Are you ready to be Spirited Away to a collection full of magic?
Eloïse Von Velvet (France) has broken the record for the largest collection of Studio Ghibli memorabilia.
The collection consists of 1,304 items from all the Studio Ghibli movies, as confirmed on 7 October 2021 at Eloïse's house in France.
Two of Eloïse's rarest items are working Orgel music boxes of the character Ponyo from Ponyo, the eighth Studio Ghibli film directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
"They are little Ponyo music boxes. Ponyo items are really, really hard to find, it's like the Holy Grail," explained Eloïse.
One of Eloïse's favourite items is a statue of the black cat Jiji from Kiki's Delivery Service.
"This is the most sentimental object of my collection. When my little kitten died, my friend bought me this statue of Jiji."
"When I enter the room, my eye is always drawn to it, and I think of my baby who passed away."
"I really recognized myself in Kiki, the little witch from Kiki's Delivery Service. She has black clothes, back hair and a black cat just like me." - Eloïse Von Velvet
Eloïse saw her first Studio Ghibli film aged six.
"My mother bought me the DVD of Princess Mononoke," said Eloïse.
"This movie was a little too dark for me at the time, but I fell in love with its magnificent landscapes, its beautiful soundtrack and its strong female characters."
She went on to discover My Neighbor Totoro, which she watched almost every day for years.
Although Eloïse had a fascination for Studio Ghibli movies from a young age, her memorabilia collection didn't begin until 2007, when her sister gifted her a box set of three action figures from Howl's Moving Castle for her birthday.
But Howl’s Moving Castle wasn’t just the beginning of Eloïse's journey into the world of collecting - it was also where she discovered her favourite ever Studio Ghibli character; Howl Jenkins.
"He’s a little bit annoying at the beginning of the movie, and he’s this gorgeous but arrogant guy who enjoys seducing beautiful women. He falls in love with Sophie for her inner beauty and does whatever it takes to protect her. He is my absolute childhood crush!"
In the beginning, her family and friends weren’t supportive of her hobby as Eloïse dedicated a lot of time and money to it.
However, they changed their minds after realizing how many opportunities this collection offered to Eloïse, from sponsorships to interviews.
Procuring the right items for her treasure trove takes up a lot of Eloïse's time. She can spend between 3-5 hours a day on the internet looking for memorabilia from around the world.
"Yes. It's a lot," Eloïse admits.
"Sometimes I even wake up in the middle of the night to raise a bid on eBay. My collection... it's like a full-time job for me."
Eloïse's obsession doesn't just end at objects - she also has a number of Studio Ghibli tattoos, including:
- Haku the dragon and the Shikigami from Spirited Away
- Mononoke from Princess Mononoke
- Calcifer from Howl's Moving Castle
- Jiji from Kiki's Delivery Service
"The soundtracks are breath-taking, the characters are charismatic and enduring and the themes are now more relevant than ever in our society."
"Princess Mononoke is 25 years old, for example, and it looks like it was directed nowadays."
"I still have to realize it," Eloïse stated when asked how it feels to hold a record.
"My mum used to buy me the book for Christmas when I was a child. The GWR book has been on my bedside for years and years, I loved to read it before bedtime.
"And now I'm the owner of a Guinness World Records title for my collection! One of my biggest childhood dreams became true, it's crazy."
"I will never stop collecting. It's my passion, it's my life."
In the future, Eloïse sees even more memorabilia from her favourite movies being added to her collection, depicting the characters she loves so much.
"I want a really, really, really big Totoro plush," she says.
She’s sure it’ll look amazing in her Studio Ghibli-dedicated room, and so are we!
Studio Ghibli also holds the Guinness World Records title for the most successful foreign-language animation studio. As of November 2021, it grossed worldwide over $1,395,722,174 (£1,046,950,000) from 19 feature films.
The famous Tokyo-based animated studio was founded in 1985 by directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, together with producer Toshio Suzuki.
Often weaving Japanese folklore into intriguing storylines, most works from Studio Ghibli are immediately distinguishable for their animation, made of vivid colours and rich in details.
Some of its iconic titles are Porco Rosso, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro.
Although the studio continuously racks up many awards in Japan, with Princess Mononoke being the first animated film to win the Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year and kickstarting a long string of national awards, it has also received plenty of accolades outside its homeland.
Between 2002 and 2003, Spirited Away received a Golden Bear Award and an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Spirited Away (originally Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi) also holds the record as the first anime film to win an Oscar.