Over the Christmas and New Year break I got the chance to watch a few Japanese Anime films. Not usually my kind of genre but some of these Studio Ghibli features are incredible. Hayao Miyazaki is the famous co-founder of Studio Ghibli and director of many of its films. I saw Spirited Away on TV a few years ago and thought it was so good that I bought myself the DVD. The style of animation is unlike anything I’ve seen before. I would describe it as a mix between Pokemon and the original Disney style. You get sucked in to the weird and wonderful world the characters live in and you believe the creatures exist in real life. In Spirited Away a girl called Chihiro gets lost in an abandoned theme park which at night tuns in to a land of strange spirits where she becomes trapped. In order to escape she must work for an evil witch who runs the bathhouse for the spirits. When released, the film became the most successful in Japanese history winning an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature 2002. Definitely the best animated film I’ve ever seen!
Over the festive season Film 4 screened a different Ghibli Film each night all broadcast in the original Japanese with English subtitles. It started with the latest release Ponyo. Telling the story of a human faced fish forming a friendship with a young boy after saving her. The relationship causes the fish to grow human limbs and is eventually adopted by the boys mother. My descriptions don’t give the film justice but I don’t want to give the plot away. If you get the chance these are a must see.
The other films I watched were Laputa, Totoro, Only Yesterday, The Cat Returns and Tales from Earthsea.