Studio Ghibli’s Hidden Gem Shorts

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Founded in 1985, Studio Ghibli has spent decades entertaining audiences around the world with its unforgettable iconic character designs, heartfelt stories, and jaw-dropping animations. While Ghibli’s broad and diverse feature production is the studio’s biggest draw, Ghibli has also produced a variety of interesting shorts over the years.

Whether it’s music videos, original shorts to accompany their features, or straight-to-video accompaniments, Ghibli’s shorter content is some of the studio’s most gratifying, yet tragically overlooked, content. famous from anime.

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Music videos animated by Studio Ghibli


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Ghibli has made a number of short films for various Japanese musical groups. The best known of these is a 1995 short film directed by Hayao Miyazaki for the group’s song “On Your Mark”. Chage and Aska. Approximately seven minutes long and originally played before Ghibli’s feature Whisper of the Heart, “On Your Mark” is a surreal, distinctly Ghibli-esque animation about an angel-like woman who is removed from the guard of a strange religious cult and relocated to a strange and disturbing laboratory, leading two men to hatch a daring plan for her escape. The seven-minute animation shows Miyazaki’s signature realistic movement in animation, while thematically echoing the concern for personal dignity that pervades Miyazaki’s filmography.


In addition to “On Your Mark”, Ghibli has produced other animated shorts through its subsidiary Studio Kajino, which specializes in alternative and short-form content. With productions through Studio Kajino, Ghibli was involved in three different music videos for the electronic musical ensemble capsule: “Portable Airport”, “Space Station No. 9”, and “A Flying City Plan”. These short offerings complement the capsule’s musical style with freewheeling graphics and lush green/pink color palettes.

Ghiblies and Ghiblies 2


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In 2000, Studio Ghibli attempted to format their anime style into an abbreviated television format. Releasing “Ghiblies,” directed by Yoshiyuki Momose, the short film used a comedic tone to highlight the studio’s output for Japanese broadcaster NTV. The short was well received on Japanese television, and it garnered renewed contemporary interest when it was included as an accompaniment to the 2016 US theatrical re-release of Taken away as if by magicone of the studio’s most iconic features that was in production at the time of the short’s initial release.


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After the initial success of “Ghiblies”, a sequel was produced to play before the 2002 feature film Ghibli The cat returns. Yoshiyuki Momose returned to direct the sequel, and his character designs were handled by Toshio Suzuki, who is known for his production work on many of Ghibli’s most iconic anime features. Like its predecessor, “Ghiblies: Episode 2” was also re-released for Spirited Away’s 2016 theatrical series.

Ghibli Museum Exclusive Shorts


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In addition to his work with music videos and feature film accompaniments, many of Ghibli’s most technically impressive short films were produced specifically for the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan. Dedicated to the studio’s creative celebration of animation, the Ghibli Museum regularly showcases a rotating collection of shorts in its Saturn Room. Many of these films are entirely original creations, while others are expansions and short “catch-ups” to other Ghibli properties. These films are hard to come by outside of specific screenings at the Ghibli Museum, and as such are some of the studio’s most valuable and obscure content.


The majority of these shorts have always been side projects that Hayao Miyazaki worked on between his larger projects. The Ghibli Museum series began in 2001 with “Kujiratori”, a 15-minute piece directed by Hayao Miyazaki that follows a group of children whose playtime is illustrated between the banality of their school and the fantastic ocean world of their imagination, complemented by a fun game. whale. Next is “Koro no Daisanpo” in 2002, a heartwarming story about a puppy who has adventures in a small town before returning to his owner. Also in 2002, there was the release of “Mei and the Kittenbus”, directed by Miyazaki, a short sequel to My Neighbor Totoro 14 years after its initial release. About two months after My Neighbor Totoro, “Mei and the Kitten” expands on the relationship between the film’s protagonist Mei as she encounters the magical spirits of the original feature film, also encountering a cuter “kitten” in Catbus, who happened to be also be voiced by Miyazaki himself. “Mei and the Kittenbus” has never received an official home video release, and its rarity outside of a small handful of festival screenings and rotations at the Ghibli Museum has made it one of the most coveted works in the world. studio.


The newest of the museum’s shorts, “Boro the Caterpillar”, was released in 2018. A short that actually convinced Miyazaki to come out of retirement, “Boro the Caterpillar” tells the story of a newly hatched caterpillar that weaves its way through the complexities of the world. Studio Ghibli shorts have come in a variety of formats and different production deals, and many of them have been included in compilations similar to American studio Pixar’s shorts. While many of these hidden gems are available in these releases, Studio Ghibli’s shorts remain some of the studio’s most esoteric and rewarding delights for fans.

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