The deep humanity of Ghibli now helps cinemas

shizuku pushing the bike

In Japan the hearts of many jumped, when the news broke that some of the iconic movies of the Ghibli production house will be shown in cinema’s again.

When cinemas recently reopened in Japan, hardly anyone dared to come and watch movies. In an attempt to attract audiences Toho cinemas realised they had to do something extraordinary. And they did.

They agreed to show some of the icons fro. the Ghibli catalogue in cinema after many decades. Fans couldn’t contain their excitement. One of them shouted:

“Is this a dream??????????”

So how come these movies strike such a chord with audiences worldwide – but especially in their home country? This is the kind of question we like to answer from an anthropological perspective. We love to look at the patterns of how audiences connect with a brand or product.

Quality is an important factor and the movies of Ghibli are astoundingly detailed in its images.

It gives such a feel of daily life that people familiar with that will feel natsukashi – nostalgic. But the eye for detail is only part of the story. The other part is… something hopeful in a sense. If there is anything that stands out in the Ghibli movies is a sense of deep humanity. Actually the founder and main director of Ghibli has gone on record saying that the anime world is full of anime lovers instead of people who love humans.

So obviously he was able to reach a following far beyond the anime fandom. A reported 95 percent of the Japanese population have seen his movies.

Small gestures

One of the ways to observe the deep humanity is by the small gestures the characters make. In whisper of the heart when the main character Shizuku decends a staircase to a beautiful view she briefly touches the wall. More for mental support than physical.

Small human gestures like touching the wall when walking up

When she is on the back of bike on a steep slope up, it doesn’t turn into a heroic tour de force. She gets of and starts pushing the boy on the bike that was carrying her. Insisting to be of help.

These are the deeply human traits that make the Ghibli films so popular and something that other brands might be able to learn from.

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