This is just a quick post to introduce a blogging project my husband Dan and I are going to be doing over the next few months. One of our favourite blogs, Jaysen Headley Writes, has been doing a Vault Disney project for a while and is currently doing one for Pixar, where he watches every film from Pixar and writes about them. Dan thought it would be fun to do our own project for Studio Ghibli, because we are both huge fans of the films – from Grave of the Fireflies to the more well-known Spirited Away.
I first started watching anime when a friend recommended Neon Genesis Evangelion – I must have been in my late teens. This was my introduction into the artistry and imagination of anime as a whole, and since then, I have watched as much as I can. My favourites from Studio Ghibli have to be Howl’s Moving Castle (based on the book by Diana Wynne Jones – the book is equally wonderful), and Kiki’s Delivery Service. I’ve also enjoyed films such as The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and my husband’s favourite series, Cowboy Bebop.
I’d like to explain too that anime, unlike western animation, isn’t necessarily geared towards children. Japanese animation has a long history of tackling subjects as diverse as the environment, to human relationships. Some of the films are breathtakingly beautiful too, with artwork that transports you to another world. The beauty of anime too, is that you appreciate the painstaking, time-consuming process it can take to produce a film. From lush landscapes to detailed cities, creatures, and characters, anime, at its best, does everything great storytelling does.
Studio Ghibli was formed in 1985, by three masters of anime, Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, and Toshio Suzuki. The studio has produced at least 25 films in the subsequent years, with the most recent being When Marnie Was There, which comes out on DVD in the UK in October. Miyazaki in particular is a world-acclaimed director and artist, with his Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro, and Howl’s Moving Castle doing well in the western market.
For this project, we’re beginning with Takahata’s and Miyazaki’s first films, developed before the studio was formed. This way, we can get a feel for how their storytelling and animation style has developed, and see the seeds of a new studio flowering. We’ll begin with The Little Norse Prince, Isao Takahata’s debut feature, and follow that with Miyazaki’s The Castle of Cagliostro, next week. Our thoughts on The Little Norse Prince will go up tomorrow – please feel free to subscribe to Dan’s blog Stray Dog Strut if this interests you! Dan’s introductory blog post does a more comprehensive job than mine, so do hop over to have a read.
“To be born means being compelled to choose an era, a place, a life. To exist here, now, means to lost the possibility of being countless other potential selves.. Yet once being born there is no turning back. And I think that’s exactly why the fantasy worlds of cartoon movies so strongly represent our hopes and yearnings. They illustrate a world of lost possibilities for us.” ― Hayao Miyazaki, Starting Point: 1979-1996