Kazuo Oga Background Art Exhibition



The Studio Ghibli Weblog in Spain brings this terrific Youtube video to our attention - a collection of Studio Ghibli's Kazuo Oga's background artwork.  This probably comes from the Kazuo Oga Exhibition DVD and Blu-Ray that was released in Japan.  Diehard Ghibli fans should pick up the Blu-Ray, which includes a documentary as well as an extensive art gallery in glorious 1080p.*

Thanks to Youtube allowing for longer videos, we're able to take advantage with longer-form presentations such as this.  All the songs played in this video hail from Ghibli films.  Let's see if you can guess them all.  Enjoy!

(*Just so you know, Samsung is already showing off their massive 4K resolution TVs.  No doubt these sets will become available to the public, ah...right around the time we finish buying all our movies on BD.  Don't ya just love the consumer electronics scam?)

The Ponyo Blu-Ray in Germany


This is fascinating.  We are looking at the Ponyo Blu-Ray that was released on March 18 in Germany.  Note how they're using the same art design as the rest of Ghibli's BDs in Japan.  I've wondered if Studio Ghibli would redesign their Ponyo cover in keeping with the other films.  This looks very nice; I wouldn't at all be surprised if Ghibli brought this cover design back home.

I'm sure there are a few die-hard collectors who just have to have the complete Ghibli Blu-Ray library from Japan, so if that describes you, I'm sure you'll be thrilled by this German release.  And it's a thrill to see the stylized Japanese covers appear in other countries.  Now if we could only have the equally impressive cardboard covers, instead of the crummy (and ocean-destroying) plastic cases, we'll really be making progress.  Do it for the Macho Man, I say!*

(* No, I really have no idea what any of this has to do with "Macho Man" Randy Savage.  But he was a hero and icon to my generation, and he will be very sorely missed.)

Video - Studio Ghibli Collection



In this impressive pair of videos, Youtube user Mike Elissen shows off his complete collection of Miyazaki-Takahata DVDs. His library includes discs from Japan, Hong Kong, the UK and North America. It's very similar to my own Ghibli DVD library, in that respect. If you're a diehard Ghibli fan, you'll learn the joys of importing discs.

It's interesting to note that only the feature films are included in this video. It would be especially impressive if Mike showed off a stack of Ghibli ga Ippai straight-to-video discs. I see that Isao Takahata's 1987 live-action documentary, The Story of Yanagawa Waterways, isn't in his DVD library. How about Ghiblies Episode 2? Did he get the Japanese DVD for The Cat Returns? How about A Night of Taneyama-gahara, the storybook short film directed by famed Ghibli artist Kazuo Oga? Or, if he really wants to impress friends and family, pull out Lasseter-San, Arigatou, or Hayao Miyazaki and the Ghibli Museum.

Whew! It only goes to show you, even when you think you've seen everything, you have much further to go. But isn't that part of the fun? Of course. Now if we could only do something about the stroke-inducing prices of Japanese import DVDs and BDs...ouch!

Studio Ghibli Meets Minecraft



As you may know, I'm a big fan of Minecraft, the indie-videogame sensation that lets you explore a vast world, discover enormous cave systems, and build pretty much whatever you want.  Indeed, since Minecraft is still an unfinished game (you can download the Beta today or wait for the November 11 release), many people enjoy the building aspect most of all, especially with online multiplayer.

This brings us to this pair of videos, showing dedicated Minecraft renditions of Studio Ghibli classics.  Featured on the first video are homages to Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Porco Rosso, Spirited Away, and Howl's Moving Castle.  These environments have been recreated in painstaking detail; you can tell it took a fair number of people many weeks to put everything together.  Amazing!

The second video is devoted entirely to the Minecraft rendition of the bath house from Spirited Away.  It's a stunning sight.  Not only has the exterior been built perfectly, but the interior as well.  Have a good chuckle at the sight of the coal room!  How did they do that?  I'm patting myself on the shoulder because I built a swimming pool on the roof of my lookout tower next to my house.

Somewhere on my to-do list, I keep telling myself that I should build a giant Totoro billboard.  Then I see these massive structures that others have created, and lose my nerve. My skills are only barely adequate.

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