Studio Ghibli creates animated advert for Japanese high street staple, Lawson

Made by Oscar-winning animation director Kunio Katō and produced by Princess Mononoke's Toshio Suzuki and Spirited Away assistant producer Tomohiko Ishii, there is some serious anime brawn behind this hand-drawn short.

Date
13 January 2020

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Studio Ghibli fans might have to wait a while for its two new films, promised by the Japanese animation house in its New Year’s message (one of which will be directed by Hayao Miyazaki himself), but fear not – there is this ridiculously charming new advert from the studio to enjoy in the meantime. Titled Machi Hot Station, the short, hand-drawn cel animation for the Japanese convenience store chain Lawson, is only 15 seconds long but packed with cute characters and beautifully energetic line-drawn scenes depicting a regular day in one of the stores.

Behind the short is a team of longtime Ghibli creatives, whose collective CV gives the advert serious anime brawn. Director Kunio Katō is best known for his film The House of Small Cubes,which won the Oscar for best animated short film in 2009. Toshio Suzuki produced one of the studio’s best loved films, Princess Mononoke, and fellow producer Tomohiko Ishii was assistant producer on equally beloved Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle.

Adding valuable insight to the friendly familiarity of the film is animator and designer Osamu Tanabe, who apparently also works at Lawson part-time. Tanabe worked on character design and animation for Studio Ghibli’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.

It’s not the first time Studio Ghibli has ventured into advertising; nor is it a first for Lawson, as this ad follows the first Ghibli/Lawson collaboration, which came out in 2001.

And if that’s not enough Ghibli news to keep you going, Turntable Lab has just announced two more of the studio’s soundtracks will be issued on vinyl in March 2020: Kiki’s Delivery Serviceand Porco Rosso. Soon after, HBO’s new streaming service HBO Max will launch with the entire Studio Ghibli film catalogue on its platform.

Studio Ghibli: Lawson, Machi Hot Station

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Jenny Brewer

After five years as It’s Nice That’s news editor, Jenny became online editor in June 2021, now overseeing the website’s daily editorial output. Contact her with stories, pitches and tips relating to the creative industries on jb@itsnicethat.com.

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