Over the years The Simpsons has satirized and spoofed just about every cultural institution known to man. Frankly, it's what they do best. But, in this week's episode, a prolonged sequence that pulls straight from the films of Japanese anime demigod Hayao Miyazaki is more tribute than spoof. Though it doesn't last for much more than a minute, Homer and his Japanese friend get drunk off fish wine (that would be aquarium water), and are soon transported to Japan via a mega hallucination where they run into many familiar faces, mashed-up with iconic characters from Miyazaki's celebrated oeuvre.
There's Patty and Selma as Kiki The Witch from Kiki's Delivery Service, Otto as Catbus from My Neighbour Totoro, the Kwik-E-Mart as The Castle from Howl's Moving Castle, and many, many more.
The whole homage becomes quite touching when you realize that the impetus behind it is Miyazaki's retirement from the animation game. Last year's The Wind Rises was, according to the master himself, his last film. And, if you think that the team that brings Springfield to life hasn't been influenced by Miyazaki, think again. The episode airs this Sunday on FOX, but just for you, the tribute can be found below. (Slate)
Photo: Courtesy of Miramax.