In spite of my sumptuous visions of Japan as some sort of robotic wonderland, I have yet to be served a drink by anything resembling Dexter from Perfect Match. Until the weekend:
Yeah! Actually, he didn’t serve me any drinks. And since he’s a statue, he doesn’t actually do much at all. But I find all of this encouraging progress.
You can see him at the Ghibli Museum at Mitaka in Tokyo. It’s run by Studio Ghibli who make famous anime such as Spirited Away (which won an Oscar), Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke. As a bonus, it’s in the middle of a forest, and the views in autumn are quite spectacular.
The museum itself is very enjoyable, even if you don’t know too much about the movies. Watch out though – because of the popularity, you have to buy tickets in advance. It gives a lot of detail about the animation process, with a recreation of Hayao Miyazaki‘s cluttered animation studio and his extremely eclectic taste in books. The standout is the 3d zoetrope, which uses carefully designed, sequentially-posed figurines on a spinning wheel, with carefully timed strobe lights to bring the figurines to life. It’s quite hard to explain, but maybe an awful quality video on Youtube will give you an idea. A phenomenal effect, though.
They also show a short film which only plays at the Museum, and definitely meets the Studio Ghibli standard. You might like to brush up on your Japanese first, but you won’t be able to escape the whimsy, regardless. It is inescapable.
Also, I should make mention of the fact that they have a giant robot.