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Ghibli let fans ask anything they wanted and pulled back the curtain on the 1997 Hayao Miyazaki anime classic, which almost wasn’t titled Princess Mononoke.

This month’s Friday the 13th was doubly lucky for anime enthusiasts. Not only was Princess Mononoke shown on TV in Japan, the official Studio Ghibli Twitter account dropped a steady supply of behind-the-scenes details during the broadcast.

Ghibli’s tweets came in the form of responses to questions collected from Twitter users prior to Princess Mononoke’s airing, and as one of director Hayao Miyazaki’s most complex and respected works, there was plenty that admirers wanted to know. Let’s take a look at what the studio revealed, starting with the answer to the question “What was the hardest scene to animate?”

“It’s hard to pick just one as the most difficult, but for the scene right at the start of the movie where the Tatarigami attacks the village, aside from a few CG parts, all of it is hand-drawn. Drawing the snake-like tentacles on the creature’s body, which are on-screen for two minutes and 10 seconds, took one year and seven months.”

That’s not to say the CG portions were a breeze either. Princess Mononoke was the first Ghibli movie with any significant use of computer-generated visuals, and the studio added:

“From the desks of the CG staff in the studio, there’s a house you can see outside the window. The staff saw the house get torn down, rebuilt, and the family move back in, all while they were still working on the CG for the sequence where the Tatarigami’s eye gets pierced by an arrow.”

Princess Mononoke doesn’t just look amazing in motion, though. It also boasts some of the most memorable character designs of any …continue reading