Saturday, August 23, 2014
Engage and Umbrellas (This week's Photo Hunt themes)
The past few months have seen many treats for Hong Kong-based fans of Totoro and other Studio Ghibli creations (including a certain Ponyo). Among other things, last month saw the arrival of Isao Takahata's sublime The Tale of Princess Kaguya into cinemas, and it was followed this month by Mami Sunada's wonderful Studio Ghibli documentary, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness.
In addition, MCL Telford has been hosting a -- still ongoing, as I write this -- Studio Ghibli Animation Retrospective Programme while the Hong Kong Heritage Museum's highlight exhibition this summer has been the one on Studio Ghibli Layout Designs: Understanding the Secrets of Takahata and Miyazaki Animation.
At both MCL Telford and the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, provisions have been made for those who wish to engage with Totoro (particularly O-Totoro) in ways that go beyond merely looking at illustrations of it. Specifically, the cinema has a large Totoro plush in its lobby area which fans can take photos with (but, it's specifically noted, not touch) while the museum has set up specific themed photography areas (such as Totoro's Wonderland and Ponyo's Beach) and organised workshops on the art of Studio Ghibli.
On a related note: when Donguri Republic (Studio Ghibli's character shop) opened its first branch outside of Japan here in Hong Kong last summer, a photo area featuring O-Totoro waiting for a bus (with an umbrella at the ready to be used in case rain started falling) was set up in the shopping mall that the store's located.
Participants in Sandi's and Gattina's Photo Hunts wondering what's the connection between umbrellas and Totoro, go check out the absolutely fantastic My Neighbor Totoro post haste! For now, suffice to say that umbrellas play a part in a part in a lovely scene in the movie that takes place one rainy evening, and which many people consider it one of the best animation film scenes of all time. :)