Unique Things in Studio Ghibli

  March 18, 2012

As much as I love Starwars, I love movies by Studio Ghibli. From a bunch of Ghibli’s  articles and videos I’ve ever read and watched,  I think I can introduce to you some unique things in Ghibli. My memory may not be correct, but at least things I wrote here are somehow I could find proofs from hundreds of websites, but sure there’s no website to put all these things in one page.

Here are 17 unique things in Ghibli from my perspective. How many things of these you find really unique or you want at your company?  Or do you think some of these still have something to do with Japanese culture? Okay whatever, let’s start.

It’s located right middle in a cozy residential area of Tokyo’s suburb. (maybe this is not a unique “thing” but a “fact”? yeah yeah… but it’s located in a really nice environment. Can you possibly imagine Ghibli studio sits right middle in the Shibuya or Shinjuku? No way:P)

Both Mr.Miyazaki (Citroen 2CV) and chief producer Mr.Suzuki (MINI) drives European cars.
It’s when they drive a car that ideas pop out from nowhere like a magic. But their most favorite means of transportation is, as you might expect, their own foot. Mr.Miyazaki sometimes WALK to the office from his home in SAITAMA to the office in TOKYO!!! It takes about 3 hours (gasp!).
At the entrance of the office Huge Totoro welcomes visitors.
There’s a coffee bar where staffs enjoy morning coffee. It’s a place to let staffs have time to communicate with people of other departments who he/she rarely works together with.

Between the studio buildings, there is an open space where twice a week cafe stall stops by. It’s little cozy space where staffs meets up and enjoy conversation over coffee and fresh wind.

Every Saturday, Animaters gather up in Bar’s kitchen and cook thirst lunch by themselves in order to refresh and re-vitalist themselves. While the creation of “Ponyo” Mr.Miyazaki cooked soba and it was very delicious according to some staffs.

Mr.Miyazaki put an emphasis on “Being Fresh”. Especially right after an end of a movie project, the mood in studio tends to get dull. In order to change the air, they often change the desk layout.

There are tons of circles in Ghibli such as baseball club, tennis club, biking club. Because they tends to sit at desk all day long, most of the clubs are about sports or athletics.

On every Saturday, free massage service is available in Traditional Japanese Tatami room. This is mainly for Animators, who often suffer serious neck pain. Reservation is required.

They have a cat named Ushiko. She is a little plump and is a model for Muta in the movie of Neko no Ongaeshi.

The physical location of Ghibli is in Koganei city, where Gainax, another animation studio known for the famous anime “Evangelion” has it’s studio.

From the roof top to it’s wall, the main studio building is completely covered with green and flowers. 

All members of the company join the annual company trip. So far most visited destination is Kyoto, because Mr.Suzuki loves Kyoto.
Except meal time, when everyone gathers up, what to do is solely up to individuals.

Ghibli is a hot wind blows Sagara dessert in Italian. Though in Italian it’s pronounced Gibli, Mr.Mitazaki read it Zibli. Later he found his reading was wrong, but he didn’t change. (As I wrote this posts, I misspelled Ghibli as Gihibli so many times than I care to count. Maybe I made the similar mistake if I were him:P)

Current CEO is a former CEO of Walt Disney Japan.

Since Animaters works in office while time they don’t need to have name cards and actually they don’t including Mr.Miyazaki himself.

Office love is almost encouraged in Gihbli. The reason Mr.Yonebayashi was picked as a director of “Arriety” was because he looked so nice when he was having a lunch with his girl friends who is also an employee of Ghibli :)) Mr.Miyazaki himself has married his colleague and he really enjoys to hear from his staffs about their office love.

60% of Ghibli’s employees are women, which is extremely high for the Japanese standard. Of course girls’ rest room has twice as large area as boys’ one.