Studio Ghibli Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Studio Ghibli RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Games Any Studio Ghibli Fan Should Know About Tue, 14 Nov 2017 12:48:33 -0500 Brandon Janeway

Studio Ghibli is a beloved franchise for its outstanding anime movies that capture a sense of peculiar wonder. They have given us many faces that we know and love, which is why many of us would love to see some variation of them in a video game. There are a few games out there that may spark the interest of a Studio Ghibli fan. Let's take a look. 

Cliff Hanger

This arcade game uses scenes from the animated films: Mystery of Mamo and The Castle of Cagliostro. The characters in the game do not go by the same name as the characters in the films but they have many similarities. Now Studio Ghibli may have not been involved in the creation of the game, but Miyazaki did play a directing role in the Cagliostro series, which also gave him the notoriety he needed to start Studio Ghibli. So while the game may be an odd mashup of these two films, it does take many of the most iconic scenes and use them for its story. Unfortunately, Cliff Hanger isn't available to play because it's an arcade game.  

Lynn and the Spirits of Inao 

Another game that may entice Studio Ghibli fans is Lynn and the Spirits of Inao. This game is not made by the studio but it is a Kickstarter that is inspired by the films and has parallels to some of the films like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. It is a 2D platformer game that sees the main character Lynn trying to bring peace back to her land of Inao. She must learn the secrets of the evil spirits and encounter some demons along the way. So while this is not a Studio Ghibli project the art style and story elements are reminiscent of Miyazaki.

Unfortunately, this game is not available to play because the game's Kickstarter was canceled after hitting 1695 backers due to allegations against Bloomylight Studio. The allegations are from interns that worked on the game, who claimed that the studio had not paid them for months of work. After the cancellation, the game was put in to a developmental stalemate due to conflict within the team. It is sad that we may never see what could have been a great Studio Ghibli inspired game. 

Ni No Kuni

The other games that fans need to have a look at is the Playstation exclusive franchise, Ni No Kuni. Many are familiar with the popular Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch that received enormous critical praise and has a sequel on the way. The game was directly made with Studio Ghibli and even though Miyazaki was not involved, the game managed to capture everything Studio Ghibli is in one unforgettable gaming experience.

It has a fantastic JRPG combat system and more than 100 hours of content to satisfy even the most hardcore fans. The story focuses on a young boy, Oliver, who is forced to deal with the burden of his dying mother when he is sucked into a fantasy universe. He must stop the lurking evil and save his mother at the same time. The game is available on PS3 here

The game's sequel Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom offers everything that made the first game great with a whole new story. Taking place several years after the events of the first game, King Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum must reclaim his kingdom from the mouse kingdom. The game comes out January 18th, 2018 and you can pre-order it for PS4.

Forgotten Anne

This game is a platforming puzzle experience that offers a unique cinematic experience. The game centers around Anne,  an enforcer in the Forgotten Lands, where she works to quell an ongoing rebellion. The game's art style provides a beautiful anime appearance and is very reminiscent of Studio Ghibli movies like Howl's Moving Castle.

Choice is a driving factor of the game and part of what makes the game an interactive adventure. Rather than only using big decisions to affect the game's course, they also include numerous decisions that involve player emotion. The aspect of emotion is very much a theme of Studio Ghibli and allowing players to make decisions that are emotionally based promises to provide a Studio Ghibli experience. The game has no release date but the game is expected to be out soon for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Jade Cocoon: Story of the Tamamayu

Jade Cocoon is a JRPG with a unique pet system that uses the game's environment. This game was developed with collaboration from Studio Ghibli's Katsuya Kondō, who worked on Kiki's Delivery Service and I Can Hear the See. The game follows the protagonist who wants to follow in his father's footsteps and become a Cocoon Master. As a Cocoon Master, he purifies the game's monsters called Minions, who can then fight for him. Jade Cocoon is available for PS1.

These games are sure to provide some sense of joy for any Studio Ghibli fans. Let us in the comments what game reminds you the most of Studio Ghibli's iconic work.

Tethered, a Studio Ghibli Inspired Game, to Join PlayStation VR Launch Tue, 07 Jun 2016 17:01:53 -0400 JessicaKloss

Tethered, A VR strategy game, was announced earlier today via PlayStation.Blog. The game has been in production for over a year now, and is being made by former Evolution Studios Developers, now called Secret Sorcery. This will be Secret Sorcery's first video game and will be launched with PlayStation VR this fall. 

"Designed and developed exclusively for VR, Tethered takes the best parts of a sand-box experience you might expect from a great strategy game and combines them with gentle puzzle mechanics that help pull you through the experience, all the while wrapping you up in a beautifully immersive universe."

--Alan McDermott, Creative Director for Secret Sorcery

You play as a Spirit Guardian and must restore balance to the islands your Peeps inhabitant. The Peeps build and maintain the islands at the Spirit Guardian's command. The game focuses on a day-and-night structure, where day is for advancing the settlement and preparing for night, and night is for fighting off monstrous scavengers that will try to destroy the Peeps and supplies. It creates a situation where the Peeps can not survive without the Spirit Guardian, and the Spirit Guardian can not restore balance to the lands without the Peeps. Therefore, your fates are tethered.


Gamers are having mixed thoughts about Tethered. Some are super excited, some wish this game would be available on other platforms, and some are still worried about VR causing motion sickness!

Do you think Tethered will be a good game for VR? Leave a comment!

Animate your next game like Futurama with Studio Ghibli's tools. Sat, 26 Mar 2016 09:03:29 -0400 Sagger Khraishi

Do you remember the movie Spirited Away, or Anastasia? How about Ponyo, or Futurama?

Well, the software used to create those movies is called Toonz. It's a 2D animation software created by Digital Video S.p.A. that first came out 23 years ago. Now -- as of March 26th, 2016 -- creators can download the Studio Ghibli version for free. It is officially open source.

So, now you can utilize the powerful software to change your storyboarding and art direction within your games and animations. The combination makes hand-drawn and digital animations fit together pretty seamlessly.

The fact that you can use professional 2D animation tools free is a game changer for tight-budget projects and teams. Imagine being able to create visuals like the ones found in Capcom's 2006 Game of the Year Ōkami with your team.

So if you want to get started, download the open-source version. But if you want to get the premium version with all of the perks it has to offer, check this out.

Studio Ghibli Builds Self-Esteem in Young Girls Sat, 02 Nov 2013 00:34:10 -0400 Poetic Stanziel

If you have a young daughter or niece growing up in North American culture, it can be hard to find positive role-models for them, especially in television and film. If your aim is for them to grow up as strong, self-confident and capable individuals, finding role-models they can look to in their formative years is a difficult proposition at best.

North American created media is full of strong and capable male characters. There seems to be the notion that the male protagonist sells, the female protagonist does not.

North American culture teaches children that boys get things done, and girls support them. Which is complete bunk. But this is what our media generally teaches our children.

Disney animation is a prevalent example; you'd be hard-pressed to find any female protagonist that doesn't require the assistance of male characters to conquer the hurdles of their story arcs. Where female characters do occupy the forefront of Disney films (and there are few of them), their stories are told with respect to their male relationships, and those relationships propel the story.

There is this notion that the female protagonist will not sell to the North American consumer.

As well-written as Pixar films can be, certainly surpassing anything Disney has written in the last three decades, there is a dearth of female protagonists in their oeuvre as well.

There are exceptions in North American media, Dora the Explorer, for instance. But even that exception has its problems. It being exceptionally simple, for one. And it having a narrow window of viewability for children.

In steps Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli of Japan. Now Japan isn't exactly a matriarchal society. I say that facetiously, of course, because Japan is very much patriarchal. So when Miyazaki writes stories with strong and capable female protagonists, I'm sure he does it in protest and as a counterpoint to Japanese culture.

When my niece was born, I took it upon myself to start amassing a collection of Studio Ghibli films for her as she grew up. She doesn't speak Japanese, and kids have little patience or skill with subtitles--but fortunately, English dubs do exist. Disney, even given the poorness of their own catalogue, have to be given some kudos for having the wherewithal to release Studio Ghibli films in North America, and with quite competent English dubs.

So my niece's first exposure to Studio Ghibli began around the age of five with My Neighbour Totoro. She gobbled that up endlessly for a couple years. From there she graduated to Kiki's Delivery ServicePonyo and Arrietty. After that Spirited AwayCastle in the SkyThe Cat Returns, and Howl's Moving Castle. And finally, when she was about eleven years of age, onto the more mature titles of Princess Mononoke and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

Nothing trumps good parenting. Not even great storytelling.

In most Ghibli films featuring a female protagonist, the female wins the day on her own merits. Where a relationship with a male may be evident, that relationship does not propel the story, and often the female will rebuff any male advances until after her task is complete. If a female is rescued by a male, that favour is returned with her saving him at some point.

If you have a young daughter or niece, and you're looking for positive, influential role models for her in the film medium, you can't do much better than Studio Ghibli. There's no guarantee that she'll grow up strong and confident, that the Miley Cyruses and Jersey Shores of the world won't eventually take over her life, but at least with Studio Ghibli you're stepping her in the right direction from an early age. It can't have but some positive influence.

Grades of mentioned films:

  • My Neighbour Totoro: A+
  • Kiki's Delivery Service: A
  • Ponyo: B
  • Arrietty: B+
  • Spirited Away: A+
  • Castle in the Sky: A-
  • The Cat Returns: A
  • Howl's Moving Castle: B
  • Princess Mononoke: A
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind: B+
MCM London Comic Con - Namco Bandai Is No Longer A Brand For Good Quality Games Thu, 31 Oct 2013 18:02:05 -0400 Destrolyn.Bechgeddig

Namco Bandai had a large presence at MCM London Comic Con this October, although it would have been surprising if they didn't as they're one of the most established and recognisable video game brands around. In 2005, Japanese video game company Namco merged with Japanese video game and toy/model manufacturers to create the large company that it is today. With that, both companies brought a wealth of ownership and distribution rights for classic games like Pac-Man and games/brands like Dragon Ball Z and Digimon.

With an area showcasing all their upcoming games, and an exclusive and much hyped presentation and Q&A session with executives flown in fresh from Japan, it has become clear that Namco Bandai is no longer the reassuring brand of quality that it used to be.

The Good

Truth be told, there are some excellent titles coming up soon from the company, namely Dark Souls II, JoJo's Bizzare Adventure: All-Star Battle, and Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z. Each of these look and play fantastic.


  • Dark Souls II - Still insanely difficult, but manages to look even better whilst maintaining  its incredibly absorbing gameplay. A great follow-up from the first two games (Dark Souls and Demon's Souls), with a brand new hero.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle - Covering the first eight story arcs of the manga, this classic fighter-style game captures the high-octane mania and colour of the original series. Fast-paced, dazzling, and a lot of fun.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z - Looks just as visually stunning as JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle, and introduces new 4v4 and 4vE gameplay.

The presentation and Q&A with representatives of the games showed that the company can put a lot of thought into development when it wants to. Kunio Hashimoto, for Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, not only burst on to the stage in full cosplay and screaming "Lend me your energy!" but was also incredibly responsive about the game. When asked why players weren't allowed to transform mid-battle and stick with the only one of each character's transformation in a team, he took the time explain that this was to ensure balance, especially when it came to 4v4, giving an in-depth answer and more than satisfactory response.

There's also other great recent games to their title, such as the sumptuous Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, wich saw the company team up with famed anime studioStudio Ghibli, to produce something exquisite.

When Namco Bandai want to make a good game, they can make a bloody brilliant one.

The Bad

But there was also a collection of games that really failed to raise any enthusiasm, or outright bored us, showing that there are times when Namco Bandai couldn't care less, resulting in forgettable games.


  • Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers - a generic fighter with cheap graphics, no flair, and no complexity
  • Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures - a lack lustre and lazy generic 3D platformer that's as easy as it is dull (read our full review)

These two games shows not just the worst side of the company, but also the games industry as a whole. Here, Namco Bandai are purely trading-in the rights they have to certain brands as a way to make a quick buck rather than a good game. Sure, sometimes they're sturdy and the gameplay is solid, but they're devoid of imagination and ingenuity, which in our opinion is worse than making a bad game.

When compared against the games in "The Good" list above, the graphics and animations are noticeably less polished, and then the gameplay is bog-standard; at best, the developers were rushed to finish the game, and at worse, they just didn't bother. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures goes as far as almost ripping off Super Mario 64, and Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers adds nothing to the genre since Street Fighter broke ground.

Ryo Mito, in his presentation for Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers, even said that if you didn't want to try for more complex combos and moves, you could simply just "mash the buttons" and still win--hardly a glowing endorsement for the game. To add insult to injury, the demonstrator failed four times in a row to show off the super-special-awesome move that was billed as one of the game's selling points. They eventually gave up and the crowd were told to try and successfully initiate it themselves at the game's demo booth.

Recently, there was also the hideously embarrassing and buggy Star Trek game, which even had film director J.J. Abrams weigh in with outright disappointment for the game.

YouTube game-breakers, BirgirPall, didn't need to do much with the woeful Namco Bandai title, Star Trek.

The Fallout

It's sad that these days, anything from Namco Bandai must be judged on its own merits, as the quality of games from the company sway wildly from the brilliant to the banal, and even to awful. It's not exactly a great position for any company to be in, as if your brand and products can't assure a standard of quality; what faith are your investors going to have in the company's future, let alone gamers who will potentially buy your product?

Yes, admittedly some of the titles mentioned above have been developed by third-party developers and then published by the company. But as publishers they still have a responsibility of quality control. Furthermore, engaging with a third-party developer needn't result in a bad game either; Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch being a prime example where working with developers Level 5 worked wonders for Namco Bandai.

But hasn't it always been like this? A quick look over the list of games that the separate and joint companies have released show a gaggle of obscure and forgotten titles alongside universally praised ones.

Also, to pick Namco Bandai out as an example is possibly a little unfair as there are other large game developers and publishers who make similarly cheap decisions. But if you're going to make a big song and dance about your products at one of Europe's biggest expositions, then at least ensure some level of quality across everything you're presenting or risk as goading such as this one.

"Namco Bandai has become the Forest Gump of the games industry: you never know what you're going to get."

The worst part of it all, though, is that Star Trek, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, and Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers exist purely to exploit and extort these respective fanbases; a pretty dastardly and cynical motivation, and one that sullies the video games industry.

But for all there is to say about Namco Bandai, no more will the company's brand pique the interest of gamers just because its name is slapped on a title, despite it's long and illustrious history. Namco Bandai has become the Forest Gump of the games industry: you never know what you're going to get.

For more information about Namco Bandai's upcoming releases, visit

Hayao Miyazaki Announced Retirement Sun, 01 Sep 2013 18:20:41 -0400 Miranda Kirk

The creator of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and legendary Japanese film director and animator Hayao Miyazaki is retiring after his final film “The Wind Rises".

Studio Ghibli executive Kouji Hoshino made the announcement on Miyazaki's behalf on Sunday at the Venice Film Festival.  Miyazaki has won several awards for his work in anime-style films including, but not limited too, Best Animated Film for many of his titles at the Japanese Academy Awards, New York Film Critics Circle Awards, and Hollywood Film Festival.

His list of accomplishments within the art community goes on far too much to list here, but he is a pioneer of the art form. Some of his films while collaborating with Studio Ghibli were groundbreaking. For example, “Princess Mononoke” was one of the first animations to include CGI, and his film “Spirited Away” captured the spirit of fantasy.

The news of his retirement is definitely a hit to the anime, art, and film worlds alike. Pairing up with developer Level 5, Studio Ghibli’s Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was received with wide acclaim and some even call it a gaming masterpiece. 

“The Wind Rises” will be his final feature film, which, for North America, will be making its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival from September 5-15, 2013. Miyazaki will truly be missed! It’s a shame he won’t be continuing to make great games and films. 

Ni no Kuni - Ep.1- Motorville Gangstas Fri, 21 Jun 2013 17:36:14 -0400 B. Chambers

In the early stages of the game you may be slightly discouraged by how forced the story feels. The story works to very quickly get you out of Motorville and into the parallel 'nother world to set you out on your adventure. I'm currently about 15hrs into the game (which is probably 8-10hrs for a normal player) and most of the character development I've seen has been very basic. That said, the lack of backstory works in this case because the main protagonists are so young. What they are experiencing in Ni No Kuni are the events that will ultimately define their lives. It's as if you get to experience - or play - their character development versus having to be force-fed it through long walls of text as the game progresses. 

All things considered, at this juncture, I believe Level 5 and Studio Ghibli are focusing less on the actual narrative and trying to help me get lost in a lively adventure in a colorful world with characters who's charm and personality rival most RPG characters I've played over the last several years. Motorville is alive. Even the voiced NPCs have a charisma not rivaled by many games in recent history. Phil made me want to slap him in the mouth for sassing me and other people in the story. Interestingly enough, during my 15hrs of play, I've not seen much of the game's villains save through cutscene snipits. I'm very interested to see how that pans out later in the game. 

I loved the scene where Allie saves Oliver from drowning in the river. Jo Wyatt nailed Allie's frantic search for Oliver vocally and the artists really captured her movements and hurried actions very well. As a parent, I could totally understand what she was feeling and the voice and visual work really sold the scene. 

Fifteen hours into the game and I can't help but really love Drippy. He is so far my favorite part of the game. Steffan Rhodri crushes his voice acting to really make Drippy the star of the show--at least thus far into the adventure. Drippy does an excellent job serving as the comic relief and the host of our adventure through nother world. 

Well that's gonna do it for our first Ni No Kuni episode, folks. Stay tuned for more.

Want to Win Some Ni No Kuni Goodies From Prima Games? Wed, 24 Apr 2013 20:30:02 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Ni No Kuni met huge amounts of fanfare when it finally saw the light of day in North America, and the party isn't over yet. Namco Bandai may be considering localizing the 3DS version of the game, and Prima Guides is holding a contest for fans to win some pretty nice stuff.

The contest requires that participants write a familiar strategy spotlight, such as the ones listed here by Prima Guides themselves. The spotlights give an overview of each familiar, including how to care for them and tips to get their metamorphoses.

The Grand Prize Winner will receive:

  • The Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Collector's Edition guide
  • A giant plush Drippy
  • The Ni No Kuni Wizard's Companion book
  • A game poster
  • A silky Ni No Kuni cape

Four runners up will receive:

  • A silky No No Kuni cape
  • A game poster
  • The Ni No Kuni Wizard's Companion book
Aside from prizes..

Participants must be US citizens over the age of 18, and may only enter the contest once. The winners will be chosen at random at 11:59SM PST on May 15. Head on over to the official site for more details, and good luck to those of you who enter!