Promoting the upcoming Studio Ghibli co-production, The Red Turtle, and giving fans a deeper look into the Studio Ghibli body of work, a new exhibition has taken over the Roppongi Hills Plaza Mori Arts Center that showcases the 30-year history of the animation company and the direction they are heading in their post-Miyazaki-retirement era.
The exhibition starts off with a hallway of posters for every Studio Ghibli release thus far leading right up to a large print for the upcoming release, The Red Turtle. This advances into a showcase of the new film’s genesis, exhibiting storyboard sketches and drawings dating back to 2009, and caps off with stills of the finished product. It’s not directed by any of the Ghibli mainstays, but there are still hints of the Miyazaki style in the characters and a focus on nature that will no doubt make it fit right in with the Studio Ghibli body of work.
Totoro showcases his skills as a bartender at the entrance into an exhibit hall of sketches, art, storyboards and finished posters from every Studio Ghibli production.
Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki are practically synonymous, but strangely, Miyazaki’s presence in the exhibition was muted in favor of current General Manager and longtime Producer/Executive Toshio Suzuki, even going so far as to have a display of his work desk.
There’s a room filled with the history of Ghibli merchandise, a full-sized Catbus with seats as comfy as they look in the movie, and a hallway showcasing the universal acclaim and awards received for Spirited Away.
The exhibition ends in a room with an animated airship from Castle In The Sky that simulates flight, and several other models of aircrafts from Ghibli movies. I couldn’t help but think of this room as symbolizing the heights that Studio Ghibli are still aspiring to and someday hope to achieve.
After exiting the exhibition, there is a cafe that, for a limited time, has a Ghibli-inspired menu. I tried out a black soot burger (Totoro) and egg on toast (Castle In The Sky). They looked pretty, but I would suggest a hard pass on the Ghibli food. A black soot burger sounds fun in theory, but feels like it uses what I believe to be black ink extracted out of Bic pen, which, pen-biters know, can get extremely messy (fork and knife recommended).
Showcasing all of the studio’s works while promoting a new co-production and quieting the impact of Miyazaki in favor of the steady guidance of Toshio Suzuki, this exhibition is a showcase not only of the history and influence of Studio Ghibli, but of the optimism of the studio moving forward.