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Spreading the Studio Ghibli bug in Indonesia

Japanese animation house in year-long campaign to promote its films locally

Kevin Nikolas leads Ghiblinesia, an Indonesian fan community that sometimes perform songs from Ghibli film soundtracks. (Photo by Marcel Thee)

JAKARTA -- Indonesia's appetite for Japanese pop culture has grown steadily since the 1980s, with one notable exception -- the works of animation house Studio Ghibli have not been hits. Now, a year-long promotional campaign is seeking to change that.

While other Japanese entertainment exports, such as the AKB48 all-girl musical group or the Doraemon manga-anime series have taken off in the southeast Asian country, Ghibli's traditional approach to animation and the measured tone of its productions seem to require Indonesians to don a different set of viewing goggles. Steeped in allegory and symbolism, Ghibli's mostly hand-drawn films run at a very different pace from most of the computer-generated animated movies from major U.S. studios that find success in Indonesia.

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