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The Simpsons Features More Studio Ghibli References Than You Probably Realized

"The Simpsons" has become one of the most prevalent cultural touchstones on television. After more than 30 years on the air, the animated sitcom shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Across the generous breadth of the series, "The Simpsons" has never run out of pop culture figures or events to satirize and lampoon.

Still, being that "The Simpsons" is an animated series, the crew behind the show have nothing but the greatest appreciation for the art form. And almost no studio in the world is as lauded and respected across the animation industry as Japanese anime giant Studio Ghibli.

The studio that brought timeless tales like "My Neighbor Totoro," "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind," and "Princess Mononoke" to life is looked upon with reverence by even the animation masters of Disney and Pixar (via The Hollywood Reporter). The "Simpsons" creative team has a penchant for pop culture homages, and paid tribute to Studio Ghibli in one special episode.

This Simpsons episode features tons of Ghibli references

In "The Simpsons" Season 25, Episode 10 ("Married to the Blob"), Comic Book Guy (Hank Azaria) romances a Japanese manga writer named Kumiko (Jenny Yokobori). Naturally, Homer (Dan Castellaneta) intervenes and screws it all up when he talks poorly about Comic Book Guy to Kumiko's father, Mr. Nakamura (Hank Azaria). This leads inevitably to a sequence where Homer tries to make things right by having exotic drinks with Mr. Nakamura in a Japanese bar.

This is where the fun starts, in a classic "Simpsons" trip-out scene. As the two stumble home in a drunken stupor, characters from "Spirited Away" like No-Face pop up around them. School bus driver Otto (Harry Shearer) rolls up as the Cat Bus from "My Neighbor Totoro" and Chief Wiggum (again, Hank Azaria) steps off, having been turned into a pig like Chihiro's gluttonous parents in "Spirited Away."

Other references include Patty and Selma flying by dressed as witches from "Kiki's Delivery Service" and the Kwik E Mart springing to life and walking off on legs like the fortress in "Howl's Moving Castle." Honestly, it's genuinely impressive how many references the animators manage to fit into a mere two minutes of the "Simpsons" episode.

Still, with who knows how many seasons to come for the animated juggernaut, there are still untold parodies and homages for the crew behind "The Simpsons" to tap into for future material. Either way, this is a fantastic tribute to Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.