‘The Simpsons’ pays tribute to Hayao Miyazaki in Sunday’s episode

Jan. 10, 2014 | 10:05 p.m.

Sunday’s episode of “The Simpsons” features a whimsical sequence that pays tribute to Hayao Miyazaki, the legendary animation director and animator and cofounder of animation Studio Ghibli.

A clip from Sunday’s episode (watch it above) includes references to many of Studio Ghibli films: Otto Mann, the show’s school bus driver, is transformed into the Catbus from “My Neighbor Totoro”; Springfield’s police Chief Clancy Wiggum appears as a pig, like the hero of “Porco Rosso”; Marge’s sisters Patty and Selma Bouvier ride brooms like the young witch in “Kiki’s Delivery Service”; Mo resembles the scarecrow Turnip-Head from “Howl’s Moving Castle”; and the Kwik-E-Mart becomes the castle itself. The episode also includes references to “Spirited Away” and other Miyazaki films.

PHOTOS: Hayao Miyazaki, an animated icon

The episode, titled “Married to the Blob,” focuses on Comic Book Guy, the owner of Springfield’s comic book shop the Android’s Dungeon. Comic Book Guy meets Kumiko, a Japanese woman writing an autobiographical manga, and seeks some dating advice from Homer. Watch the episode’s opening couch gag sequence in the video below.

Stan Lee is also set to cameo in the episode, as is science fiction author Harlan Ellison. (Watch a featurette on their cameos here.)

The Miyazaki tribute follows last year’s homage to horror couch gag, directed by Guillermo del Toro.

Did you spot a Ghibli reference we missed? Let us know in the comments.

– Noelene Clark | @NoeleneClark | Google+


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‘The Wind Rises’ trailer: Miyazaki’s farewell film coming to U.S.

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‘Arrietty’ director on the beauty of Studio Ghibli

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Miyazaki breaks silent Iraq protest

‘Tangled Ever After’: Disney lets its hair down

Miyazaki: Even if you don’t see details, you do

Miyazaki’s ‘Nausicaä’ as personal archaeology

‘Adventure Time’ attracts adult fans

Pixar’s ‘Brave’ shoots arrows in the princess ideal


6 Responses to ‘The Simpsons’ pays tribute to Hayao Miyazaki in Sunday’s episode

  1. richard schumacher says:

    What, it wasn't worth mentioning that the couch sequence was animated by the excellent Bill Plympton, creator of "Your Face"?

  2. Jules says:

    Ponyo gets off the catbus with Porco and it looks like there are three kodama spirits (Princess Mononoke) in a bush outside of the Magical Vehicles building.

  3. cadavra says:

    Oh, man, now I want to rewatch all of his films. There goes the rest of the day!

    On a more serious note, if this makes even a handful of viewers aware of Studio Ghibli and seek out their pictures, they will have performed a most valuable service.

  4. Barry M. Lamont says:

    Krusty is transformed into Jigo, the disreputable monk in Princess Mononoke (voiced by Billy Bob Thornton in the excellent English version).

  5. Zik says:

    I’m not sure, but the three headed dragon could be a references from “Sprited Away” or “Tales from Earthsea”.

    There seem to be a lot, but i guess they couldn’t include one from “Castle in the Sky” and “Whisper of the Heart”. That would be a great role for Lisa since she always seem to be an advocate for the animal or escaping from people seeking her knowledge.

  6. David says:

    This episode makes me appreciate the simpsons on a much deeper level

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