Studio Ghibli designs sochu ad

One of the animators from Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli has designed an advert for sochu brand Satsuma Shiranami.

Renowned for blockbuster animations such as “Howl’s Moving Castle”, “Spirited Away” and “My Neighbour Totoro”, the advert exhibits many of the features of a classic Studio Ghibli film – sumptuous imagery, childhood, family and mystical, dream-like elements – shrunk into a 90 second advert.

The advert was created by Yoshiharu Sato and is called “Oyaji no Imo no Kamisama” (“Dad’s Potato God”). It features a man who goes into a liquor store and sees a cup just like his father used to have.

The cup bears the image and even, it is alluded, contains the spirit of the potato god – sochu being made from barley and sweet potato.

He recalls breaking the cup as a child and spending all his pocket money to buy a new one though with a different drawing on it.

His father refuses it so, now a man, he buys the cup with the original drawing and takes it home only to find his father has been using the replacement cup all along.

Although the advert will no doubt delight fans of the studio which is currently on hiatus from making any more feature-length movies, it may fall foul of Japanese advertising standards.

Kirin, already facing what could be a huge pay-out to “misled” consumers, had one of its adverts pulled from Japanese television recently for apparently appealing to children.

The advert for the company’s new “chuhai”, a sochu and tonic water drink, was pulled after parents complained that the use of a man dressed as a frog in a dinner jacket was too appealing for children.

What they will make of the Studio Ghibli advert can only be guessed at.

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