This week Hideaki Omura, the governor of Aichi, and Goro Miyazaki, the creative head of Ghibli Park planning (and son of Hayao Miyazaki) held a press conference to talk about the upcoming Catbuses. Yes, because if you’re going to make a park all about Studio Ghibli, you definitely need to have Catbuses to get people around. And the five Catbuses that will go into commission next year will be driving around the general area, so you don’t have to go into Ghibli Park to catch a ride. You’ll just have to buy a bus ticket.
The design comes from the APM electric vehicle from Toyota, then has all the Catbus amenities attached. The seats are even made fluffy. Five people (not counting the driver) can ride in the bus at a time, and it is wheelchair accessible. Hayao Miyazaki laconically said it looked “nice.”
They’re looking to begin hiring drivers shortly, but the Catbuses aren’t expected to actually hit the road until March 2024.
Catbus is a character from Hayao Miyazaki’s very popular film My Neighbor Totoro. GKIDS licensed My Neighbor Totoro in English and gave this description for it:
From the legendary Studio Ghibli, creators of Spirited Away and Ponyo, and Academy Award®-winning director Hayao Miyazaki, comes a classic tale of magic and adventure for the whole family.
When Satsuki and her sister Mei move with their father to a new home in the countryside, they find country life is not as simple as it seems. They soon discover that the house and nearby woods are full of strange and delightful creatures, including a gigantic but gentle forest spirit called Totoro, who can only be seen by children. Totoro and his friends introduce the girls to a series of adventures, including a ride aboard the extraordinary Cat Bus, in this all-ages animated masterpiece featuring the voices of Tim Daly, Lea Salonga, and real-life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning, in early roles.
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.