7 Things I Love About Studio Ghibli

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Studio Ghibli’s last movie comes out Friday 10th, so I’ve been feeling pretty emotional about it recently. I flail about Ghibli a lot, as many people know — and I have a suspicious amount of Totoro merchandise stored up in my bedroom! I’ve been watching them ever since I lived in Japan when I was younger, and I’m actually pretty proud of how many I’ve watched…I’ve only got When Marnie Was There left to watch before I complete them. 🙂

But it’s the last movie before their hiatus, and I HAVE NO IDEA HOW I’M GOING TO COPE. By crying in the cinema, probably. In order to sort of commemorate that, I decided to tell you all why I love Ghibli movies!

1. Beautiful animation

Literally, it’s like Hayao Miyazaki just TRIES to make animation difficult for himself. There’s so much beautiful scenery and art. There aren’t many animated movies as beautiful as Ghibli ones. A lot of studios have moved into computer graphics, so it’s awesome to go back to a more traditional style that we all recognise from Ghibli.

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2. Strong female characters!

I was just going to put ‘strong characters’ here, but to be honest lots of movies suck at having any female characters, so. (I don’t want to generalise too much about movies altogether, and it’s getting better, but yeah.) But I love that Ghibli movies have well-rounded female characters — not just the ‘strong’ femme fatale. Which is a totally fine character trait, but I don’t want all girls to be that because NOT ALL GIRLS ARE. There’s headstrong girls! Shy girls! Writerly girls! Selfish girls! Villainous girls! YAY. (Although Ghibli isn’t the pinnacle of all diversity ever and stuff. Before I get into an argument.)

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3. Awesome soundtracks

Mostly these are composed by the legend that is Joe Hisaishi — the more classical ones, like Princess Mononoke, My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited — but there’s also gems like From Up ON Poppy Hill. WHICH HAS JAZZY CLARINET and to be honest is just a really nostalgic film altogether. I just…really, really like Ghibli soundtracks.

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4. There’s so much variety

I mean, I think a lot of people do think of Spirited Away as embodying Ghibli films, but Ghibli films cover so many different genres: epic fantasy, high school love story, cute children’s movie… There are meaningful movies and silly movies and nostalgic movies. Every mood can be satisfied. In my opinion, there’s one for everyone. 😛

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5. Hurrah for non-patronising childrens’ movies

You can watch Totoro with your 8 year old cousin and both enjoy it and not have to worry that it’s too inappropriate or whatever. I STILL LOVE TOTORO. And The Cat Returns. (Baron is me.) And… yeah. You get the idea.

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6. Hurrah for movies without romance

Sometimes I just don’t want to watch a movie with romance, guys. IT ISN’T THAT DIFFICULT. Although it actually is quite difficult. So it’s great to just be able to pull out a movie and know I’m getting an awesome adventure! (There are romantic movies. Whisper of the Heart is one of my favourites. But anyway.)

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7. Hayao Miyazaki is a Very Cool Guy

I’ve just been watching a documentary about Ghibli called Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, and IT’S SUPER COOL. I mean, I realise that Hayao Miyazaki hasn’t directed all Ghibli films, but he’s probably the face of the studio and he does seem to be the driving force. He’s also talked about anime culture and how directors aren’t observing human behaviour. I think there’s a lot of meaning in his films and Ghibli films in general. I cried at the end of The Wind Rises. IT’S JUST. Ack. So beautiful and sad. (I almost put the Anime is Trash gif here, but I looked it up and that’s just a mistranslation. MIYAZAKI NEVER SAID IT.)

I’m currently in exam week, so if I’m not replying as usual that’s the reason! I hope you’re all having a good day, and I’ll probably return Friday flailing about When Marnie Was There. 😛

do you like studio ghibli? which are your favourite movies? do you know of any similar films?

December Favourites! Bookish Bingo!

december favourites

Yup, it’s that time again! This month I’ve got a bumper crop. My cat pillow somehow snuck in the picture there too.

1. Red Rising by Pierce Brown Post-book high? Nah, I don’t think so. Okay, maybe. But I bought this from Waterstones a few days ago (hence the half price sticker) and OH MY GOSH IT WAS AWESOME.

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It fixed almost everything wrong with The Maze Runner: bad writing style, bad romance (*cue music*), bad world-building. Darrow was kind of a Gary Stu, but I’m a sucker for the underdogs who have to keep their secret. (Think Throne of Glass, Curse Workers, Merlin.) (Gosh, I’ve used so many brackets already and we’ve only got to one out of nine.)

2. After Eights I love these things. You know, the mint thins? Yeah, those. I don’t understand people who don’t like mint chocolate.

3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Am I ever going to get over this book? Probably not. At least, not in the near future. But it’s CARRY ON SIMON GUYS IT’S COMING! (I discovered this in the dressing room at the Royal Albert Hall. Torture ensued.) I’m re-reading it in celebration of the news and to fuel my secret Simon Snow fanfiction

4. Totoro plushie As given to me be a friend, because they sold these at our school fair. (!!) I love my little Totoro so much ❤

5. Belphegor’s Prime If you missed my flailing over this beautiful number then I’ll tell you again: THAT IS ONE AWESOME BIT OF MATHS.

6. Whisper of the Heart I have a long-standing love affair with Studio Ghibli movies, and this one is no exception. It’s basically the story of my life – introverted reader with no fashion sense secretly writes a book – except that I’m not in love, obviously. But I like the romance, all the same. It’s not because Shizuku is pretty; she has the same conventional hairstyle and clothes as half the other girls in her class. It’s because of who she is. And it includes the Baron, inspiration for the later film The Cat Returns and all-round badass statue.

7. Winter Town by Stephen Emond This is one cute ball of fluff, I’m telling you, though it has some serious elements too. Again, I could really relate to the main character – STORY OF MY LIFE – and the comics were an awesome touch.

8. The Spirited Away soundtrack I don’t know how I managed to fall in love with a soundtrack, but I did. This is the time when I wish I’d kept at the piano, because I’m finding Chihiro’s Waltz atrociously hard to play. My favourite track of all is probably The Dragon Boy, because Haku. And brass. I just really like brass in music, okay? Says she who plays a wind instrument

9. Solitaire by Alice Oseman I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy this, but I did. For some reason, I thought Michael Holden was going to be the pretentious idiot who introduced Tori to Solitaire, but he wasn’t. He was awesome. My main qualm was that it was over too quick. 😦 I think need to read more slowly. (Plus, go teen writers!)

Bookish Bingo December

I’ve also got Holiday Bookish Bingo to round up, it seems! It’s hosted by Great Imaginations, and the next round is available for sign-ups if you’re interested. (I already have.) You may notice that my green ticks are rather few and far-between this time compared to the other months, and that#’s because…well…I kind of forgot about it. Oops.

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But the books I read that managed to fit the terms this month were:

Creature on cover: Sisters Red by Jackson Pierce. The cover was beautiful, but the book was a bit eh.
Set on Halloween: Unrest by Michelle Harrison
Mystery: Cuckoo Song by Francis Hardinge. Is this mystery? I don’t know. A lot of books have mystery in them. Maybe Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant would have been a better choice, but it was a worse book so #WHATEVER I’M A REBEL

And that, my friends, concludes my little December round-up. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have The Bane Chronicles to begin reading…

Bookish Bingo, Chips, and NaNo Music

Bookish Bingo

Aggh, I’m so sorry for leaving this as long as I have. I’m participating in Bookish Bingo which is by Great Imaginations. I think this is the first real community book thing that I’ve done. Plus, if you stick around to the end of the post, I’m giving a general update on life (i.e. food), NaNo, and my noveling music.

The Bookish Part
So, the books I ticked off from holiday bingo in October were:
Reread: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Green cover: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Romance: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (I feel kind of embarrassed. But it was still fun.)
“Ice,” “Snow,” or “Frost,” in the title: The Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill (I’m still partway through this one, but I’m hoping that I do actually finish it.)
Black cover: The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting by Holly Bourne
Set during Christmastime: My True Love Gave to Me, edited by Stephanie Perkins
A book that was a gift: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, as seen in my October favourites. It was a birthday present from a friend. And OHMIGOSH IT WAS AWESOME
Orange cover: Castle in the Air by Dianna Wynne Jones. At least, the edition I read had an orange cover.
Fall Autumn or Winter release: Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Steampunk: House of Many Ways by Dianna Wynne Jones. (Again.) Does this count as steampunk? I don’t know many steampunk novels, so I’m going with yes.

The Food Part
And it’s an extremely short (but delicious) part. I go to Girl Guides every Monday evening (it’s not like you think it is; it’s cool) and, for some reason we went down to the chip shop and got bought an entire bag of chips. Each. I hadn’t had real chips in such a long time, and my confusion over the Monday opening was overtaken by that delicious…golden…crispy…soggy with vinegar…salty…mmmm

The ‘How’s NaNoWriMo going?’ Part
It’s going okay. I’m ahead of my daily goal at the moment. I have an actual plot now. Some of the songs inspiring me are:

I. Love. Studio. Ghibli.

(Apologies for this slight mess of a post. I have English homework to do. *cries*)

The Genius of Studio Ghibli

“I’ve become sceptical of the unwritten rule that just because a boy and a girl appear in the same feature, romance must ensue. Rather, I want to portray a slightly different relationship, one where the two mutually inspire each other to live – if I’m able to, then perhaps I’ll be closer to portraying to a true expression of love.”

– Hayao Miyazaki

Thank you, someone, for understanding that romance isn’t everything. The girl doesn’t always have to kiss the boy at the end. There are other ways in which people love.

Although there are many Studio Ghibli films I could pick on here to give you an example – Hayao Miyazaki, whom I quoted above, co-founded the company – I am going to pick on Spirited Away. Because I love this film. It’s a masterpiece.SpiritedAway1

I recently re-watched it, and whilst I liked it before, this time I fell in love. If it were a book, I would be crying over the beauty of the writing. The storyline. The characters. The mystery and the questions and the ideas. Chihiro’s relationship with Haku. It’s beautiful, despite their differences. It’s stunning. It’s heartbreaking. It’s inspiring.

I couldn’t find you enough superlatives to describe how I feel about this film. For me, it is very, very close to perfection. It’s not something you fangirl over. It’s something you bow down to in your own insignificance. It’s something you stand in awe of. As I said before, it’s a masterpiece.

Chihiro and Haku

Now, when I sat down at the computer this morning I didn’t really intend to write what it seems I have written. I was attempting to write something profound and maybe a little ranty about romance in films and books. However, the keyboard was simply adamant not to take me there, so instead you have 200 words detailing the amazingness of Spirited Away. It won’t be amazing for everyone, but it was amazing for me.

Do you have a book, film, song or something else that you think is really, really, inspiring? And…does your keyboard ever take you places you don’t intend to go?