I am a huge fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s films and more broadly, the animated films produced by his Japanese film company, Studio Ghibli.
The films have all been released by Disney in the last 10 years, and feature new English voice actors (so no subtitles).
Representing these beautiful array of films in Lego is something I hadn’t thought about…until I saw the creation to the right and fell in love.
I soon discovered that there are heaps of people who share my love of both Lego and Miyazaki, only they are much more talented than I am 🙂
Lego My Neighbor Totoro
If you have kids who like the more innocent things in life and haven’t seen My Neighbor Totoro yet, don’t wait any longer.
It is one of the best animated films for children (and adults) who are able to sit through a film that features nature more than explosions. And it’s not just me saying that. Totoro tops many of the media’s Best Animated Film lists, including Time Magazine.
The film tells the story of two sisters who move to rural Japan with their father because their mother is receiving treatment in a nearby hospital. While in this magical environment they soon discover nature spirits who show them the wonders of the forest.
It is serious at times but what shines through is the love for family and the acute perceptions of how a child sees the world.
You can watch a trailer of the film below or find the DVD at Amazon.
Lego Nausicaa Valley Of the Wind
Nausicaa Of the Valley Of the Wind was one of Miyazaki’s first films and he actually wrote and illustrated a seven volume manga (comic book) before making the film.
I mean this manga is epic -highly detailed both in plot and drawings! Just a warning though – it does differ from the film (a tad bleaker) so avoid if you want to keep the story of the film in your memory.
Compared to Totoro, this film is more for older children as it carries a more serious tone but still has a huge emotional impact (and great music).
Nausicaa is a young princess of a rural province, the Valley of the Wind. She is a champion of the forest and the creatures who live there despite their toxicity to humans. She is unwittingly involved in a war with a large kingdom bent on trying to destroy the forest and must make ethical choices about where she stands.
The creation above is a beautiful representation of a flying vehicle (Miyazaki loves flying machines) used in the film. The flaps on the model open up at the back and the engines light up – beautiful!
Nausicca is available on DVD and Blu Ray.
Arrietty is Studio Ghibli’s latest film and while Miyazaki did not direct the animated feature, he had a major influence on the story and the design of the characters and environments.
The film, also known as The Secret World of Arrietty is based on Andre Norton’s book The Borrowers and follows tiny Arrietty and her family as they “borrow” bits and pieces from the human house in which they live.
Being the size of a pin, the family is careful not to reveal themselves to the big people knowing that by doing so they threaten their very existence. But then a young boy arrives at the house and Arrietty is drawn to his wistful and gentle presence.
I love this creation (again by Ochre Jelly on Flickr). The mini sculpture captures perfectly the essence of Arrietty while being beautifully detailed the character and the film.
Arrietty is available for preorder on DVD and Blu Ray.
Studio Ghibli Films Trailer
Someone put all the Disney released Studio Ghibli trailers into one video on Youtube. It’s awesome (I get teary watching it).
Other Studio Ghibli Films
Other Studio Ghibli films appropriate for young children include:
For slightly Older Children:
- Howl’s Moving Castle
- Laputa Castle In the Sky
- Spirited Away
- Whisper Of the Heart
- The Cat Returns (sequel to Whisper Of the Heart)
For mature kids