Ever since I first watched Spirited Away, I have been a devoted fan of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. The beauty and creativity that are signature to his films are, in my opinion, unmatched. While I have never thought much of his human characters (because they all look alike), the amount of detail and imagination that goes into the creation of his different worlds and and their non-human inhabitants captivates me every time. He is definitely and inspiration to both my boyfriend and I and were were so excited to hear that he would be holding an exhibit right here at the Seoul Arts Center!
If you attended the Tim Burton Exhibition a while back, it’s important to know that this exhibit is totally different. A layout is like a blueprint for animation. It holds the information that is crucial for the animation process such as camera work, camera speed and even the position relation of characters and background. That is what this exhibit displays; over a thousand layouts/ blueprints for all the different works of Studio Ghibli. It’s not as immersive as Burton’s exhibit, but it is just as fascinating and much larger.
When we arrived at the museum, there was already a pretty big crowd. To ensure that the exhibit hall doesn’t get overwhelmed, you get number with your ticket that tells you what time you are allowed to enter (we had to wait about an hour). Although it might seem like a bit of a wait, there are a few restaurants and cafes to hang out in, as well at other small exhibits to check out. As for my boyfriend and I, we decided to grab a waffle with gelato and head up to the exhibit gift store. Having worked at two anime stores back in college and attend Anime Expo in LA, there was really nothing there that I hadn’t seen or couldn’t get elsewhere. There were adorable Totoro plushies, but I already have a complete collection of them in my storage unit back in Cali. Actually, the only things that caught my eye were some original layouts thats were for sale, but one look at the price tag had my boyfriend shuffling me out the door. While we weren’t allowed to take any pictures, I did manage to snap a few anyway.
By the time we were done looking, it was time to go into the actual exhibit hall. The exhibit it’s self is just what one might expect, walls of framed layouts grouped together according to film. To be honest it’s a bit dull at first, but then you move to rooms that are entirely devoted to one film, like the Spirited Away section. These rooms have huge frames mounted on the walls filled with several layouts (not in any particular order). It’s what would happen if you decided to plaster you room with a movie. There are also blown up prints along the way, monitors showing film clips beside the related layouts, as well as a few set designs. There is a set designed to look like the inside of Of course, there are staff members everywhere to prevent people from taking pictures, but I suppose I’m a bit like a ninja (always in stealth mode) lol! Besides, it would be a pretty boring post without a few pictures.
At the the end of the exhibit there is an area where you can take a picture sitting on top of Totoro’s belly. It’s one of those “trick eye” type things and there is a staff member there to take your picture. It was pretty fun. Also, if you look around you, you will notice that there is fan art all over the walls. There are two tables with stickers and markers where you can draw something to put on the walls. You can tell that some people spent A LOT of time on their drawings. As much as my boyfriend and I wanted to, we decided to whip up whatever we could in 10 minutes. I drew Totoro hiding behind a No-Face mask. I even saw someone taking a picture with it which made me feel pretty happy (even though it wasn’t my best work).
Outside the exhibit there are a few more cute photo opp areas, like a Ponyo set; complete with poster and cute beach buckets with Ponyo in them. There is also a lovely Totoro forest set up outside, if you can stand the heat long enough to take a picture. Overall it is a really fun and cool exhibit. I really recommend it if you are an animation, Ghibli or art fan. The exhibit will be held at the Seoul Arts Center from June 22, 2013 to September 22, 2013 and tickets are ₩15,000. You can purchase them online, but it’s really just easier to buy them there. So, don’t miss the chance to check it out!