For all those who are obsessed with Studio Ghibli, you're in luck. The World of Ghibli in China opened its first ever Mainland exhibition last Sunday (July 1) at the Shanghai World Financial Center. This year marks the studio's 30th anniversary of one of its most successful films, My Neighbor Totoro, and the exhibit does a great job celebrating that.
Studio Ghibli was founded in Japan in 1985 by director Hayao Miyazaki. For many, Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki films are a gateway drug into Japanese animation, or at the very least they are a more mainstream entrance into the anime world. Just ask the billions of anime addicts out there. The films' colourful worlds and characters captivate kids, while adults get hooked by their stories' emotional depth.
The Shanghai exhibit (running through October 7) starts off with a walkthrough of the studio’s most famous movies and displays of 285 original storyboards and sketches. The descriptions and captions are all written in Chinese without English translations, but even if you can't read Mandarin, if you're a Ghibli geek you’ll be just fine enjoying the sketches, replaying the movie scenes in your head. Also, you get a sense for how animation has evolved from the late '80s to now.
After the artwork, the exhibit recreates scenes from My Neighbor Totoro – it's the ideal space for the photo-ops you’ve always dreamed off. Inside you can find a life-sized, plush replica of the Catbus, a half-scale recreation of Satsuki and Mei’s house, and everyone's favourite animated Chinchilla, Totoro. Talk about kawaii desu ne. We saw both kids and adults snapping pics with all the props like age wasn't even a thing.
After Totoro’s world you are brought to the gift shop where you can buy licensed Studio Ghibli swag before going up to the 94th floor to see an eight-metre long replica of the airship from Castle in the Sky. You could say that, up on the 94th floor, you're floating above the clouds with the airship – flying over Shanghai, Studio Ghibli style.
For all Ghibli fans, it's a must-see. Tickets are 159RMB and available on Time Out Tickets.