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Laputa: Castle in the Sky's Robots Explained

Laputa: Castle In The Sky was the very first Studio Ghibli movie. Here's an explanation for the Laputa robots encountered during the story.

Castle in the Sky, Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki

Here are the robots from Laputa: Castle In The Sky explained. Laputa was the very first movie by the renowned Studio Ghibli. Director Hayao Miyazaki had previously made a name for himself as the director behind animated films like 1979's The Castle of Cagliostro and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which was based on his own manga series. Following the success of Laputa, Ghibli would go on to deliver a run of fantastic animated features, many of which were directed by Miyazaki himself.

Choice classics include My Neighbor Totoro, Grave Of The Fireflies, Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. In addition to the lush animation, Ghibli films often feature great characters, emotional stories and spiritual subtext. Their work would inspire other filmmakers and artists too with much of Pixar's output, including the Toy Story series, pulling from Ghibli's style.

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It all started with Laputa, which is a steampunk adventure involving a young boy and girl named Pazu and Sheeta, as they are chased by pirates who want a special necklace belonging to Sheeta. Their travels lead them to Laputa, a floating city thought to be the stuff of legends. The city itself was inspired by Jonathan Swift's famous novel Guillver's Travels and Miyazaki was also inspired to write Castle In The Sky after visiting a Welsh mining town during the miners' strikes in the 1980s.

laputa robots ghibli

Laputa also features a special kind of robot, and these machines are much taller than human beings and have the ability to fly. They bear a resemblance to the title character from The Iron Giant, and while they can be gentle creatures - with the main robot peacefully tending to the gardens on Laputa and looking after the animals - they possess powerful lasers and are capable of great destruction. They also highlight Miyazaki's talent for design, as they can be both cute and terrifying depending on the scene. While most of the Laputa robots are eventually destroyed, the gardener robot survives the film and is last seen tending to the gardens.

Joss Whedon is a big Studio Ghibli fan and left a small easter egg in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, where a model of the Laputa robot is briefly visible in one scene. These machines also represent the key themes of Laputa: Castle In The Sky, as the robots are naturally peaceful and docile, and it's only in response to war or violence do they become destructive. Just like Princess Mononoke, the director is stating that mankind, technology and nature can all co-exist without destruction, though that's a lesson the villains tend to learn a little too late.

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