I don’t think there are enough words to describe my love of the Studio Ghibli movie Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. And the same can be said for this gorgeous LEGO build by Tino Poutiainen. The vibrant coloration of all the virulent fungi fits in perfectly with the aesthetic from the film, giving off that strong “poison arrow frog” vibe. Heavy use of round disks and plates, combined with more texturally complex parts create enough nooks and crannies to trigger some serious trypophobia. The skull of a long-dead God Warrior, resting atop the pile of fungi, is spot on. I especially like the use of old and new LEGO shades of gray to add some wear to the husk. But the icing on the cake here is the micro Nausicaä herself, soaring above on her mehve. Using under ten parts, it’s a shining jewel in an already brilliant crown.
Internationally recognized director and creator Hayao Miyazaki has had an inspirational effect the world over through his work at Studio Ghibli. Builder Andrea Lattanzio has been open about how Miyazaki’s films and stories have influenced his own models in the past. His latest model is a tribute to the home Miyazaki had built near Studio Ghibli’s main building back in 1998. Framed by brightly colored trees that contrast the grey and black tilework covering the building, Andrea shows off his architectural skills in yet another masterful model. Offset tiles help create an effect similar to the original wooden siding while fresh planks and posts in the deck, yet to become green with moss, provide a peaceful place for the famed director to contemplate life.
Check out this excellent LEGO microscale cove built by Flickr user Pixeljunkie. The heavy use of slopes laid upon their sides provides an organic, rocky backdrop for a tiny beach scene. But it’s not just any beach! This is the hideout of Porco Rosso, the Italian flying ace slash anthropomorphic pig from the Studio Ghibli film of the same name. You can see his iconic red plane, a Savoia S.21, sitting in the water. On the coast are his tent, chair, and radio, where Porco would relax between bouts with the sky pirates of the Adriatic. The shaping of the plane in such few bricks is inspired, and immediately recognizable to someone familiar with the movie. Also of note, the 1×1 plate with tooth used as a dock is some great parts usage at this scale.
In the Studio Ghibli animated classic Spirited Away, a sense of wonder and magic infuses just about everything. Marcin Otręba takes us on a trip to a LEGO recreation of the iconic bathhouse, and it’s every bit as wonderous. From the graceful curve of the bridge to the spot-on color choices and complex tiling in the walls, this microscale reproduction is very true to the original. But, like in the film, there’s more here than you might first see. Keep reading to discover some of the secrets!
This amazing LEGO model perfectly captures the mismatched style of the mechanical castle from the anime film Howl’s Moving Castle. In the film, the castle walks on spindly legs, spluttering and puffing out smoke as it goes along, as indicated by the clouds of smoke rising from the various chimneys. You can tell that the model’s creator, Marcin Otręba, has carefully studied the original design as all the strange contraptions protruding out of the castle have been faithfully recreated in this small scale. In order to portray the circular brickwork under the domed turrets, rounded 1×2 plates have been angled to form ringlike patterns.
If you’re a fan of Hayao Miyazaki films, then this LEGO creation inspired by the 2001 release Spirited Away by Chris Xenyo will be instantly recognizable. These little fuzzy-looking critters, known as soot sprites, or Susuwatari are formed from soot, and they can lift things much heavier than themselves. Without a job to keep them busy, they sometimes revert back to soot.
Even though the model is fairly simple, the attention to detail, from the spiny look (made from black levers) to the thin and spindly arms and legs (made from flexible tubing) is very accurate to its on-screen inspiration. Even the background which includes the tiny tunnels where the Susuwatari makes their homes, and the wooden platform that borders their path to the furnace, make this scene jump straight out of the movie.
Studio Ghibli’s animated movies are a constant source of inspiration to LEGO builders, and Kiki’s Delivery Service is no exception. Here’s the film’s feline duo, Jiji and Lily, re-created in the brick by car_mp. The curves of the cats’ bodies are nicely done, particularly the studs-out section depicting Lily’s neck fur. But as with other cartoon-themed creations, it’s the addition of the large Mixel eye tiles which injects a bunch of character and fun.
We’ve featured half a dozen or so Savoia S.21 flying boat from Porco Rosso over the years, but it remains one of my favorite LEGO aircraft whenever I run across a new version. This latest incarnation of the racing plane from the 1992 Hayao Miyazaki film is brought to us by Volker Brodkorb. The airplane’s huge engine mounted forward of the cockpit makes this plane instantly recognizable, as do the striping on the angled wings.
Volker uses curved slopes attached studs out to achieve the sloping shape of the boat-plane’s hull, and the pop of yellow on the front of the propeller is a lovely touch.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is a 1989 Japanese animated fantasy film produced, written, and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. The film’s protagonist Kiki is a trainee witch who has a black cat called Jiji as her best friend, and CK HO has built a fantastically cute LEGO version of Jiji the cat. Like most cats, Jiji has a lot of personality, but the English-dubbed version of the film showed Jiji with a cynical and sarcastic attitude as opposed to cautious and conscientious in the original Japanese.
We loved Jiji so much here at TBB that we asked CK to make some instructions and he very kindly obliged to allow us all to have a best friend called Jiji.
One of my favorite Miyazaki characters is Porco Rosso, and we’ve seen many LEGO versions of Porco’s iconic red plane before. But this character portrait of the gruff pig himself, in all his metaphor and charm, is something special. It’s no surprise that it comes from the hand of Eero Okkonen, whose fantastic brick characters regularly grace our blog.
We’ve seen a lot of LEGO renditions of Hayao Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky, including a gorgeous scene of Laputa among the clouds and a beautiful music box floating fortress. But there’s always room for more, so here are a few that caught our eye.
Mel F‘s lovely little version is a joy. Mel built it to be a desk ornament, and it’s got that perfect balance of size and complexity to subtly show co-workers that LEGO is cool, but you’re not insane (that comes later when they see your LEGO room).
Another gorgeous version comes from builder 米 基, with this terrific soaring castle surrounded by clouds. It even has Dola and her pirates’ tiny gliders flitting about beneath the massive fortress.
Korean builder Hwang Byeong Jun has released step-by-step instructions for the amazing Laputa: Castle in the Sky music box that we featured last month, complete with details on how to integrate the music box into your LEGO build.