Fan’s ‘Nausicaa’ billboard added to official Ghibli: The Asahi Shimbun exhibit
ODATE, Akita Prefecture – Caregiver Masanobu Nakaya has been a huge fan of Studio Ghibli Inc.’s animated works for 40 years.
Now he himself is part of the magical world of Ghibli a large movie billboard that he hand-drawn from Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”.
The billboard has been officially approved by Studio Ghibli for inclusion in an exhibition in Tokyo which runs through early May.
“I can’t believe a fan’s artwork is on display,” said Nakaya, 57, with tears in her eyes on the scene on the April 15 opening day at the Matsuya Ginza department store in the district of Ginza in Tokyo. “I’ll be happy if people remember it.”
Measuring 1.8 meters by 3.6 meters, the billboard details the protagonist Nausicaa with a gallant look on her face, standing next to a gigantic Ohmu insect.
The work was on display at the Onari-za Theater for about three weeks starting on October 16 of last year, when the Rebirth House screened the film.
Dedicated to the Animage anime magazine and Studio Ghibli films, the exhibition will run until May 5 at Matsuya Ginza before traveling to Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture and other locations in June and beyond.
MOVED TO TEARS
Nakaya came to Tokyo to attend a professional design school after graduating from high school.
At the time, he subscribed to Animage in which the original manga series “Nausicaa” was filmed. Nakaya said he was “moved to tears” watching the adaptation of the animated film on the day of its release and that he had seen the film at least 10 times.
There was a row of movie billboards outside Shinjuku Station at the time. Impressed by their intensity and vibrant representations, he longed to draw one someday.
Nakaya worked at a design firm in Tokyo and other companies before returning to Akita Prefecture.
Onari-za had been closed due to financial difficulties, but the theater reopened in 2014. He felt compelled to volunteer to draw billboards after seeing theater staff having difficulty in create them. Since then, Nakaya has painted 166 movie billboards on a volunteer basis.
When the theater decided to host a rebirth screening event in 2020, Nakaya used the volumes of original comics, magazines, posters, and other material he had stored as reference material. He went to the theater after work and on vacation to complete the billboard in less than a week.
“I felt motivated and I finished it in one go,” Nakaya said.
In addition to over 10 characters, he included a theater-guarded rabbit in the illustration.
“Many customers were looking forward to not only the screening but also the completion of the billboard,” said owner Yoshinori Kirikae, 47.
A tweet about the sign posted by the theater caught the attention of Naoto Ishizu, 58, president of an event planning company in charge of the Ghibli exhibit. He was looking for materials suitable for the theme of Nausicaa, adored by fans for about 40 years.
He asked the theater for permission to borrow the display panel for the exhibition.
Ishizu said that he and a member of Studio Ghibli supporting the art event shared a feeling that it reflected the painter’s passion and affection for the film.
Onari-za’s billboards for other films have also captured the attention of theaters outside the prefecture, on display in Tokyo and Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures.
“We are losing customers from remote areas due to the coronavirus pandemic, but we are happy if they enjoy the Ghibli exhibit display board,” said Onari-za director Kensuke Endo, 43 years.
Showcasing over 200 cels and other materials, the exhibit focuses on Toshio Suzuki, a former Image editor who is currently a producer at Ghibli Anime Studio.