The Studio Ghibli Museum has been a massive success ever since it opened in Japan, mostly thanks to the studio’s continued popularity. Even 17 years after it originally opened in 2001, you’re going to find it difficult to get tickets for the museum unless you’ve got your finger hovering over the purchase button once the tickets for the following month are released. Even if you’ve been before, the rotating list of exclusive short films only shown in the museum give ample motivation for repeat visits. Originally announced in 2017 for a pre-Olympic opening date (one which it will no longer meet), a press conference recently held in regards to the Studio Ghibli theme park showcased its logo and provided us with more details regarding what to expect when it finally does open to the public.
The one thing the Ghibli Museum succeeds in doing is that, within its 4 walls, you can easily become immersed within the company’s work. With concept art and storyboards strewn around, special exhibits explaining the animation process (currently they have a full exhibition on color theory and Ghibli films that’s incredibly interesting) and even the building’s architecture encapsulating the enchanting and magical feeling Ghibli films are able to evoke. This theme park, set to open in Aichi Prefecture in an area not far from Nagoya, should arguably be able to succeed in this mission further and on an even larger scale. After all, instead of being confined to a small building the theme park is being constructed on an expansive 460-acre area of land, promising themed areas based on Howl’s Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke, and other Ghibli projects.
At the press conference held on May 31st that provided us with new details of what the Studio Ghibli theme park would be, it was stressed that they went the theme park to accurately recreate the detail found in Ghibli’s filmography within the park and the areas that will be housed within it. However, while the project is being referred to as a theme park, it would perhaps not be the best descriptor for the plans that the company have for the area. After all, the theme park will be housed within Aichi’s Earth Expo Memorial Park and there are concerted efforts to recreate the worlds and create a theme park without disturbing too much of the original land.
Finally, the press conference saw the unveiling of the theme park’s logo, a simplistic logo that also encapsulates the spirit of Studio Ghibli. The logo is designed to look like it was made from fallen twigs, while soot sprites and more can be found on it, characters instantly familiar to anyone with knowledge of the company’s previous work.
The theme park is set to open initially in the fall of 2022, with more attractions set to open the following year. While that does leave the park a few painstaking years away from opening, it’ll surely be something worth exploring when the Studio Ghibli theme park finally does open its doors. Studio Ghibli are known for their magical animation that can whisk you away into the worlds they create and the stories they tell, and I can only imagine what is possible when the scale is expanded to a full theme park.