Would you like to be swept up into a fantastical world with equal parts surreal imagery and emotional realism? Than you might be a fan of Studio Ghibli, the influential anime studio founded by Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki, Isao Takahata, and Yasuyoshi Tokuma. Ghibli has given us classic animated works like Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, and my personal favorite, Porco Rosso (a pig flies a plane! Hell yeah!). And now, sensing we all needed a touch of “positive energy for no reason” in the year of our Lord 2020, Studio Ghibli has up and released 400 images from eight of their classic films for free, apropos of nothing! Buddy, I’ll take it!
The films included in the free image release are When Marnie Was There, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, The Wind Rises, From Up on Poppy Hill, The Secret World of Arrietty, Ponyo, Tales from Earthsea, and Spirited Away. The image drop included a handwritten note from Suzuki, which reads, “Please use them freely within the scope of common sense.” So, while you probably shouldn’t use these images to create and sell your own unauthorized Studio Ghibli knockoff fan-films, I’m sure things like “using images on your film culture blog” or “impressing your friends on Zoom calls” or “tweeting an image of the pig from Spirited Away with a quippy caption like ‘live feed of Congress right now'” are all under the umbrella of “common sense.” Have at it!