(Update: This video has since been removed from Youtube. Sorry.)
This week we're having a double feature of two Studio Ghibli short films. Ghiblies is a 12-minute short created in 2000, and aired on NHK as part of an extended program about the studio. The drawing style is similar to My Neighbors the Yamadas, with its zen approach and cartoonish, iconic characters. Ghiblies is a parody of the studio, and the characters are based on the actual people, including Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki. A number of short episodes are collected, showcasing some impressive diversity; Ghibli continues to dip its toes into computer-animated waters.
Ghiblies Episode 2, made in 2002, was released in theatres on a double bill with Neko no Ongaeshi, or The Cat Returns. This 30-minute short film was given the big-budget treatment, and quite often overshadows its full-length partner. Like the first Ghiblies, this is an anthology of shorts that spoofs the Ghibli studio. It's directed by Yoshiyuki Momose, one of the elder statesmen of Ghibli who has also directed three excellent Capsule videos. Ghiblies 2 is another opportunity for the staff to spread their wings, and the results are outstanding. Here we see a mastery of computer technology that works in tandem with traditional animation.
We Americans would have much to learn from studying this film. Sadly, Disney cut Ghiblies Episode 2 from the US DVD release of The Cat Returns; both movies are packaged together on the Japanese region-2 disc, so you may want to consider importing. Happy viewing!