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Archive for the 'Studio Ghibli' Category

Omohide Poroporo (Only Yesterday) Review

Omohide Poroporo (おもひでぽろぽろ) was Isao Takahata's second feature film at Ghibli, released in 1991, three years after Grave of the Fireflies.  The official translation is "Only Yesterday", but a somewhat literal translation of the title would be more like "Memories trickling down" (though the phrasing of the title is quite hard to represent in a sensible English sentence).  Omohide is the.... Read more

3 responses so far

Kiki’s Delivery Service Review

A mere one year after the release of Totoro, Miyazaki returned with his next film, Kiki's Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便) (in 1989).  Miyazaki had told epic, adventurous stories in his first two outings, then had settled down a bit for the gentler Totoro.  Kiki continues the more personal tone taken with Totoro, but this time incorporating more of the vivid scenes of flight and adventure that characterized the early Ghibli films.  While Totoro revolved around childhood, Kiki clearly focuses .... Read more

6 responses so far

My Neighbor Totoro Review

As mentioned in my review of Grave of the Fireflies, that film and My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ) were released together as a double feature in theatres in 1988.  The merchandise from Totoro produced enough revenue to keep the studio afloat, and Totoro eventually became a well-known children's icon in Japan the same way that some of the most iconic Disney characters have become in the West.  In 2008, 20 years after Totoro first hit theatres, it was still the 2nd highest selling anime DVD in Japan, easily topping nearly all current anime released that year.  The people love Totoro, and so do I....... Read more

One response so far

Grave of the Fireflies Review

Grave of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓) was released in 1988 as a double feature with Miyazaki's Tonari no Totoro. According to Nausicaa.net, this was because Totoro was seen as an investment risk, so it was paired with Grave, which is based on a well-known autobiographical novel and would have been seen as having educational value.  I personally cannot imagine a pairing that would be worse than Grave and Totoro. This is not because I find either film to be "unworthy" - to the contrary, these are both five-star films that I love very much.    However, the light-hearted tone..... Read more

3 responses so far

Laputa: USA Soundtrack Review

The original Laputa had about 30-35 minutes of score for its length of around two hours.  One of the things which stuck most in my mind when I first watched the film was the silence that was so prevalent throughout, including dramatic sequences that in Hollywood films would have exploited with plenty of bombastic music.  When Laputa was brought over for release in America, it was decided that the silence might make American viewers uncomfortable.  Some might disagree, but in the end, the result was commissioning Joe Hisaishi to rescore the entire film, bringing the runtime up to about an hour of music.  There is a potential here for an endless debate about the...... Read more

10 responses so far

Laputa: Castle in the Sky Review

Laputa was the first official film created by the newly formed company called Studio Ghibli after their success with Nausicaa, and it is an adventure story in every sense of the term.  It is lighter in tone than Nausicaa, doesn't approach the complexity of Miyazaki's greatest works, and instead has a youthful charm and pervasive innocence that is hard to dislike.  Even though Miyazaki is still refining his directorial techniques with Laputa, we can still see the imaginative......

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2 responses so far

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Review

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (風の谷のナウシカ) is the first film officially recognized as a Ghibli production, despite the fact that the film was created before the official existence of the Studio itself.  Instead, a small studio called TopCraft was brought under Miyazaki's supervision for the project.  After the success of the film, Miyazaki, producer Toshio Suzuki and fellow director Isao Takahata formed a new company called Studio Ghibli, bringing over much of the talent from TopCraft as employees......

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6 responses so far

The Cat Returns Soundtrack Review

You can listen to some low-quality clips from the score in this montage:

(The clips are from the following tracks, in order: Neko to Ohanashi, Nekoou no Gyoretsu, Kaereta Watashi Kaeretanda, Youkoso Neko no Jimusho He)

Yuuji Nomi, who delivered a fantastic score for Whisper of the Heart, was brought back for this spiritual spinoff film, The Cat Returns.  Unfortunately, these are the only two feature films he has worked on, which is quite a shame.  Although …

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4 responses so far

The Cat Returns Review

The Cat Returns is a film by Studio Ghibli released in 2002.  It is mildly related to Whisper of the Heart, which I reviewed previously (and which is my personal favourite film), although not a sequel of any kind.  In Whisper, the main character is inspired by a statuette (a cat called the Baron) to write a fantasy story about it - you can think of Cat Returns as being a possible story that she could have written.  So if you found this film through it's association with Whisper and are expecting to see Shizuku and Seiji, well, you won't find them.  What you'll find is a short and sweet fantasy story with endearing characters and a wonderful sense of imagination.  It isn't one of the best Ghibli films, but it is enjoyable for what it is. Read more

5 responses so far

Whisper of the Heart Review (Mimi o Sumaseba)

Whisper of the Heart is a quiet and charming film which happens to be my favourite film, animated or not - a position its held ever since I first saw it as a young teenager.  Years later, having become a jaded unviersity engineering student, a quick revisit to this delightful story never fails to bring back that shiny eyed enthusiastic adolescent within me.  Whisper is a film about all the great things about life succinctly rolled into one sweet package shown from the perspective a young girl at the age where she truly begins to experience them for the first time.  Friendships, family, dreams, ambitions - it's the ..... Read more

14 responses so far

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