Blog Archives

The Wind Rises (2013)

(from , dir: )

The Wind Rises is Hayao Miyazaki’s first return to the director’s chair in five years (since Ponyo) and — if his statements in interviews are taken at face value — his final feature film in a career spanning six decades in Japanese animation. If that is indeed the case, it is in many ways a fitting swansong: it’s a layered, nuanced film that tells a story that is definitively Japanese yet universal, rooted in history yet filled with flights … (read more)

Comments Off on The Wind Rises (2013)

Studio Ghibli films on Blu-ray

For years to come, Studio Ghibli fans will no doubt remember 2013 fondly as a year that has brought two new releases from the great animation studio: Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises and Isao Takahata’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya. The last time this happened was 25 years ago when Miyazaki’s My Neighbour Totoro and Takahata’s Graves of the Fireflies were simultaneously released in Japanese theaters. So there is really no better time than now to revisit some of … (read more)

Comments Off on Studio Ghibli films on Blu-ray

Ponyo (2009)

(from , dir: )

It may be heresy to say, but quite frankly, Studio Ghibli’s last two outings have been major cause for concern. Howl’s Moving Castle and Tales of Earthsea (the latter directed by Miyazaki’s son Goro) were disappointments, but of more concern was that both suffered from similar issues. To say any Ghibli film suffers from issues let alone repeat them is like suggesting that Shakespeare should work on his characterization. With themes close to Miyazaki’s heart, it is easy to see … (read more)

Comments Off on Ponyo (2009)

Lupin the Third: Castle Of Cagliostro (1979)

(from , dir: )

Before commencing a period of activity that – from Nausicaa to the present – has so far given us a dozen or so of the greatest animated movies we’re ever likely to see, Hayao Miyazaki and his future Studio Ghibli colleagues completed this second animated feature in the Lupin III franchise.

A thrills and spills adventure movie with a touch of romance, dash of intrigue and liberal spread of action, Castle of Cagliostro stands as great an achievement in a … (read more)

Comments Off on Lupin the Third: Castle Of Cagliostro (1979)

Spirited Away (2001)

(from , dir: )

Can I just say I recently had the fortune to see this film for the fourth time, most recently in the new English dub by Disney, which it looks like they like they will be promoting much more than Princess Mononoke.

And yes, this is good thing.

Everything you may have heard about this movie is true (unless of course what you’ve heard that this movie is terrible and only deserves to be archived in the deepest darkest pits … (read more)

Comments Off on Spirited Away (2001)

Porco Rosso (1992)

(from , dir: )

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, is this yet another review that waxes lyrical about the genius of Hayao Miyazaki?
Well, guess what, you win a million dollars!
Well, you would if I had the money in the first place!

But how could I not? Porco Rosso is one of my favourite Miyazaki films and worth every damn cent you didn’t get from me. A spirited film that surprises and fills you with a sense of elation each time you … (read more)

Comments Off on Porco Rosso (1992)

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

(from , dir: )

Miyazaki’s first creatively controlled project is based on his own hugely successful manga series, which itself was produced to prove to financiers that the project was viable as an anime. All this tends to suggest Miyazaki could have got cold fusion to work if he put his mind to it.

Nausicaä combines traditional elements of high fantasy: a war, a prophecy and a princess with a Japanese post-apocalyptic wasteland: a world being inexorably consumed by a poisonous forest spread by … (read more)

Comments Off on Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

My Neighbour Totoro (1988)

(from , dir: )

My Neighbor Totoro is a deceptively simple tale. It is the story of a father and his two young daughters moving to the country and adventures the two girls, Mei and Satsuki, have with the forest spirits they find there.

This simplicity makes My Neighbor Totoro one of the purest examples of Myazaki and Studio Ghibli’s themes and preoccupations. There is the pleasure in discovery of the delights of rural life (Only Yesterday), the multifaceted life of children … (read more)

Comments Off on My Neighbour Totoro (1988)