A triple threat of Studio Ghibli magic is now available in VR form. Scenes from Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, and My Neighbor Totoro leap from the silver screen into three dimensions, thanks to a series of demos made by UK designer Nick Pittom of Fire Panda and distributed by We Are VR.T he experiences include a stunning view of the Howl's titular castle strolling through a mountainside landscape, a walk among the soot sprites working in Kamaji's boiler room in Spirited Away, and an atmospheric meeting with Totoro in the forest before he boards the cat bus.
While the first two experiences are completely passive, the third allows some degree of interactivity, allowing users to hand Totoro an umbrella and receive a package of seeds, as the main character Satsuki does in the film. "Totoro was an experimental piece intended to further explore the way in which a traditional 2D animated style could be a compelling VR experience," reads the official description of the experience. While watchers are clamoring for full feature films captured this way, Pittom tells The Creators Project that there are, "No plans to extend them for now. They were fun fan projects mainly and I've taken them as far as I want to for now." Fire Panda has a number of other VR experiences in development, including the VR ER, and a popular VR recreation of the Apollo 11 mission.
A number of vloggers have demonstrated the experience over the last few days, each narrating their own feelings during the experience and nerding out about the Studio Ghibli films. If you'd rather focus on the visuals, one of the less talky videos comes courtesy of ParaPlaysVR, which you can watch below.