Studio Ghibli is known for its endearingly sincere and charming characters, and thanks to fantastic scripts and nuanced animation, the likes of Totoro, Chihiro, and Howl come to life in the imaginations of fans, so much so that the boundary between animation and reality begins to blur. And with a little post-production magic, that boundary is completely eliminated by DirectorDT, who has taken our most beloved Ghibli characters and put them in the real world.
Ever since the founding of the Japanese animation studio in 1985, visionary filmmakers Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki, and Isao Takahata have been capturing the true essence of humanity with their work, quite the undertaking considering the fact that their films are animated. But it's true—there is, and always has been, a very real human quality in the characters in films like Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, and Ponyo.
So, seeing them overlaid actual footage of a subway car, an alley, and a car on a freeway is quite perplexing, because you know that it's not real, you know you're seeing animated subjects juxtaposed onto video clips of the real world, but it feels right. This is probably because what these characters represent emotionally is very real, so the background that they stand in front of is almost inconsequential (although Studio Ghibli films do have breathtaking design). Suffice it to say that without all the animation and magic, Sophia, Yubaba, Sosuke, and all of the other Studio Ghibli characters would be entirely real.
If nothing else, this video is fun to watch. Seeing Chihiro make room for No-Face on a subway is nothing short of spectacular—spectacularly normal and real and human.