Fans spot similarities between Aquous R9 and Hayao Miyazaki classics.

It’s often the case that as individual types of technology advance, their physical form starts to become more universal. Broad consumer preferences start to solidify in terms of features and functions, and certain user interfaces emerge as the most intuitive and desirable, resulting in most new examples, even from different manufacturers, looking very similar to one another. Mobile phones are a great example. Back in the flip phone era, there was a lot of visual variety in terms of design. Now that touchscreen smartphones have become ubiquitous, pretty much every model on the market is a rectangular slab with a screen taking up its entire front side and a camera on the back.

But even in this sea of sameness, sometimes a smartphone catches people’s eyes, and that’s what’s going on in Japan, where Sharp has just revealed its new Aquous R9 smartphone.

There’s nothing all that outlandish in the design, but this is Japan, remember, where the anime films of Studio Ghibli deeply permeate the pop cultural atmosphere, and so almost as soon as photos of the Aquous R9 started circulating online, people started saying that the cream-colored model, when stood upright…

…looks like the kodama forest spirits from Princess Mononoke.

This wasn’t the only aesthetic connection between Sharp’s new phone and a Hayao Miyazaki-directed anime that people noticed, either, as the Aquos R9’s offset and differenly-sized lenses reminded others of the Robot Soldier from Laputa/Castle in the Sky.

It’s unclear if Sharp was intentionally aiming for a Ghibli-evocative appearance or if it’s just a happy coincidence, but the phone maker itself admitted that there’s a strong resemblance in a tweet sent from its official account.

“Following the reveal of our new phone yesterday, we’ve received many comments along the lines of ‘That’s the God Warrior, right?’ and ‘I thought I was seeing a kodama.’ We feel the same way.” [in a follow-up tweet, Sharp corrected itself, saying that it meant to say Laputa’s Robot Solider, not Nausicaa’s God Warrior]

Other online reactions to the phone’s design have included:

“Totally a kodama.”
“Even Sharp sees the resemblance.”
“Can it fire laser beams from the eye [like the Laputa Robot]?”
“I’ve never held this phone in my hand, but yet I somehow already feel an attachment to it. Cuteness is everything.”
“I want to use this phone while visiting Ghibli Park.”
“Since it looks so similar, Sharp and Ghibli should do an official collaboration.”

Considering how active the Ghibli merchandising department is, maybe an official kodama/Robot Soldier smartphone is something we’ll eventually see, especially since Sharp already has something that’s so close.

Source: Twitter/@SHARP_JP
Top image: Studio Ghibli
Insert images: Sharp, Studio Ghibli (1, 2)
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