Braving the intense summer heat here in Tokyo last weekend, I made my way down to the Studio Ghibli Layout Designs Exhibition held at the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art (MOT) in Miyoshi. This exhibition is a 2nd collaboration between Studio Ghibli and MOT, the first been the fantastic Kazuo Oga Background Art Exhibition held last year, featuring about 600 pieces of the artist’s breathtaking artwork.
This year, an astounding 1300 pieces of original layout designs from Ghibli’s most memorable films films are on display, from Miyazaki’s earlier works like Nausicaa, Sherlock Hound, to his latest film Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. For more background information on this exhibition, read this earlier post here.
Mononoke Hime is my favourite Ghibli animation, so I couldn’t be happier that they chose a layout from the film as the main design for the exhibition. This piece, with Ashitaka and Yakul, is of course featured in the exhibition too. I must have starred at it for more than 10 minutes admiring the beautiful draughtsmanship.
(above) The entrance to the exhibition. This year tickets are only available from the convenience chain stall Lawson and MUST be purchased in advance. No tickets are on sale at the exhibition venue, so for those planning a visit, please take special note. There was only a brief wait of about 10 minutes before I managed to enter the exhibition. ( Quite unlike the unbelievable Inoue Takehiko The LAST Manga Exhibition, where I waited for hours on 2 days, battling the hot sun on one day and pouring rain the next. ) There are 4 slots available each day, 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm. The exhibition ends at 6pm, so I suggest getting an earlier ticket if you really want to pore over every one of the work on display, like me.
(above) A pigmy Totoro guides the visitor down to the basement level where the exhibition continues.
(above and below) Visitors to the exhibition are encouraged to display their creative flair by drawing their own versions of the dust sprite (Makkurokurosuke) from Totoro on a blank piece of round sticker paper, and pasting it onto a huge wall. ( during the Kazuo Oga exhibition last year it was folding origami Totoros ) The first person to grace the wall with his work was Studio Ghibli’s Suzuki-san, as seen by his signature. It was all good fun, Ghibli style.
Photography is strictly prohibited in the exhibition space ( barely public areas where open activities are carried out and no artwork is on display, like above ), but thankfully MOT has released a monster sized book containing yes – all 1300 pieces of layout designs on display. Below are some previews, I will post more designs in Part II.