Admittedly, it took me a while to appreciate anime. I was brought up on a steady diet of Disney and didn't understand the point of an animated film that didn't have blonde princesses or song and dance routines. Like many in the west, my introduction to the style came with Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away, which I found strangely enchanting. Then I discovered My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Grave of the Fireflies. To this day, Grave of the Fireflies remains one of the most powerful films - animated or not - I have ever seen.
Studio Ghibli is the leader of Japanese animation, and when we were in Tokyo, we visited the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. We got off at Mitaka station, and walked along the tree-lined streets, admiring the traditional houses and enjoying the crisp air away from inner-city Tokyo. Every few metres was a post topped off with a little smiling Totoro, pointing out landmarks along the bus route to the museum.
|Totoro Bus Stop|
|Totoro at the entrance to Ghibli Museum|
|The robot from Laputa (his head got chopped in the picture, sorry)|
|Studio Ghibli Shop in Kyoto|