We finally know why animated Studio Ghibli food looks so tempting

Not me trying to log fictional ramen into My Fitness Pal.

by Roisin Lanigan
06 April 2021, 12:03pm

The world of Studio Ghibli is a magical place and nowhere is that more apparent than in the food. Delicious food is a huge hallmark of the production company, not only featuring in practically every Ghibli movie ever made, but even inspiring it’s own exhibition at the Ghibli Museum in 2017 (and some yummy, ASMR-friendly TikTok accounts). But what is it that makes that animated bento, onigiri or demon-cooked fried breakfast so special? Well, the studio has just divulged why the food in their films is so important, and why it looks so good. 

During a recent Twitter AMA with producer Toshio Suzuki, it was revealed that all the food that makes it to screen in Studio Ghibli movies — from rice balls to ramen, bento, herring pie and Ponyo’s mouth-watering honey milk — is inspired by delicious meals created by Hayao Miyazaki himself. The more you know! 

Answering a question from a fan who wrote: “Why is it that all the food that appears in Studio Ghibli movies always looks so delicious?” Toshio answered simply: “It’s because it’s all food that Miyazaki himself has actually made.” Suddenly we’re even hungrier for the fictional classics seen in Spirited Away and Kiki’s Delivery Service.

Food has always been central to the magical world of Studio Ghibli, so much so that the 2017 exhibition (the title of which translated to Delicious! Animating Memorable Meals!) was all about how meals were used to connote joy, happiness and emotion in the production company’s canon. 

“Food that is still warm, that looks soft and tender, with the wonderful flavour showing on the faces of those eating them — these scenes of meals are appealing and charming,” the exhibition’s website proclaimed. “No dialogue is needed to convey deliciousness and happiness.” Agreed tbh.

It makes sense that the meals in Ghibli movies are straight from Hayao’s kitchen, when you think about it. Studio Ghibli films are comforting, and clearly a labour of love, which is exactly what you get from a good meal, cooked with care and attention in the kitchen of someone who takes great pains to make things exactly right. Dinner round Miyazaki’s house when the pandemic’s over, anyone?

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