Some Studio Ghibli Tonight

Japan is getting ever closer! And we’re so excited.

One of the things we have tickets for is the Studio Ghibli Museum. Long ago and far away, my relationship with Studio Ghibli (and the amazing director Hayao Miyazaki) started when my family rented Howl’s Moving Castle from Blockbuster (that dates this story!). We watched it, and didn’t get it. But there was something about the movie I had loved – well, actually, there was a lot. The characters, the amazing animation and the oodles of creativity in every little piece.

So I watched it a couple more times. Finally, I turned on subtitles to catch the fast, and sometimes quiet, lines I couldn’t quite catch before. Now I got it. And I really LOVED it. It remains my favourite Ghibli movie to this day.

Studio Ghibli was one of the things I introduced Ed to – I believe I started with my favourite, Howl’s Moving Castle. We’ve gotten through a lot of classics, including Kiki’s Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky, and Nausicaa. But there are still some either I haven’t seen, or I haven’t gotten around to showing Ed – like Totoro and Princess Mononoke.

But, I told him, before we left I had to show him the Studio Ghibli movie that was so huge it even got big time America attention: Spirited Away.

Another masterpiece by Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away won the Best Animated Feature Film at the 75th Academy Awards, the only hand drawn and Japanese movie to do so. It’s also the most successful film in Japanese history, often ranked in ‘top 10s’ of animated films.

So Ed and I curled up to watch this classic.

Admittedly, it’s nowhere near my favourite Studio Ghibli film. I’d pretty much put it at the bottom of the list of what I’ve seen, though I’d watch it more easily than I’d watch Mononoke again (please do not show that one to children… it is very much proof animation does not equal kid friendly!).

It’s still a powerful tale, with major personal growth messages, a nod to his usual environmental messages, and it also interestingly has a hidden story about prostitution.

I also love the animation, this is definitely a sample of some of the studio’s finest animation work. It’s breath-takingly beautiful. My favourite parts are Haku’s dragon form and the landscapes – especially the ones in movement.

Ed also ended up saying it wasn’t his favourite of what he’s seen – but now he feels more ‘in’ with the Studio Ghibli conversation. He’s seen the soot sprites and heard references to No Face, but had no idea what they were on. Now, he finally gets them.

We wanted to make it an anime night and watch some other Anime (we’re big fans of One Piece and are currently also enjoying Fairy Tail, but we have a laundry list of shows to watch at least a little bit of before we go… and that we’ve always wanted to) but unfortunately Cruncy Roll kept crashing… so another day.

For now, cuddling up with dinner and some chocolate Guinness cake was a great way to take a break from planning and prepping our honeymoon.

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