The Simpsons has never been shy about wearing its influences on its sleeve. Nearly every episode of the show features an explicit movie reference–although that claim is harder to make now that the show is well past the 500-episode mark and thus difficult to itemize. Since the show is in its golden years, though, the creators have been even more forthcoming with tributes–handing the keys over to people like Guillermo del Toro and Bill Plympton, so that they can bring their aesthetic to Springfield. Rather than outsourcing the job, though, this week’s episode features a scene honoring anime hero Hayao Miyazaki, whose latest film, The Wind Rises, is also said to be his final one.
In order to commemorate the newly retired master, The Simpsons borrows liberally from the director’s overflowing imagination by having its sprawling cast interact with the fantastical creations of some of his most famous films. The street spirits and pig people from Spirited Away are accounted for, Patti and Selma fly by as twin Kikis from Kiki’s Delivery Service, and the Kwik-E-Mart becomes Howl’s Moving Castle from the eponymous film. As Apu’s beloved store scampers away on enormous mechanical legs, he laments, “I am ruined by whimsy.” After watching this clip, perhaps you will be too.
Let us know what Miyazaki references you found in the clip in the comments below.