Oregon as a Studio Ghibli film – Gorgeous tourism video shows the state as a Miyazaki wonderland
Inspired by the works of Japan’s most celebrated anime icons, short animated video captures the magic of the state across the Pacific.
In my free time, I often get together with an old friend who’s also an American expat living in Japan, so that we can engage in lively philosophical debate and cultural exchange…in the form of going out drinking at various bars in and around Tokyo. When we meet new Japanese people, they often ask where we’re from, and as soon as I mention “California,” their eyes light up as they talk about their love of the state’s beaches, wine, and sunshine. When my friend says he’s from Oregon, though, he often gets asked “Where is that again?”
It’s really a shame, because Oregon is a fantastic place. Some would even call it magical, and according to Travel Oregon, the state’s official tourism information source, it’s a Studio Ghibli anime-style magical.
Titled Only Slightly Exaggerated, the lavishly animated video takes you on a whirlwind, 90-second tour of Oregon, rendered in a style with obvious and reverent admiration for the works of anime legend Hayao Miyazaki and the studio he co-founded. While the human character designs show only mild anime influences, the animals and spirits on display show clear Ghibli influences, as does the depiction of natural phenomena such as splashing water and gusting wind.
▼ Apparently Oregon’s frequent rainfall is caused by flying cloudpunk engineers.
▼ This connected hot air balloon picnic would fit in perfectly with the rest of The Wind Rises fanciful dream sequences.
▼ And that’s clearly Lupai’s Fiat from Miyazaki’s debut film, The Castle of Cagliostro.
▼ The video features heart-melting giant bunnies…
▼ …and mouth-watering giant salmon.
So what makes the video’s depiction of Oregon “slightly exaggerated?” Well, the state doesn’t actually have any newspaper-reading frogs, nor do volcanic debris ever rise out of Crater Lake and dance through the night sky like Spirited Away’s Haku in his dragon form.
But many of the scenes show real-life Oregon locations and events. The city of Portland holds a dragon boat festival every year, and even that awesome-looking bike path through the trees is a real place: the Black Rock Mountain Bike Area.
▼ Haystack Rock is another place you can actually visit in the real world.
As for all those forest spirits? Oregon is rightfully proud of its beautiful natural scenery, campgrounds, and hiking trails.
▼ Although a sequence of whales floating through the sky is a daring choice for the state where history’s most famous incident of blowing up a beached whale took place.
Unlike the aimed-at-Japan anime-style tourism ad done for Canada by the studio behind Your Name, Only Slightly Exaggerated was created primarily with English-speaking travelers in mind (more background on the locations shown can be found here, on the Travel Oregon website). Still, the beautiful adjust might have more Japanese travelers putting Oregon on their itinerary should they happen to see this loving mix of Japanese animation motifs and West Coast beauty.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where yes, he is jealous, and yes, he does want a California anime-style tourism video, preferably in the style of Satelight.