- Animation / Anime / Ba-Wan / coelacanth / Spirited Away / Studio Ghibli
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One of the mysteries surrounding Studio Ghibli's classic film Spirited Away has to do with the identity of the delicious-looking food in the scene where Chihiro's parents turn into pigs. Chihiro's father is seen gluttonously enjoying a jiggly, gelatinous looking dish which certainly seems delicious to the viewer.
Now, almost 20 years after the film hit theaters, the mystery has been solved.
The revelation came from Hiromasa Yonebayashi, former animator and director at Studio Ghibli who became the youngest director in the studio's history with The Secret World of Arrietty. Taking advantage of Studio Ghibli's generous move to make stills from its films available to the general public free of charge, Yonebayashi posted images from Spirited Away for which he was in charge of key animation. In a series of Tweets, he finally solved the mystery of the delicious dish:
© Studio Ghibli
"For the gelatinous food that Sen's father is eating, it was written 'coelacanth stomach' on the storyboard (...)"
"(...) It was perhaps written in director Miyazaki's layouts? Incidentally, those key frames were corrected to make it look around three times more jiggly."
The identity of the delicious-looking jiggly dish had long been rumored to be the Taiwanese street stand dish Ba-Wan 肉圓. But as this Twitter user wrote, this finally reveals that the rumor was false:
"So, (contrary to) the rumor which was spreading as if it were true, it isn't Ba-Wan (LOL). Ahh, I want to go to Taiwan again..."
Now that so many stills from Studio Ghibli films are coming out, perhaps there will be more interesting revelations in the days and months to come!
By the way, although you can't eat coelacanth stomachs in any restaurant in Japan or Taiwan, you can eat a very tasty coelacanth pancake at the Coelacanth Cafe in Numazu.