Ghibli Museum Short Films - Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess (2010)


Ladies and gentlemen, the newest animated film by Hayao Miyazaki, Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess (Pan-Dane to Tamago-Hime).  This short film was released to the Ghibli Museum on November 20, and is also paired with an exhibit

What we are looking at is the official art book that accompanies each of the museum's shorts.  It all looks so spectacular; of course, we already expect this.  It's Miyazaki.  I'm thrilled to see him continue his surrealist streak; you can see how happily he has settled into his grandfather role.

At its core, Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess asks the question, "How is bread made?"  The idea is examined through the wild, imaginitive eyes of a small child.  Cooking becomes magic.  Ingredients become alchemy.  Leavened bread becomes alive.  The miracle of creation is on display, weaving through waking eyes and the imagination.  Miyazaki has a way of making the natural world seem magical that is wholly unique.  Perhaps it's because I hail from Minnesota that I can identify with this quality so much.  American animators should aspire to this.

Little details are to be found everywhere in these photographs.  I'm sure the animation is a joy to watch.  The shot of the breadman crawling out of the oven is a riff from the giant robot in Castle in the Sky.  The animal farmers remind me a lot of Richard Scarry's animals, which I loved as a small child.  On the final photo, you can spot Miyazaki-the-Pig, and is that Heidi seated at a table with some bread?  Yes, it is!  And I marvel at the brilliant contrast between the large witch - a surreal, messy cousin to the witchy women in Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle - and the Egg Princess, who is a textbook example of simplicity in action.  This 10-minute cartoon is amazing in its diversity.  Am I right to suspect that some of Miyazaki's greatest anime resides in these Ghibli Museum short films?

You'll have to click on the photos to seem them in the proper size.  The color and detail is exquisite; our thanks go out to the forums at Buta Connection in France.  No doubt copies of the art book will be sold on Ebay; like every dedicated Miyazaki fan, I am determined to collect all of them.  What an amazing movie.


6 comments:

joel said...

While I really respect the reasons behind Miyazaki's stance that these shorts never be shown outside the museum, it really does a disservice to his global audience. For most people, it is simply not an option to travel to Tokyo to visit a museum.

Sure, you can argue that you have to travel to Paris to really see the Mona Lisa, but at least you can get a fraction of the experience by looking at photos or reproductions. Also, film is a populist medium that by definition demands an audience -- making it widely available doesn't automatically devalue it as a work of art, I don't think.

I say this as someone who is lucky enough to have been to the Ghibli Museum (and I have a film cell ticket and a stuffed Totoro to show for it). The short I saw was Mei and the Kittenbus. And yes, it's a great memory and I do feel special for being one of the relative few who got to experience it. But what's so special about me, other than I got a great deal on a flight to Japan and could afford to go?

beyond said...

Pantama soundtrack will be released on the market on Feb 2.
It's first time that Ghibli museum short soundtrack is released on the market.
http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/product/detail/3961730
Why?
Toshio Suzuki revealed on his radio program last year that he considers its official release on Youtube.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Thanks for the link to the CD. I thought I spied that earlier today. And Ghibli Blog did report on Suzuki-san's idea of posting short films on Youtube. As of yet, no official word has been made; this is still in the "wouldn't it be nice" category.

One question, I suppose, is what would happen to the Ghibli Museum if Studio Ghibli were scuttled after Miyazaki's passing? Regardless of the studio's future, I would hope that the museum endures. It's such a wonderful oasis for children, free from overt and cynical commercialism.

Does anybody seriously believe Hayao Miyazaki is another Walt Disney? Then take a look at their theme parks.

watkinzez said...

Some friends of mine saw this film a few days ago. I hate them.

The reason for keeping them in the museum is so not to reduce them to a consumer product, right? Releasing them online while continuing to show them there for as the only way to see them on the big screen seems like a fair trade.

greentea said...

Whoa, this looks... weird. A wacked out version of Yubaba with... breast implants? And animal people, food people? Kind of reminds me of Adventure Time. Animation looks good as usual though.

DarthLocke said...

As much as I would love to see the film, I give them great credit to keeping these shorts attached to their museum. It comes as a great novelty out of tradition and respect.

It would be nice though if after 15 years of each release they would market each on DVD/blu-ray. I would pay the same for each as I would a feature film.

And this one in particular looks so detailed, that I can not help but to specifically be reminded of "Spirited Away".

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