Few filmmakers have managed to create a cohesive, lived-in world for a particular film–much less all of them–like Hayao Miyazaki. He only made 11 feature films in his 40-year career, but he gave the world of anime and cinema at large indelible films with characters and settings and experiences everybody wants to live in. Even the post-apocalypse of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is made to seem kind of idyllic under Miyazaki’s eye. For everybody who’s wanted to enter one of these films, there is now a virtual reality experience that lets you do just that.
As reported by Hypebeast, the UK studio Fire Panda (best name ever) has created specific scenes and areas from three of Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli films for VR users, free on both Oculus and Vive. The scenes in question are the the (cat)bus stop scene in My Neighbor Totoro, the boiler room scene from Spirited Away, and the meadow from Howl’s Moving Castle. You can see the last of these in the brief video below.
I have to admit, I let out an audible gasp when the POV turns and we see the titular ambulatory Chateau de Howl. I would imagine such gasps are aplenty with each of these experiences. Waiting at the bust stop and turning to see giant Totoro with an umbrella there? That is something I’ve dreamed about (legitimately… I have Miyazaki dreams sometimes, what?). Seeing the soot sprites feeding a massive fire would also be pretty breathtaking.
As of now, the demos do not allow you to interact with the environment, only walk through it, but it certainly opens the door to further advancements. I mean, as a proof of concept, this is pretty killer. And maybe we’ll get some more great scenes, like flying over the Adriatic Sea with Porco Rosso, or riding through the woods on the back of a wolf like in Princess Mononoke. Or fly on a broom like in Kiki’s Delivery Service! The mind reels! You can access the demo here, which I’m sure you’re clicking before this sentence ends.
Tell us what you think about the Ghibli VR experience, and share which other Miyazaki movie scenes you’d like to live in—to the comments!
Do you know Totoro could be a death spirit? Watch and learn!
Image: Studio Ghibli