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Friday, April 5, 2013

Miyazaki: The Merch

by Andrew Chan

The world of anime god Hayao Miyazaki practically bursts with ethereal imagery, kooky creatures, and richly imagined storylines, so it’s no surprise his films have taken on a life of their own far beyond the big screen. Since the Oscar-winning filmmaker became a phenomenon in the late 1980s with family-friendly fantasies like My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service, the toy and costume industries have wasted no time in churning out a panoply of wacky merchandise influenced by his most iconic characters.

Gearing up for our eight-film tribute running through April 14, we at BAMcinématek have enjoyed losing ourselves in the surreal delights of Miyazaki-land. Our research has uncovered a veritable galaxy of blogs and Tumblrs, fan art, and cute-but-confounding artifacts, including dinnerware and, no joke, topiary.

The field of Totoro-inspired paraphernalia in particular is a gift that keeps on giving. The late, great Roger Ebert called the film “one of the five best movies” ever made for children, and more than any other Miyazaki hero, the cuddly roundness of the titular rabbit-like spirit lends itself to all manner of kid-friendly toys, knick-knacks, and furniture.

It was difficult to pare the list down to a mere five examples, but here is what’s available to the fan who wants to eat, sleep, and dream Totoro.

Begin your morning with a strong cup of coffee:

Ladies, make sure to put on those special soot-sprite earrings!

Don’t forget your keys!

At lunchtime, you could do worse than a few Totoro-shaped rice balls:

Time for a food-coma nap:

Then... trim the shrubs:

As you can see, it’s hard for any other Miyazaki character to compete on the level of sheer cuteness. But there’s plenty out there for lovers of other Studio Ghibli classics.

A Kiki music box:

A Nausicaä key-chain:

A Porco Rosso handkerchief:

A Princess Mononoke iPhone cover:

A Spirited Away lighter:

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