Lasseter-San, Arigato (synopsis - Page 5)

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Footage is then shown of Lasseter's visit to Studio Ghibli (with his family) during the promotional tour for Toy Story 2 in 2000. Lasseter introduces three of his sons to Miyazaki, who says he is envious of his family. At that time, Miyazaki was having trouble with early story treatments for Spirited Away. The scene switches back to the present day, where Lasseter shows Miyazaki some discarded storyboards from that time, which he retrieved from the rubbish and had Miyazaki sign. They are now mounted on the wall of Lasseter's office. Miyazaki notes that one early scene of the Ogino family moving their possessions was cut because it made the movie too long.

Pixar Totoro Fanart

At lunch across a long table, Lasseter and other Pixar employees try to comprehend Miyazaki's creative process. Miyazaki notes that one of the best things about recording voices after the animation is complete is that detailed directions can be given to the actors. It's not just to save money!

Miyazaki says that once he has finished his key animation, he feels it is the best he can do. That is why, if people then suggest changes, his morale plummets. Similarly, if he feels a scene is not working well, he will take over the work himself, rather than ordering the animator to make changes. Having been an animator himself, he knows all too well that sinking feeling.

Miyazaki and Lasseter are shown signing many items in preparation for a charity benefit to be held later.

The Pixar employees gather in their theatre, where Suzuki announces in halting English (not daring to stop to acknowledge applause, lest his momentum be lost) that there will be a special showing of a secret film from Japan. The enthralled audience laughs along to Mei and the Kittenbus, and Miyazaki ascends the stage to a standing ovation. There, he is presented with a piece of art from Pixar. It is signed by many employees, and depicts Mike and Sulley from Pixar's Monsters, Inc. standing in the rain at the bus stop with Totoro. The dedication reads, "To Hayao Miyazaki. Your work is an inspiration to us. Pixar Animation Studios". Miyazaki says that he would like to exhibit it at Studio Ghibli.

9. The Evening of September 13: Driving to Sonoma

The crew are shown arriving that evening at Lasseter's house in Sonoma, carrying several mysterious cartons inside. Lasseter introduces his wife, and casually shows off the two Oscars on the mantelpiece - he is much more enthusiastic about showing off his kids' Cub Scout craft projects.

A Toast to Spirited Away

On the dining table, the presents are revealed! A model of the bath-house from Spirited Away gives Lasseter the chance to narrate the scene when Chihiro navigates the steps to the boiler room: "Step, step, Ahhhhhhhhh - boom!" Next, Lasseter opens a carton that holds another rectangular box. He suddenly realises what must be in that box, and lets out a cry of delight, much to the amusement of the Ghibli crew. It is a limited-edition wood-look Ghibli DVD player, which Suzuki says is a birthday present for Lasseter's wife. There is also a set of enamelled "Totoro" spoons and a display plate. The Lasseter kids return home, where the youngest is finally introduced to Miyazaki, and the others are re-acquainted. Lasseter can hardly wait to tell his kids about the special screening of Mei and the Kittenbus that he saw earlier that day. To Miyazaki's amazement, Lasseter's second son even remembers some of the characters, which they saw as unfinished cels when visiting Studio Ghibli in Tokyo. The kids have fun with some wind-up toys and a music box, before Lasseter announces a toast - although Suzuki notes with surprise that Miyazaki's glass is already half empty! Suzuki himself can only take one sip before quickly passing his own glass over to Miyazaki. The camera lingers over the swimming pool in the backyard - no doubt a rare sight for the Japanese crew.

The scene switches to a van in which the crew is being driven around town, with Lasseter speaking through a PA system like a tour guide. Some of the crew are having trouble keeping their eyes open!


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