­gant­ly sim­ple style that recalls tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese sumi‑e illus­tra­tions, had the same metic­u­lous atten­tion to detail and flu­id move­ments that are Miyaza­k­i’s trade­mark.

As it turns out, Ghi­b­li did­n’t restrict its com­mer­cial endeav­ors to car­toon cats. Above are a bunch of com­mer­cials the com­pa­ny did over the years stretch­ing all the way back to 1992. The ads range from ones about bread to banks to green tea. There are also quite a num­ber of tie-ins from the stu­dio’s movies, like an ad for Law­son’s con­ve­nience stores that fea­tures col­lectible dolls from Spir­it­ed Away. What is fas­ci­nat­ing about these ads is the range of styles they exhib­it. Many are done in a way that clear­ly recalls Miyaza­k­i’s movies, oth­ers look much more min­i­mal and much more ges­tur­al.

In oth­er Miyaza­ki relat­ed news, it turns out that the mas­ter isn’t retir­ing after all. Fol­low­ing the release of his fea­ture The Wind Ris­es in 2013, Hayao Miyaza­ki announced he was get­ting out of the ani­ma­tion biz. But as with his numer­ous dec­la­ra­tions of retire­ment in the past, it did­n’t take.

Miyaza­ki is report­ed­ly mak­ing a 10-minute long ani­mat­ed short called Kemushi no Boro (Boro the Cater­pil­lar). The direc­tor describes the short as “a sto­ry of a tiny, hairy cater­pil­lar, so tiny that it may be eas­i­ly squished between your fin­gers.” He has been devel­op­ing on the idea for a cou­ple decades now and, in spite of the short’s length, the film is pro­ject­ed to take three years to make.

What might be sur­pris­ing is that the film will be entire­ly com­put­er gen­er­at­ed. Miyaza­ki is per­haps the world’s most famous pro­po­nent of hand-drawn cel ani­ma­tion. As a younger man, he railed against CGI call­ing the method “shal­low, fake.” Over the years, how­ev­er, his feel­ings evolved.

“If [hand-drawn cel ani­ma­tion] is a dying craft we can’t do any­thing about it,” he told The Guardian back in 2005. “Civ­i­liza­tion moves on. Where are all the fres­co painters now? Where are the land­scape artists? What are they doing now? […] Actu­al­ly I think CGI has the poten­tial to equal or even sur­pass what the human hand can do. But it is far too late for me to try it.”

Appar­ent­ly it is not.

Boro will screen exclu­sive­ly in his Stu­dio Ghi­b­li Muse­um in Mita­ka, Tokyo, so if you want to see the master’s next work, be pre­pared to fly to Japan.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Simp­sons Pay Won­der­ful Trib­ute to the Ani­me of Hayao Miyaza­ki

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

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.

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