Miyazaki Riffs #9

Another early Miyazaki work that gets quoted a lot is Panda Kopanda (and, naturally, Panda Kopanda and the Rainy Day Circus). It was a much-loved production, full of warm memories, and a genuine touchstone into the realm of idyllic childhood. Little wonder, then, that the short film became a strong reference point for My Neighbor Totoro many years later.

We've already seen that excellent riff involving the cop on the bicycle, which is riffed in Totoro's opening scene. Here's another riff, a low-angle shot of Mimi running around her house. This exact shot is reproduced for the two girls in Totoro. Again, like nearly all the riffs, it's a very quick shot, one of those blink-and-you-miss-it opportunities that Miyazaki gives to his fans.

If you're worried about what you will do once you've seen everything there is to see, don't worry. You still have all the riffs to discover. And if you're understanding of Miyazaki only stretches to Studio Ghibli, then this will underscore the importance of becoming familiar with his pre-Ghibli works.


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