Is a frame of reference necessary to appreciate Disney World? Can you enjoy a ride in a spinning teacup if you have no working knowledge of Alice in Wonderland? What sort of magic might the Magic Kingdom hold for those who’ve never heard of Cinderella or Peter Pan?
Now imagine if the theme park’s scope was narrowed to a single film.
You’ve got until 2020 to sneak in a viewing of the Hayao Miyazaki film, My Neighbor Totoro, before Ghibli Park, a 500-acre amusement park on the grounds of Japan’s 2005 World’s Fair site, opens.
To date, Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli has produced more than a dozen feature-length animated films. That’s a lot of raw material for attractions.
Porco Rosso’s 1930s seaplanes have ride written all over them, and think of the Haunted Mansion-esque thrills that could be wrung from Spirited Away’s bathhouse.
How about a Jungle Cruise-style ramble through the countryside in Howl’s Moving Castle?
An underwater adventure with goldfish princess Ponyo?
Prepare for a very long wait if you’re joining the queue for those. It’s being reported that Ghibli Park will focus exclusively on a single film, 1988’s My Neighbor Totoro.
(Care to take a guess what its Mouse Ears will look like?)
The film’s theme of respect for the natural world is good news for the area’s existing flora. The governor of Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, where Ghibli Park is to be situated, has announced that it will be laid out in such a way as to preserve the trees.
Presumably the film’s iconic cat bus and fast growing camphor tree, above, will be powered by the greenest of energies.
Preview the sort of wonders in store by touring the lifesize house of My Neighbor Totoro‘s human characters, Satsuki and Mei, below.
The Essence of Hayao Miyazaki Films: A Short Documentary About the Humanity at the Heart of His Animation
Hayao Miyazaki’s Masterpieces Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke Imagined as 8-Bit Video Games
Software Used by Hayao Miyazaki’s Animation Studio Becomes Open Source & Free to Download
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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. She’ll be appearing onstage in New York City in Paul David Young’s Faust 3, opening later this week. Follow her @AyunHalliday.
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