As we dust off the concepts, treatments and story ideas over the last couple of years, laying them out as the team take the first serious steps towards an original animated feature (our first), I thought I’ll post an excerpt from an old blog entry after my visit to Ghibli Musuem, Tokyo in 2008.
Ghibli Museum, Mitaka, Tokyo 24 March 2008
I left Ghibli Musuem in a somewhat sombre mood. I had little to say to my friend whom I went with, and was quiet for most of the long walk back to Mitaka station. It confused me why I was feeling that way – almost depressed. I struggled to find an answer.
My thoughts searched back to the afternoon’s visit. For 2 hours or so I walked the halls and corridors of the museum, passing by Ghibli’s famed creations, concept art, original storyboards and handwriting from Miyazaki himself, seeing the research, dexterity, talent, love and heart that went into making these timeless animated films.
I saw the uninhibited joy of children surrounded by their favourite Ghibli characters, without a worry in the world except how to get themselves on the catbus and go flying with Totoro. I could see the wonder in the eyes of adults seemingly lost in a world that calls out to their memories, beckoning them to let their childhood return for a few moments, for they have never quite gone away – only forgotten.
As I board the train back to the city, my thoughts return to the present and it struck me: I wanted to visit Ghibli Museum because I love the films and thought I’ll have a good time and be inspired. Truth is, inspiration was never the problem. The effect on me was much more profound. I felt the presence and more significantly, the pressure of true greatness. And It was terrifying.
But as I passed stations after stations, the fear subsided, replaced by a clarity and sense of pride – almost beaming pride – that we’re in the same profession as the magicians and storytellers at Studio Ghibli. The important thing is not that we even contemplate achieving what they have done, but that we felt their spirit and understood their purpose.
If our studio’s film can touch just one person in the cinema the way Ghibli’s works touch a generation, it would have been worth every drop of sweat and tear to make it happen.