As a Tokyo-based writer, I will introduce you to various aspects of pop culture such as manga, anime, movies and music. I want to spread the joy of Japanese pop culture around the world.
Hi there, it’s Mokugyo again, your favorite MANGA.TOKYO anime enthusiast writer. It’s 2017 and my New Year’s resolution is to challenge something new with a sense of adventure. Easier said than done, but talking of adventure reminded me of Studio Ghibli’s Laputa: Castle in the Sky.
It’s one of those movies that best represents Studio Ghibli, packed with action and adventure. In this article, I’m going to tell you some fascinating trivia that will make the movie more interesting.
Laputa: Castle in the Sky is an anime movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki, whose movies include the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away. A boy called Pazu and a girl who came down from the sky named Sheeta set out to find Laputa, a legendary castle said to be floating in the sky. Sheeta has a mysterious amulet stone that has the power to make any human fly. Men in black and the Dola family pirates are trying to snatch the amulet from her. Assisting Sheeta, Pazu embarks on an adventure to solve the mysteries of the amulet and Laputa. It’s a masterpiece of Miyazaki’s early anime movie career with an adventure that can be enjoyed by everyone, from children to adults.
— Tello Anime (@Tello_Anime) January 14, 2017
Laputa: Castle in the Sky first premiered in Japan in 1986, when Miyazaki was a lesser-known anime director. It only made 1.16 billion yen at the box office, which is the lowest record among the Ghibli movies. Although Laputa: Castle in the Sky was known by only a circle of fans, it was received well and fans devoted to the movie bought the videos. In 1988, the anime was broadcast on TV and became an instant hit. It has been broadcast 15 times since then and aired as recently as January 2016!
As the users of Twitter have increased, it has become somewhat of a tradition in Japan to tweet the incantation ‘Balse’, (‘Barusa’ in Japanese) at the same time as it is said in the movie during TV broadcasts. This phenomenon is called the ‘Balse festival’ and on December 9, 2011, ‘Balse’ had 25,088 tweets-per-second, setting a new world record! The record was again broken in 2013 with an impressive 143,199 tweets-per-second. For the 2016 broadcast, a website was set up predicting at exactly what time the word word be uttered, although the record was not broken.
Did you know that the robot with the long arms appearing in Laputa: Castle in the Sky previously appeared in the TV anime series Lupin the Third? Lupin the Third is a popular anime series in which Lupin the Third, grandson of the infamous master thief Arsene Lupin, travels the world and steals treasure. Miyazaki co-directed this TV series and later directed the anime movie The Castle of Cagliostro. Pixar co-founder John Lasseter publicly said that this movie had a deep influence on him. I hope people who are interested in this movie will take the time to watch it.
The long-armed robot appears in ‘Lupin, Whom I Loved ‘, the last episode of the second series . The robot Ramda, which was developed by Nagata Heavy Industries, was the base of the robot in Laputa: Castle in the Sky. You can see some of the resemblance when Ramda flies with its arms spread and emits rays from its eyes.
Furthermore, the girl who controls the robot in ‘Lupin, Whom I Loved’ looks remarkably like Nausicaä from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. In fact, both were played by the same voice actor. This episode certainly influenced Miyazaki’s later career as an anime movie director.No matter how many weapons you have, no matter how great your technology might be, the world… Click To Tweet
Puzu in Laputa: Castle in the Sky is played by experienced voice actor Mayumi Tanaka, who also plays Luffy in One Piece and Krillin in Dragon Ball Z. She is famous for voicing lively young boys and it fits Pazu’s earnest character. It’s interesting that Pazu declared that he won’t become a pirate, because Luffy’s famous phrase is ‘I’ll become the King of Pirates!’. Tanaka must have felt strange to say such polar-opposite things after all these years.
Fox-squirrels are one of the creatures we find in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. As their name suggests, they’re a cross between a fox and a squirrel. They’re meant to be difficult to domesticate, though they become loyal to Nausicaä. They also make a cameo appearance in Laputa: Castle in the Sky as one of the creatures living in Laputa.
The Flappter in Laputa: Castle in the Sky is a flying machine with four translucent wings that flap vertically with a rattling noise. There is a person who actually made the machine. Here is the video of it flying in real life. Although it’s smaller than the one in the anime, I’m amazed to watch it really fly! I think it flies well for the size and I expect that one day he’ll make one that can fly with people on board!
Laputa: Castle in the Sky is now one of the most popular movies from Studio Ghibli. I think Miyazaki’s anime movies became more complicated and challenging to understand fully as his career progressed. In Laputa: Castle in the Sky, however, the plot and the relationships between characters are both simple and easy to follow. If you haven’t watched any of Miyazaki’s anime, or you think his anime may not be for you, then I highly recommend Laputa: Castle in the Sky!