The Ghibli on the Train: Miyazaki’s Animation in the Real World

By  · Published on October 28th, 2016

A new video that simply must be seen to be believed.

When revered animator Hayao Miyazaki is at the top of his game – Kiki’s Delivery Service, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle – his films represent the best kind of magic realism, layered in lore and myth, playful even in their darker moments, and not routes of escapism but rather journeys of introspection, be it on an individual or cultural level. The films straddle a thin membrane between the real and the fantastic, and often they begin with someone from the former realm entering the latter via event, environment or entity, thus blurring the disparate dimensions into rich, lush, and imaginative worlds all Miyazaki’s own. But what would this look like the other way around, if it was the fantastic entering the realm of the real? Narratively, that’s a question for another time. But visually? We can solve that for you right now, and the short answer is: it would look amazing.

More: Essence of Humanity – The Films of Hayao Miyazaki

The following video from DirectorDT on Vimeo is, hands down, the coolest thing I’ve seen all week, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to rank up there for you too. What we’ve got here are a collection of Miyazaki characters set against real world backgrounds that match the original, animated scenes from the director’s films: Kiki floats through real clouds, Chihiro rides real trains, and Totoro stands in real rain at a real train station. It is a staggering accomplishment of editing, a strangely alluring integration of the animated into the actual, and impressively exhaustive in its matching of background with context.

Watch this twice, then watch it twice again.

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