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Studio Ghibli Animates Legendary Chōjū Giga Scrolls for Ad

posted on 2016-03-15 11:00 EDT
Totoro studio animates animals in 800-year-old "manga" to promote power company

Studio Ghibli animated Chōjū-Jinbutsu-Giga Emaki, the famous Japanese "Scrolls of Cartoons of Birds, Animals, and People" or "Chōjū Giga" for short, for a Marubeni Power commercial that will begin airing in Japan on April 1.

The "Encounter" commercial promotes Plan G, a new electric power option that Marubeni Power is offering to homes as Japan deregulates its power industry. The plan derives its name from both "Ghibli" and "green." It promises to support the national trust for "Totoro's Forest," provide power for the Ghibli Museum, and promote conservation in general. Studio co-founder Hayao Miyazaki and other studio members have been avid opponents of nuclear power, particularly after the Great East Japan Earthquake disaster (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) of March 11, 2011.

Katsuya Kondo, a character designer and animation director for Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service and Ponyo films, was in charge of this commercial. Acclaimed pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii created the background music, and the tagline at the end reads, "There is a Japan I want to leave behind for future generations." The voice who utters the company's Japanese name "Marubeni Shin Denryoku" at the end is Studio Ghibli's own producer Toshio Suzuki. Suzuki revealed that Ghibli is already working on two more commercials in the campaign.

The scrolls are national treasures at Kyoto's Kōzan-ji temple, and they are familiar to nearly every Japanese child, thanks to history textbooks throughout the country. They depict, via anthropomophized animals, life as it was about eight centuries ago between the Heian and Kamakura periods. Scholars have debated whether these scrolls or another scroll, the Shigisan Engi Emaki, are the "first manga" in history.

Suzuki said that both Miyazaki and Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata have enjoyed the scrolls. Takahata in particular wrote a book about emaki scrolls in general and drew inspiration from them for his most recent movie, the Oscar-nominated The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.

Sources: ITmedia, Sports Hochi via Otakomu


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