Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Studio Ghibli to set up a remote atelier at Toyota Motors headquarters

by Chris MaGee

If there's a god in heaven please don't let this mean what I think it means... According to a report posted at Japan Today this morning Studio Ghibli, the animation company founded in 1985 by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, will be opening a remote "animation atelier" at the Toyota Motors headquarters (above) in Aichi Prefecture this coming April. It will be staffed by 30 new animators and their supervisors and will be in operation for a two year contract period. Studio Ghibli Inc President Koji Hoshino has stated that both Miyazaki and former Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki were both very impressed with what they saw during a visit to the Toyota headquarters in 2006 and that hopefully "...the inspiration and tension our staff will feel by working at the top site in the world for developing automobiles will be a plus in training new animators, as well as in creating films."

Okay, so if this is some kind of crazy motivational exercise then so be it. I'm as far from coorperate as you can get, so the idea of those kind of tactics makes me bristle a bit, but then again after producing such amazing films as "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spririted Away" Miyazaki and Ghibli must know what they're doing. What really has me nervous, though, is that Miyazaki tends send his animators to places that have some bearing on future projects, the ancient Yakushima forest is Kagoshima Prefecture for "Princess Mononoke", the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum for "Spirited Away", and the town of Tomo no Ura in the Setonaikai National Park for "Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea". All these places were adapted into locales for these films... but the headquarters of Toyota Motors Corporation? If this is the same situation please let it be for a film about a magical factory, or some kind of evil industrial setting, but please, please, please don't let this mean that Miyazaki is planning to make a film about cars! I mean Pixar's "Cars" was more than enough. Geez! Please, Miyazaki-san, Please!!!!!

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