A Beloved Studio Ghibli Movie Inspired Marvel Studios Villain ‘Loki’

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Image via Marve/Disney Plus

The god of mischief finally has his own series, Loki, back in 2021 on Disney Plus which has met with great success. When it comes to inspiration for one of the show’s villains, the art department got a little help from a beloved Japanese franchise.

The monster that devours all things at the end of time, Alioth, was inspired by one of Studio Ghibli’s most famous films, Princess Mononoke.

In Marvels Loki: The Art of the Seriesvisual development artist Alexander Mandradjiev spoke about the process behind designing the terrifying Devourer of All Things.

“They wanted it to be smoke, but smoke isn’t just smoke, it had to look like there was something alive inside. So that sparked some ideas. After the first designs I did, Marvel Studios head of visual development, Ryan Meinerding, came up to me and said, “They want to see it have more of a creature form, but Alex, don’t of creature”. It should still feel random and nature-like, but it constantly twists and changes shape.

It was in this direction that Mandradjiev’s mind turned to the film Ghibli, full of demonic spirits and powers.

“I immediately thought of Princess Mononoke-the first boar demon and the vermiform effect with the many legs. I was wondering how I could get this across with clouds, and I did. I used that sentiment and image of Mononoke to capture a crouching god.

“I wanted this guy to feel like he was on the ground, on his fingers, but if he were to get up, it would just be a huge, weird thing that probably also dissolves into a much more massive cloud form. There were also flashes popping up, and something that might look like a face, hinting at simple eyes.

Boar Demon, Princess Mononoke
Image via Studio Ghibli

In Princess Mononoke, the attack of the boar demon is one of the scariest moments in the film, where the boar god Nago is corrupted by an iron bullet that lodges inside after being shot. Black slime seems to escape from it, transforming it into an enraged being, with multiple legs and red eyes.

Although Alioth is more smoke-like and much taller, you can definitely see how the characters share similarities, as primordial beings.

It’s uncertain whether we’ll see Alioth again after Loki and Sylvie manage to get past him to get to the Citadel and meet the One Who Remains. The last time we saw Sylvie she was still there, although after seeing pictures of the set of Loki season two, we know she managed to find her way, perhaps going through the beast once again.

The second season of Loki will debut on Disney Plus in the summer of 2023.

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