tgs 2014

TGS Sidequest: The Studio Ghibli Museum

by Joe Juba on Sep 17, 2014 at 02:11 PM

The Tokyo Game Show is nearly upon us, and Game Informer will be covering all of the games and news right from the show floor. However, we are also using our time in Japan to stray off the beaten path and check out some interesting bits of gamer culture. Our first stop: the Studio Ghibli museum, home of relics related to the famed animation studio behind Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and the game Ni No Kuni.

Unfortunately, the museum does not allow photos inside, but you can see what it offers on the museum's official site. Even so, my favorite parts couldn't be captured properly in a picture anyway, since they actually involved animation. We still grabbed some cool exterior shots, though.

You have to buy your tickets in advance, so we took care of that weeks before we even left for Japan. We showed up right as the museum opened at 10:00 AM, expecting that arriving early on a weekday would ensure a smaller crowd. We were wrong. 

At least Kim found a statue of Totoro (somewhere behind that glass) while we waiting to get in. 

The first thing that struck me about the museum is how it looks like a building right out of a Studio Ghibli film. You won't find any majestic columns or polished marble here, and that's intentional. Hayao Miyazaki had a clear vision for what he did and did not want the museum to be, and the final structure hits all of the right notes.

This reminded me of Castle in the Sky at first glance. A robot guardian (visible in the previous picture) only cements that impression, and it gets even stronger when you're actually up there on the roof.

This is just the stained glass on one of the entrance door. There are more panes inside featuring popular characters. I will say, though, Totoro definitely gets more than a fair share of representation as decoration around the museum.

On the next page...adventures from the roof! 

This is the spiral staircase you take up to the roof. It is much roomier than the spiral staircase inside (which intended for kids). We learned this because we used the kids' staircase to get to the next floor before we realized that there was another one for adults. 

The roof is all about Castle in the Sky. Here's the command cube, but to get to it, you walk around...

...this guy. A life-size robotic guardian is the sentry on top of the museum, intimidating and terrifying (or maybe just delighting) all of the people who line up to take pictures of/with it. 

By the time we were ready to leave, the crowds had thinned out and the line to enter was non-existent. However, there was something cool when we first lined up about seeing so many people (adults and children alike) interested in the legacy of Studio Ghibli. 

That's it for this sidequest, but we'll have even more in the coming days as our TGS coverage continues.