From My Neighbor Totoro to Kiki's Delivery Service, the animated films produced by Japan’s Studio Ghibli are defined as much by their lush, vivid environments as the characters that inhabit them. As such, it was only a matter of time before they made their ways into Minecraft.
Since 2009, more than 100 million people have logged on to that popular sandbox-style video game and built everything from virtual chemistry museums to working computers. Some researchers have even used the versatile video game as a training program to teach robots how to solve puzzles. Now, users are paying tribute to films like Princess Mononoke, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Spirited Away by recreating their iconic scenes, block by block, in Minecraft, Clinton Nguyen writes for Motherboard.
Founded in 1985 by animators Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, Studio Ghibli’s films are often compared with Disney for the quality and artistry of their animation as well as for their mythic yet personal storylines. Since 2013, Minecraft player and animator Alan Becker has paid tribute to Studio Ghibli’s vision by rebuilding an explorable version of the haunted bathhouse from Spirited Away, including hot springs, kitchens and even dormitories that look exactly as in the movie. PlanetMinecraft user Pero, on the other hand, has constructed intricately detailed environments based on the toxic, blue-tinged forests from Nausicaa; the spirit-populated world of Princess Mononoke; and the grinning Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro.
Studio Ghibli’s characters might not be getting their own theme park anytime soon, but luckily these Minecraft users are giving animation fans the next best thing - an opportunity to virtually explore Ghibli's fantastical universes.