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Chill Out and Explore Hayao Miyazaki's 'Spirited Away' in Minecraft

GhibliCraft's creation is better than therapy.

by Beckett Mufson
Jun 26 2018, 8:33pm

Screenshot via YouTube

Pry your sore eyes from the spiraling pain geyser of social media telling you about Sean Spicer's terrible talk show, white people calling the police on black kids for no reason, and bad reality TV shows. Instead, rejuvenate yourself with this soothing tour through this meticulous Minecraft recreation of Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki's Academy Award-winning coming-of-age tale about a girl named Jihiro lost in the spirit world.

Miyazaki is the best when it comes to escapism, but it's his inimitable brand of whimsy that sticks with viewers long after they're done escaping. His work is imbued with a contagious respect for nature and humanity that comes out in his inhuman attention to detail. The best thing about GhibliCraft—the group dedicated to reconstructing Studio Ghibli films in Minecraft—is that it honors Miyazaki's dedication by mimicking it. There are rows of buildings reconstructed from reflections on Jihiro's family car. The bathhouse itself is stunningly to-scale, including multiple usable elevators, diligently working soot sprites, and functional bathtubs.

YouTuber Alan Becker, of Animator vs Animation fame, has been working on GhibliCraft for over seven years with an international team of programmers that's grown to over 100 strong. In addition to recreating Spirited Away, they've created models of the scenery from Howl's Moving Castle, and My Neighbor Totoro, periodically sharing updates. Becker recounts Jihiro's journey as he shows off the custom Minecraft graphics and elaborate mods that make the world come to life. His guided tour through the iconic Spirited Away bathhouse is proof that Minecraft is an art form, especially compared with early renderings of the world.

The familiar-but-different vibe of wandering through one of the most popular and lauded animated films of all time in a game engine is relaxing, but engaging—the perfect antidote to everything erratic, and unfamiliar the world is throwing at us in 2018. It's worth watching all 30 minutes. Below are some of its more impressive examples of the work.

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