The following trailer by Matt Vince for an imaginary The Legend of Zelda animated film by Studio Ghibli is borderline torture (while being fantastic at the same time). Oh to dream for such a thing to happen. He created the trailer following the popularity of a few posters he produced last year that imagined such a film happening.
I don’t think there’s a movie I want to see this year more than The Red Turtle — a co-production between Studio Ghibli and Wild Bunch — and it annoys me to no end that there still doesn’t seem to be an official North American release date in sight (it opened in France during the summer, and in Japan this week). In the meantime, I just regularly re-watch the trailer.
Hot Topic has a surprising large amount of merch — t-shirts, hoodies, and more — based on properties from Ghibli movies (like the My Neighbor Totoro tee pictured in this post). Most of it is surprisingly cheap too. Found via my buddy Shane.
I really love “Cold in Yokohama,” a series of illustrations produced by Tokyo-based Mateusz Urbanowicz. As he explains on this page from his site (which also includes a 20-minute “making of” video), he was inspired by watching Ghibli’s From Up on Poppy Hill, wanting to recreate the Yokohama of that film, that no longer exists. Found via Tokyo Soup.
I don’t quite know why I’d never watched Only Yesterday – I’ve watched pretty much every Ghibli film, and I even thought I had seen it. I was reminded of it recently because they’re planning a new western release for it this year with new English voice acting (the film originally came out in 1991). I watched it with subtitles (which is how I watch any foreign film) and was completely entranced and delighted from start to finish. I loved the way it jumps from present to past, and both periods were equally entertaining. The Ghibli films directed by Isao Takahata usually feel more “real” than Hayao Miyazaki’s output (more grounded, even when the setting is fantastical), and here, you could really appreciate the issues that the main character was dealing with (they all felt real and grounded to me, at least). It also made for a beautiful time slip trip back to Japan for me.
I don’t quite know why I’d never watched this movie before – I’ve watched pretty much every Ghibli film, and I thought I had seen this – but I was reminded of it recently because they’re planning a new western release for it with new English voice acting (the film originally came out in 1991). I watched it with subtitles (which is how I watch any foreign film), and was absolutely delighted to no end by it. I love how it jumps from present to past, and both periods are equally entertaining. Takahata’s movies are usually more “real” than Miyazaki’s output, and here, you can really appreciate the issues that the main character is dealing with (they all felt real and grounded to me, at least). It also made for a beautiful time slip trip back to Japan for me.
I finally got around to watching the second half of Ghibli’s Ronia series, produced by Hayao Miyazaki’s son, Goro Miyazaki. The entire series is made up of 26 episodes, and I had really loved the first half. As I wrote back then, there are times where the cel shaded CG can feel a bit, well, CG, but overall it’s a gorgeous series, with lovely vibrant colors that make it a joy to watch. It gets pretty intense – in the sense that it’s not all fun and games – and watching the final 8 episodes in a one go really made me feel like I was experiencing an interesting and emotional journey for the main character. I really hope that Ghibli produces more TV series like this.
So this is the last Ghibli film we’ve gotten, for now, and although on the surface it doesn’t feel as strong as The Wind Rises, I was completely drawn into its story and atmosphere, and enjoyed it just as much as From Up on Poppy Hill, if not more. The main character is one of the most interesting ones we’ve seen in a Ghibli film I feel (flawed in a way Miyazaki’s heroins don’t tend to be), and the Hokkaido countryside setting was so beautiful to take in. It also had a denouement I wasn’t expecting, and quite enjoyed. Definitely one of the best Ghibli films out there.
As I mentioned the other day, I’ve decided to catch up on recent Ghibli releases I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t watched. Following From Up on Poppy Hill, I watched The Wind Rises, which at the time was possibly going to be Miyazaki’s final film – something he’s said a few times though, and already it seems like he’s ready to work on a new project, although I’m not sure if it’s a film. Although not enjoyable or delightful in the way that most Ghibli films are – because of its subject matter and strong dramatic elements – it is indeed quite a good film, with some terrific imagery. If this is to be his cinematic swan song, then it’s a great one to leave on.
Even though I’ve always loved Ghibli films (and for the record, my favorite is still My Neighbor Totoro), I never got around to watching the last few films that came out of the studio, starting with From Up on Poppy Hill, and those that followed. I’m finally rectifying that, and started by watching Poppy Hill tonight, and wow, what a fantastic film – I’m ready to include it in m list of favorite Ghibli films. The story is a simple one, but what really drew me in was the atmosphere of the film, as well as the beautifully animated recreation of 60s Yokohama. It’s a true visual feast, and it just goes to show that you can achieve beauty in animation even if the core of the story that you’re telling is a grounded and fairly mundane and dramatic one. It’s really great to see how Goro (Hayao Miyazaki’s son) followed-up on his disappointing directorial debut of Tales from Earthsea, but I’ve already seen him do quite well with Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, the 26-episode TV series he directed, which I quite liked (and it reminds me that I need to get back to it, as I haven’t watched the second half of the series yet). Another realization I had while watching Poppy Hill is that I wonder if the sudden adult turn that Ghibli films took starting with this one (followed by The Wind Rises, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, and When Marnie Was There) didn’t contribute to the semi-closure of the studio – these are not kids movies, and so I’m assuming they didn’t draw as big an audience, and you obviously don’t have the merchandise opportunities as well. I just selfishly hope that Ghibli can get back on track, and continue producing beautifully animated films like this.