Kiki's Delivery Service - Japanese Trailers

It's always a thrill to watch the original movie trailers to the Ghibli movies, especially the earlier ones, before the iconic blue title screen with Totoro. Miyazaki and Takahata's studio was still one among many, albeit one fronted by two anime legends.

Kiki's Delivery Service became the first money-maker for Ghibli. Their previous features - 1986's Castle in the Sky, 1987's (tv) Story of Yanagawa Waterways, 1988's Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro - had failed to turn a profit. No doubt this was because these works all fit outside the acceptable anime norm. They are much more quirky and personal, and very European in tone and style. And they were completely original works, which was still almost unheard of in anime (most films were spinoffs from other media).

In truth, Ghibli always had a dedicated following, one that would build almost by word of mouth. With Kiki, that support would finally spill forth, and from that point forward, a Studio Ghibli film would be the top domestic grosser of that year. This record was broken only once since 1989, with Takahata's My Neighbors the Yamadas in 1999 (Pokemon and Jar Jar Binks proved too irresistable, yuck).

Enjoy these trailers. I'll post the full feature film later today, and hopefully Youtubt won't shut it down for a while.


blauereiter said...

Its truly hard to believe that Totoro failed to turn in a profit when it first screened, seeing just how immensely popular it still is here in Japan.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

My Neighbor Totoro simply needed time to find its audience. Remember that this was a wholly original movie in 1988, not a tie-in with any popular comic or tv series. It's also a very unconventional movie, far closer to Ozu and neorealism than any cartoon fantasy. The Totoros only occupy a small time on screen.

The sale of Totoro merchandise is credited with building the fanbase, and eventually the movie rightfully earned its place among the pantheon of Japanese cinema.

There was also a similar brewing period here in the States, probably longer. Just track down the old Siskel & Ebert episode where they scuffle over Totoro. If Totoro seemed unusual to Japanese eyes and ears, it was downright alien to Americans. No villain! No standup comics! No songs! No moral lessons! No melodrama! No action!

You get the point. Many of the great works of art are ahead of their time, and require a certain gestation period to become widely appreciated and understood. See: Van Gogh, Citizen Kane, Pet Sounds.

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