Steampunk is rooted in the maker philosophy. It rejects mass production and the smooth, factory-fresh minimalism of futurist design and instead embraces the one-of-a-kind, the handmade, the maximalist. And if you’ve ever watched a Studio Ghibli film—especially those helmed by Hayao Miyazaki—you know that this is the defining ethos of the studio. They’re famous for the level of craft that goes into their films; every cell is treated as an individual work of art, every detail is absolutely intentional, and every scene is bursting with the kind of intricate, lived-in realism that is anathema to budget-conscious animation productions. The studio is notorious (in both connotations of the word) for how hard its animators work to achieve the level of artistry that has set Ghibli apart from nearly every other big animation studio. Like a steampunk tinkerer, each of the studio’s animators is devoted to their craft to an obsessive degree.
With this philosophy tangibly present in every film, it’s no surprise that Studio Ghibli’s inaugural feature Laputa: Castle in the Sky is, per Jeff VanderMeer in The Steampunk Bible, “one of the first modern [s]teampunk classics.”