Author Topic: Ghibli Poster Authentication Guide  (Read 514 times)

Offline LeonTP

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Ghibli Poster Authentication Guide
« on: June 23, 2024, 09:13:20 AM »


This will be my attempt at gathering and organizing information about the topic of identifying original Ghibli posters and distinguishing them from non original prints.

Its a very illusive topic because despite the many late night sessions of rabbit hole dives and endless auction listings Ive gone through Ive never found an easy method for spotting originals.

There are a few threads on the forum that are about the best resources I have come across, here they are:
https://www.allposterforum.com/index.php/topic,16327.msg252092.html#msg252092
https://www.allposterforum.com/index.php/topic,16241.msg252204.html#msg252204

To expand on this further we should start from the beginning. For those that dont know there have been a few big official reprints over the years which is the main hurdle for this endeavor.
To my knowledge the main ones would be the:
2001 Lawson reprints during Spirited Aways release
2015 - 2018? Ghibli Expo reprints, sometimes sold together in a black box
2022 Reprint series


From what I know there have also been reprints from rescreening's of these movies in Japan around the late 2000s but probably across decades now. The single packaged 2001 Lawsons and some of the Expo prints I have seen were a bit easier to identify given some alterations in text and symbols but the ones sold as sets from Lawson and the Expo black box are more faithful replications and at least the Expo box even uses the original titles printing plates much like the 2022 reprints from the Ghibli Park / Museum, with the exception of a few that had their plates lost. These are the ones that really throw a wrench in the wheel for everyone trying to hunt originals.
At least when it comes to B2 posters, as the only official reproduction of a B1 Ghibli poster I have stumbled upon so far is a Nausicša B1 supposedly from the Expo but which had the white border replaced with green for an easy tell. Of course the famous B1 Totoro is probably the most counterfeited of them all because of its value but beyond this the B1 originals seem somewhat safe for now.

In the coming weeks I will be receiving some poster auctions and contribute my findings here, hopefully with the help from you wonderful members we can gather and compare enough data to find a common conclusion for how all of us and future collectors can tackle this problem.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2024, 11:13:44 AM by LeonTP »

Offline LeonTP

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Re: Ghibli Poster Authentication Guide
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2024, 10:09:32 AM »
For reference, here is an example of Lawsons Single poster layout design vs the original design for Whispers of the Heart:




Quite easy, but remember, the sets usually sold with 12 pieces from Lawson are more like replicas. These come in a box with red text while the single posters come in one with green. I dont have conclusive evidence yet though I believe the 12 piece sets only consist of A type variants while the singles are of B type designs.
I believe my very first poster purchase might also be of a 12 set Lawson and worry others here might have also been burnt by these little buggers floating around as originals as they are over 20 years old by now and have probably fooled avid collectors and honest Japanese sellers alike given their age.

And here is an Expo B1 reprint of Nausicaa:



Im sure there has to be other B1s, hopefully also with easily differentiating aspects.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2024, 11:17:57 AM by LeonTP »

Offline Tob

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Re: Ghibli Poster Authentication Guide
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2024, 10:59:37 AM »
Lots of good information here, thanks very much Leon! I'm really interested to see your findings as your new arrivals start coming in.

I have B2s for the below - happy to take photos for comparison if it helps:
- Grave of the Fireflies - I suspect this is a reprint as condition is too perfect
- Totoro (bus stop style)- I suspect this is a reprint as condition is too perfect...in fact was this design even used as a B2 for the original release?
- Kiki's Delivery Service (both styles) - I think I got these before 2015
- Laputa (floating style and flaptor style) - I think I got these before 2015
- Nausicaa (glider style) - I think I got this before 2015
I may have a Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke lurking about too. 

It's a shame that the waters are so muddy with the B2s, so this thread could be a very valuable resource. I mainly collect the B1s for that reason, although it's really hard to find them for reasonable sums these days.

Offline LeonTP

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Re: Ghibli Poster Authentication Guide
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2024, 12:12:21 PM »
Lots of good information here, thanks very much Leon! I'm really interested to see your findings as your new arrivals start coming in.

I have B2s for the below - happy to take photos for comparison if it helps:
- Grave of the Fireflies - I suspect this is a reprint as condition is too perfect
- Totoro (bus stop style)- I suspect this is a reprint as condition is too perfect...in fact was this design even used as a B2 for the original release?
- Kiki's Delivery Service (both styles) - I think I got these before 2015
- Laputa (floating style and flaptor style) - I think I got these before 2015
- Nausicaa (glider style) - I think I got this before 2015
I may have a Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke lurking about too. 

It's a shame that the waters are so muddy with the B2s, so this thread could be a very valuable resource. I mainly collect the B1s for that reason, although it's really hard to find them for reasonable sums these days.
That would be most helpful Tob!
The real problem I feel is the lack of a guaranteed reference point, a poster we know for an absolute fact is from the release year and used for theatrical display. Id imagine the Ghibli office basement or some old Japanese Ghibli fanatic is sure to have the best resources for that but is unlikely to ever be our rescue.
Out of curiosity Im probably going to buy a couple 2022 reprints as well just to have a reference point for those. If we cant authenticate from the first, another option is to go backwards and rule out the later ones with anything concrete we can find. Most likely through very close examination of Eirin and small text print, paper consistency and colors.
It will take a while, maybe years. Probably enough time for my next Japan visit where maybe Ill find that old bloke in a dim, cramped store that has all the answers for us.

Until then its best to do like yourself and stick with the B1 posters. If only I had started buying a decade ago when they cost less than half of what they do now  faint2.gif

Online wormie

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Re: Ghibli Poster Authentication Guide
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2024, 05:25:51 PM »
This is a great effort! I have a small number of B2s. Nothing too special, but can try to take some phones as reference too.
Chengbo

Offline okiehawker

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Re: Ghibli Poster Authentication Guide
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2024, 12:18:39 AM »
A valiant effort! Okie

Offline Hicks77

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Re: Ghibli Poster Authentication Guide
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2024, 10:06:32 AM »
This was in the news here in Japan (not big news but still news).  The reprints are now being sold from various stores not just the Ghibli Museum store.
https://japantoday.com/category/entertainment/studio-ghibli-re-releasing-all-past-theatrical-posters-and-program-booklets

I will try and pick one up in the next little while as one of the stores is quite close to my workplace.

Offline LeonTP

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Re: Ghibli Poster Authentication Guide
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2024, 04:17:05 PM »
This was in the news here in Japan (not big news but still news).  The reprints are now being sold from various stores not just the Ghibli Museum store.
https://japantoday.com/category/entertainment/studio-ghibli-re-releasing-all-past-theatrical-posters-and-program-booklets

I will try and pick one up in the next little while as one of the stores is quite close to my workplace.
A very insightful and important update. Maybe we will see even more sold online now, also without the mention if it being from the museeum or park which helped a bit before. I was just thinking of purchasing a lot of 7 or more of these just for the hell of it but maybe you can save me from that splurge! Its not cheap to import these things for me.

Speaking of, the timing is great, I just got in my batch of poster purchases in today as well as a B2 poster portfolio which I ordered on different date, its like the planets aligned!
Ill be letting these flatten out a bit inside the folder before I analyze them closer later this week.

Just out of curiosity, does anyone think this was a good investment: https://zenplus.jp/en/clear-file-folder-plastic/p/hcube3z%3Aeeb00a71-7f10-4e39-b542-71af60af9345
Mostly wondering about how the Polypropylene and paper dividers are regarded here, I imagine I might be safest by replacing that paper divider with a Tyvek one instead, you would imagine its acid free since its meant for poster storage but I dont know how to tell personally.

Offline LeonTP

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Re: Ghibli Poster Authentication Guide
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2024, 04:53:11 PM »
This will be quite a bit so Ill have to chop things up.

First we start with Kiki, the one that started things for me. Originally purchasing an Ebay listing from Japan of a supposed 30 year old stored poster which I was always skeptical about given its great condition. Here it is side by side with a variant (teaser?) that I got in this week:




To the left is my first one of questionable original and right beside is what I assume is the teaser variant with minimal text on it. Sorry for the quality, it was quite hard capture these without blowing out the brighter parts, I had to play with the ISO a bit on my phone camera. Regardless its mostly just to compare colors.
I figured it may be interesting since the teaser variants have never been officially reprinted to my knowledge and probably arnt the most attractive to forge either. But I took note of only minor differences in terms of colors like Kikis dress being slightly bluer and skin tanned on the teaser compared to the others slightly more purple hued cloth and whiter skin:




Looking at the backs might reveal why because in terms of condition the back of the teaser is indeed starting to brown a bit compared to my other which is perhaps not minty white but close to it. A smell test also yields a more positive result for the teaser which is much more aged in smell. Even though Im a relative novice to posters Im quite familiar with vinyl record collecting and have lots of experience with the vintage smell of paper and cardboard all the way back to the 50s through that medium.



In general the paper feels quite similar however, in thickness and texture, both being somewhat glossy to the touch on both back and front. This is sort of a conundrum because besides the smell and backs browning / foxing Id expected the teaser to be thinner in feel which will become more evident with the other purchases in this bunch I got, considering this is one of the older Ghibli movies.

With closer inspection the plot thickens:




I thought the smoking gun to crack this particular case would be the Eirin mark which I never found very clear, although to be fair, this is one of the smaller ones Ive seen for old Ghibli film posters. To the left is again the first poster of mine behind acrylic and to the right the teaser under some thin polypropylene protective film. As soon as I saw the first posters blocky kanji inside the Eirin circle under my USB microscope I figured the reprint method just couldnt depict the symbols accurately enough and just filled in the holes making them almost completely solid blocks of black. But looking at the teaser variant I dont see much of any difference in this area, only the M at the bottom looks to have a cut at the top. The main oddity I found was the slightly moved placement of the circled C. Overall the teaser poster has about 3mm extra height at 729mm compared to our other candidate at 726mm which cuts off the image at the bottom a bit sooner. Perhaps this is why, or indicative of something else as well? My other posters also seem to vary a mm or two in size at times, is this within margin of error?




Sadly no bullseye this time. My assumption is still that my first poster is a reprint, but perhaps from the Lawson 2001 run which would still make the 30 year storage claim somewhat fit, since these were packaged in protective plastic and cardboard and seem to look quite minty still when sold online.
Or is it possible the teaser variant could also have had reprints for it? It might be that these variants were done later and for a purpose other than theatrical use even though they have a "not for sale" statement beside the Eirin.

Theres also the white Dolby variant of this poster which seem like a safer bet than the all black credit ones as these were also never reprinted officially to my knowledge. The only thing Ive heard about these is that one seller claimed to recall getting one as a bonus for purchasing the soundtrack at the time, if that still counts as an original poster Im have no qualification to answer but its unverified as of now as I know of another poster variants which indeed came with the soundtrack so perhaps it just a mistake in memory. But it might explain the lack of numbers in the Eirin mark for some of these.

Finally I also got this Kiki poster:



Which is another good reference point since these are unlikely to be faked Id imagine. Again the age test qualifies with the smell and back, although mine was not the best stored copy. But the paper thickness still illudes me. This could again be a poster made years after the movies release, more so this one than the supposed teaser variant anyway. Other Japanese poster experts will have to chime in to the papers commonly used during these times to help verify if this eliminates the possibility of its age authenticity or not. But thats all I have time for today.

Next Ill look at Princess Mononoke.

« Last Edit: July 07, 2024, 05:04:11 PM by LeonTP »

Offline Tob

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Re: Ghibli Poster Authentication Guide
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2024, 05:41:39 PM »
Very interesting, thanks for the detailed write up and photos! I'm curious to know if any other members have a Kiki's that differs in the detail you have shared. I'll have to try and find my copy (unfortunately it's not stored with my other B2s so finding it may take a while).

Offline LeonTP

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Re: Ghibli Poster Authentication Guide
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2024, 05:09:21 PM »
As mentioned Im experienced with record collecting, I can usually tell a 60s from a 70s to a modern repress at a mere glance. Not equivalent of course but its something none the less.
Thats why I felt quite good about my Mononoke which we will take a look at now, even though I dont have any other copy to compare it to and just a handful other Japanese film posters, this felt like a revelation and a true Aha! moment as I recognized how a thin poster paper truly feels.



It certainly has an age to it despite not being the oldest Ghibli film. Though its always hard to know how pristine these things can realistically look without being considered fake, it would help immensely to have one from optimal storage conditions just to know how the paper ages because theres only a little bit of browning on mine but the smell test checks out. Then theres the clear tri fold thats happened which might be a good indicator as Ive seen a lot of sold ones from our fellow BruceH at emovieposter with this type of light folding.



To reemphasize the thin nature of the paper you can see how much bleeds through the back in these photos, the left one facing mostly away from the window and the right facing straight towards the daylight. Ive heard this is no longer a reliable method of spotting originals from reprints or counterfeits but its something to consider none the less. I could see mainly the text shine through the back in the sales photos even when laid flat on the ground which I found encouraging.



Looking closer at the print, the text is decently clear and the kanji previously blocky on both my Kikis now has the holes in the characters, though the Eirin is larger here too. It would be really interesting to get one of the confirmed reprints and compare these areas to see if one can spot any differences. One of the previous Ghibli threads comparing 2 Proco Rosso posters showed a clear distinction here with blurrier vs sharper text at least.



Lastly I thought it was interesting to see the print of the colors up close too. While the dotted matrix holds true for most of the image some of the blues transitioning into the bold bottom kanji just have black dots in them while the stark reds of the characters are completely filled without dots mixed in, just the red color.
Something else I thought of was to weigh all of my posters just as another data reference, Ill see if I can get an accurate scale next week, then Ill also look closer at my Nausicaš poster.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2024, 05:10:30 PM by LeonTP »

Offline LeonTP

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Re: Ghibli Poster Authentication Guide
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2024, 04:38:51 PM »
On to Nausicaš which would be one of the oldest Ghiblis and I get similar vibes as with the Mononoke with thinner paper and decent amounts of aging signs.



Im not entirely sure if this one has tri fold marks on it or if its just wear as its one of the the most damaged and worn poster I got. The browning is also the most intense especially at the bottom portion of the back which Im guessing was exposed when stored away.



Very see-through but not quite as much as Mononoke.



Looking close at the Eirin and credits I dont find much of note without again having a direct comparison and the characters are decently big here which doesnt make for the best resolution test.

That said I always wondered why this poster image has two variants, this one without a border and the other with a white frame. Speaking of this movie probably has the most poster variants in general with these two plus 4 more variants of completely different art styles. Id like to get a couple more someday.

Offline LeonTP

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Re: Ghibli Poster Authentication Guide
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2024, 05:00:42 PM »
Bonus round, I also got From Up on Poppy Hill which I might not have included until I looked closer at it. Given this is a newer film I thought its probably hopeless in finding differences between a 2011 poster and current day reprint but I got this one from the same seller of Mononoke and Nausicaš which feels promising to me at least.






Now above you see the typical Eirin and stamp marks which might not say much until you realize how small these are. Especially if you look at the bottom two images, on the left showcasing the dts Dolby Digital logos with your visible dot matrix around it. But on the right image I zoomed in on the end of DOLBY where next to the Y you see that circled R mark somehow still visible among the comparatively huge printing dots. I suppose around the 2010s they started using printing methods different from the past because I have a hard time believing such detail was possibly achievable before then given the examples we looked at earlier in the thread and all others Ive seen online.

Also I did weight most of the posters and these are the findings:

Blue Kiki 59 -61g
Kiki Teaser 51g
Mononoke 39 - 41g
Nausicaš 45 - 47g
Poppy Hill 49 - 51g

The scale used is accurate within about a 2 gram window so this is the best I could do. And I skipped on the first Kiki because I couldnt be bothered taking it out of the frame a second time ;^) It should be like the other Kikis though between 50 - 60g but Ill have to look at it for real later on, who knows, it might be a good clue.

But that concludes my first foray into Ghibli poster collecting as its all I got this time. Hopefully with some more examples and comparisons the data will point to something concrete!