Alright, here's a mystery that I have yet to solve. We've already seen the cameos of Yasuo Otsuka and Hayao Miyazaki (and family) from the final episode of Lupin III. There's one other major instance of cameos, and it comes at the end of the first Panda Kopanda cartoon.
At the end of the film, there's a leftward pan of a crowd waiting to see Papa Panda at the zoo, and it's packed with all the people who made Panda Kopanda. This was a beloved project, because it was the first reunion of the old gang from Toei Doga. Everyone had moved away, one after another, starting with Otsuka in 1969, after completing Puss in Boots. Eventually, everyone apart from Yasuji Mori - Takahata, Miyazaki, Otsuka, Akemi Ota, Yoichi Kotabe, Reiko Okuyama, Michiyo Yasuda, yadda yadda - had made the jump to A-Pro. After Lupin was finished, and the Pipi Longstockings project fell through, Panda Kopanda was churned out to vent all that frustration and pent-up energy.
Also, let's not forget a 22-year-old Yoshifumi Kondo, who joined the gang on Lupin. So you can see why the Panda cartoons, and especially the first one, have such a vibrant energy. The thing just pulses with life, like a pack of schoolkids let loose on a snow day.
So, here's the big question about this crowd shot at the end: who's who? You can pretty easily spot the real people, since most of the faces are simple, iconic cartoon faces. I managed to take three pictures, so everyone can take their best guesses.
This is something for John Lasseter to ask about the next time he travels to Japan. Or Ben Ettinger - maybe he knows who's who.
In the second photo, you can spot Lupin and Jigen, which is funny. Just below them, you can see the birthday boy - he's pretty easy to spot with the glasses and son hanging on him. In the third photo, at bottom right, it looks like Kotabe. He has that kind of long face, so that's my guess. Was that Okuyama at the end of the first photo? And who's the girl at the opposite end of the third picture? I see the hair and the blue outfit, so I'm thinking that's Ota, the wife. Again, I'm just guessing, and trying to plug my own Miyazaki Heroine theory into the mix.
I'm pretty stumped on this one, and I'm dying to know. Pass this among your so-called Ghibli friends and see if they can spot anyone. Use this as a benchmark to see how devoted a fan they really are. Get somebody at Pixar on the horn!