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Disney's Epcot Park Launches Anime/Folklore Exhibit

posted on by Gia Manry
Exhibit traces anime, manga, game characters to Japanese Folk Tales

According to a Friday post on the official Disney Parks Blog, the Japan Pavilion at Walt Disney World Resort's Epcot theme park has opened a new exhibit called "Spirit Beasts: From Ancient Stories to Anime Stars." The Florida-based exhibit showcases classic creatures from Japanese folktales that have served as inspiration for modern-day anime and manga series.

Among the examples pictured are the kappa (a type of water sprite), the kitsune (foxes), the tsuru (cranes), the saru (monkeys), and the "moon rabbit" — all of which appear in many manga and anime. Kappa, for example, appear in the TV anime series Summer Days with Coo (Kappa no Coo to Natsuyasumi), while Naruto, Inuyasha, and Natsume's Book of Friends all feature kitsune characters. The moon rabbit legend is referenced in the Sailor Moon franchise, whose main character is named Usagi Tsukino ("rabbit of the moon").

Project Manager and Show Producer Wyatt Winter says that the exhibit should run for several years. Prior to the Spirit Beasts exhibit, the location housed exhibits on World Heritage Sites of Japan and Tin Toy Stories.

Disney's involvement with anime in North America consists primarily of its localization and distribution of Studio Ghibli titles. Recently, however, Disney added Naruto to its Disney XD television channel's lineup. Disney has also been creating original content for the Japanese market, including three television series spinoffs of its film Lilo & Stitch with anime studios Madhouse and Shinei Animation.

Image © Disney

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