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Miyazaki's 'Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess' at Tokyo's Ghibli Museum

By The Editor
December 9, 2010 - 05:09

What would happen if a blob of dough suddenly came to life and tried to run away from a crafty old witch? How would it run? Would its movements be all gooey and squishy?

Such were the musings of acclaimed anime creator Hayao Miyazaki as he pondered how to make "Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess," the fully baked result of which can be seen at the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo's Mitaka city through March 14 at the museum's Saturn Theater.

In conjunction with the screening, an exhibition about the making of the film runs through May.

The short was the brainchild of Miyazaki, who happened across an old European folk tale about a runaway loaf of bread. It reminded him of the Japanese folk tale "Omusubi Kororin" (tumbling rice balls). A man drops his rice balls, which are eaten by hungry mice. They give the man treasures in return for his generosity.

Miyazaki stretched his imagination. "What if the runaway was a chunk of dough, how could it get away? Are its movements all gooey and squishy?"

In Miyazaki's story, an old witch named Baba Yaga lives at a water mill deep in a forest. There she keeps the Egg Princess as her servant.

One day, a batch of kneaded bread dough lying in a trough suddenly comes to life from a careless spell cast by the witch. Mr. Dough is born. He and the Egg Princess run away, but Baba Yaga discovers they have deserted her and chases after them.

The creepy, but lovable Baba Yaga, along with the stretchy, bendy way that Mr. Dough moves, make the scenes hilarious.

The music was produced by Ghibli regular Joe Hisaishi.

Panels illustrated by and with comments from Miyazaki explain how bread is made, from the milling of wheat through baking. A wheat field scene is recreated in a diorama. Another display explains the process of stone grinding flour. Visitors can learn the processes of both filmmaking and bread making from this entertaining exhibition.

Last Updated: May 19, 2020 - 12:25

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