Recently, Studio Ghibli announced that it was making 400 still frames from eight of its movie available to the public, and then one month later, another 300 from six additional movies. Naturally, fans were quick to express their gratitude by posting on Twitter and other platforms. A crowd-pleaser to the core, the Tokyo-based animation film studio plans to release more images in the future.

Although the move was particularly generous, a few favorites from the studio’s filmography were notably not included. An obvious omission was the 1988 hit, My Neighbor Totoro. The classic fantasy film tells the story of a family's encounters with amiable wood spirits after moving to an old house in the country.

The film was highly lauded and an international success. Yet, it seems content creators and online fans must wait for access for the time being.

Reenacting a Classic Scene

Or must they?

As a matter of fact, it would appear some are taking to their own devices. In a recent Twitter post, planetarium creator, CG artist, astrophotographer and occasional moon gazer KAGAYA (@KAGAYA_11949) published a haphazard reenactment of one iconic scene from My Neighbor Totoro. For anyone in need of context, a memorable character from the movie is ネコバス Catbus, a bus-shaped cat summoned by the wood spirits to provide a ride. At one point, as the Catbus rushes through the countryside, it hops on top of roadside electrical cables to take a shortcut.

Well, while KAGAYA was dutifully photographing a recent harvest moon, he couldn’t help but notice a nostalgic sight:

“It’s 3 AM right now and everyone is asleep. I was gazing at the harvest moon from my veranda when a small Catbus came strolling by.”

Despite the hour, it appears the wood spirits are out and about. The Catbus, per usual, playing the role of their personal Uber.

Sure enough, Studio Ghibli fans on Twitter gushed over KAGAYA’s short, nostalgic video. They responded:

  • “What a wonderful chance encounter!”
  • “How charming.”
  • “It sure is a good thing you were up so late.”
  • “Amazing timing!”

However, as die-hard fans are wont to do, many were sticklers over the details. Several respondents to KAGAYA's thread pointed out what they considered to be a major inconsistency:

  • “That animal is a civet! Sorry to burst your bubble.”
  • “I think perhaps this 'Catbus' may actually be a 'Weasel-bus.'”
  • “Hmmm. I think it’s a 'Civet-bus.' Perhaps. Either way, incredible timing.”

So, maybe it’s only a “Civetbus” in KAGAYA’s video. Better safe than sorry, I say. You know how movie studios are about copyright…

Magical Moon

Either way, KAGAYA clearly had an amazing night. Not only did he film a passable recreation of My Neighbor Totoro, the photographer captured some amazing photos of the harvest moon, the real reason he was up so late. Indeed, his pictures are incredibly striking:

“Please look at the sky. The harvest moon is visible in the East. It is tinged in red because it just came out (This photo was taken just now using a telescope).”

“The harvest moon (This photo was taken just now using a telescope). It is shining all night tonight. It will turn into a full moon early in the morning. What a sight!”

Indeed, the artist managed to capture several magnificent moments. I never realized stargazing was such a rewarding hobby.

If you like KAGAYA’s content, be sure to check out his Twitter feed for more. The artist also posts photos and other art on his gallery website. Check it out!

By - Luke Mahoney.