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Studio Ghibli Planes, Cars, and So On

When it comes to animated films it can be somewhat easy to forget that they are more than just fantasy. Many objects, ideologies, and even story lines are derived from real life. The influences we have shape the way that we view the world, the way we create our fantasy world is no different. Studio Ghibli brings a truth that exists within our society to light. It can be harsh, magical, and just downright cute. All present with a sense of reality within an unrealistic world. I find it hard not to be moved by the stories and the artwork.

Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki, and Isao Takahata founded Studio Ghibli back in. Ever since then they have brought us incredible films. Many of these stories contain vehicles based on real life versions or mythological carriers of the souls. I believe there is great significance to be found in the background of the modes of transport in the Studio Ghibli arsenal. Getting around is essential to keeping this machine we call community running. Why not take a moment to marvel at our innovative ways of looking at possible transportation?

Audi A4 1.8T (B5) – Spirited Away (2001)

For those not versed in automotive history it can be easy to overlook the significance of a specific vehicle or how it even relates to the film. The Audi A4 1.8T was first released in 1994 with Quattro All Wheel Drive (AWD) as either a four-door sedan or a five-door station wagon (Avant). It was created to replace the Audi 80 in competition with the BMW 3- Series.

In the film the Ogino family is on their way to their new home when they decide to take a detour. Akio, the father, comments on the car’s ability to go off-road and how new age it really is at the time the film is set. At the first release of the A4, and even until now, the car is considered a luxury vehicle for people with some wealth behind their name. This gives us the impression that the Ogino family has a high standing in society. Something I think is integral to the movie and the progression of the plot. Like most Studio Ghibli films, there is a full story in the details.

Macchi M.33 / Savoia S.21 – Porco Rosso (1992)

Probably a lesser known fact about Hayao Miyazaki is that his father owned and ran an aircraft company during the Second World War. Growing up around these machines likely sparked his interest and understanding for the importance to keep your attention on the details. It was Miyazaki’s childhood memories of the Macchi M.33 that gave rise to the fictional seaplane, Savoia S.21, depicted in Porco Rosso. The Macchi M.33 was an Italian racing flying boat which competed in the 1925 Schneider Trophy race.

The film follows a ‘pig’ of a man who is the pilot of the Savoia S.21 trying to avoid Italian authorities. Considering the time in which this film is set the dialogue is on point, yet somewhat alarming to hear if you are way more liberal minded. Through his journey and flashbacks, you are given glimpses of a world where flight reigns supreme. In this though you see the dark and light side of the aviation world. The destruction brought on by warplanes as well as the connectivity provided by aircrafts.

Airships – Laputa: Castle in the Sky (2008)

Taking a leap into the truly fantastical ideas that though not part of our reality has become permanently a part of our collective imagination. The steampunk airships filling the skies of Laputa as they venture into an epic exploration and discovery.

A little reminder to keep on dreaming, to keep motivated, and that letting go once in a while is all just what we need. Balance to our lives brings a sense of peace I believe. These films and the real-life vehicles and events that inspired them, remind me that in the end it will alright.


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