Ghibli Returns to Seoul
Once a again Studio Ghibli has decided to grace Seoul with another phenomenal exhibit. This is Ghibli’s second exhibit in Seoul and I have been lucky enough to see both of them! Ah yes, it’s a wonderful time to be an otaku living in Seoul. Unlike the previous Layout Design Exhibit, which featured original art and concepts from several Ghibli films, this exhibition takes the magical imaginings of Studio Ghibli to new heights!
The current exhibit features life-sized dioramas from a few of their most beloved classics, creating an immersive experience for visitors. The layout is divided among 6 of Ghibli’s films, starting with Howl’s Moving Castle and moving on to Princess Mononoke, Pom Poko, My Neighbor Totoro, Porco Rosso and ending with Spirited Away.
As you enter the exhibit, you follow a little white totoro down a dark hall. As you turn the corner, you immediately come face to face with a large moving model of Howl’s moving castle. It’s so impressive I stood there for quite sometime just taking it in and trying to capture the perfect photo. After, the initial shock, I was drawn into the next room, which placed me right inside Howl’s castle. Calcifer sat, brightly lit, in the fireplace and a dining table was placed in the center of the room piled high with books, scrolls and magical spells. Life-sized statues of Sophie and Marckl drew attention to Howl who was descending the staircase, while Prince Turnip peeked through the window. There was an incredible amount of detail put into this room, as the door even had the colorful dial next to it which leads to different places.
The next room pulls you right into the mythical forest of Princess Mononoke. I think my favorite part of this section was the large screen which projected the transformation of the spirit of the forest, which then fades away to reveal an actual statue of him in his “deer” form. I think it really helped bring the story to life and made me feel engulfed in that world.
While most things in the exhibit are hands off, there are a few “interactive” things as well. You start to get a tasted of this when you enter the Pom Poko section. There are cute picture puzzles that you can do on the walls. Actually this is one of the few Ghibli animations that I am yet to see, so I don’t know much about the story. Nonetheless, the display was super cute and incredibly detailed.
The follow section depicts various scenes from My Neighbor Totoro. My favorite scene from that movie would probably be when Satsuki, Mei and Totoro are all standing in the rain waiting for the bus. So, it was really cool to see it on a large scale. However, I would have to say that the most impressive part of this section would have to be the large tree that houses the adorable sleeping Totoro. The tree has several holes poked into it so you can catch a glimpse of the snoozing fur ball. I loved it!
The Porco Rosso display was probably the smallest of all the sections, but not forgettable. Here you taken to a beautiful sand beach where Porco is lazily lounging in a chair close to his trusty plane.
Spirited Away is the film that made me fall in love with Ghibli. The design, story, music… I love everything about it! It’s a true masterpiece and the exhibit certainly did not disappoint. There was even a photo opportunity at the end to place yourself on the train sitting next to No-Face. It was such a fun way to end such an inspired exhibit.
At the end you are led to a Ghibli shop where you can purchase all sorts of souvenirs. I myself couldn’t resist a little Totoro cell charm.
The exhibit has been on display since September 3, 2014, but if you haven’t seen it yet you still have a chance to catch it! It will continue until March 4, 2015. You can find it on the 6th floor of the I’Park Mall at 용산역 (Yongsan Station). If you want to beat the crowds, try getting in there on an early weekday afternoon or weekend morning. Tickets will run you ₩15,000, which is a bit high but completely worth it. Don’t miss out!