Studio Ghibli Films

For discussions covering more than one Toho film or show that span across more than one “era.”
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Rody
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Studio Ghibli Films

Postby Rody » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:21 am

Lately, I've been rekindling an interest in animated films. This, coupled with a boost of encouragement from Nickelodeon's Avatar series, has led to a growing curiosity about anime - and the Studio Ghibli films look like a good place to start.

That said, which Studio Ghibli films should I begin with? Which do you consider to be the best in overall quality, or best for a "anime amateur" like myself to begin with?

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Re: Studio Ghibli Films

Postby DeadpoolsbetterThanU » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:10 am

Spirited Away is probably the best one they've done. It's amazing, incredibly imaginative, and the animation is astounding.
My Neighbor Totoro is my favorite. Overall, I don't think it's as good, but it's still amazing and cute.

I suggest you start with one of those.

Then of course if you'd prefer more adult themes and violence I suggest Castle Of Cagliostro, a part of the Lupin III series.
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Re: Studio Ghibli Films

Postby Rody » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:50 am

I have seen Spirited Away. It was very interesting - but strange. I wasn't sure what to make of it.

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Re: Studio Ghibli Films

Postby DeadpoolsbetterThanU » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:27 am

I also forgot Ponyo or Secret World Of Arrietty. If you haven't seen them, they aren't as good as most others, but they are good for children and 'anime amateurs'.

Whispers Of The Heart is a great movie, but it has no fantasy/adventurous nature that the other Ghibli films have. It is however a heartwarming story with great animation.
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Re: Studio Ghibli Films

Postby Rody » Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:09 pm

How would you recommend I watch these films: dubbed or subbed?

I saw Spirited Away dubbed, and it was pretty good; but I don't know if that's the standard or the exception.

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Re: Studio Ghibli Films

Postby G-Matt » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:43 am

I've seen nearly all the major Ghibli movies now. In my opinion, the best ones are Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (technically not a Ghibli movie because it was made before the studio was created), Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Whisper of the Heart, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle. They all feature great stories, lovable characters, brilliant animation and nice music. Also, I would suggest to see the original Japanese language versions, since I think that's the best way.
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Re: Studio Ghibli Films

Postby Legionmaster » Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:13 am

A note: If you get around to watching Howl's Moving Castle, also watch it dubbed. Because Billy Crystal is the man.
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Re: Studio Ghibli Films

Postby DeadpoolsbetterThanU » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:45 am

Rody wrote:How would you recommend I watch these films: dubbed or subbed?

I saw Spirited Away dubbed, and it was pretty good; but I don't know if that's the standard or the exception.

I don't really think it matters. I've never seen one just subtitled, so they're really good with dubbed.
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Re: Studio Ghibli Films

Postby Megaton17 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:29 am

My favorite is Princess Mononoke, hands down. A close second is Tales of Earthsea.

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Re: Studio Ghibli Films

Postby Rody » Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:22 pm

I checked out & watched three films from my library: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, and Grave of the Fireflies. Here are my thoughts.

Nausicaa had very interesting sci-fi/fantasy story that I found clever and fun, although at times it left me confused. The characters were fairly simple, but likeable (except for that Tolmekian officer; he annoyed me). To top it off, the animation was very good. I wouldn't call this film great, but I would certainly recommend it to anyone who likes animated films.
7/10.

Totoro was kind of a surprise for me - this is probably the first movie I've seen that literally had no plot. :lol: That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. It felt more like a presentation of real-life activities and occurrences, which I found intriguing. It was a cute movie, but it's probably best appreciated by children of age 8 & under.
5/10.

Grave of the Fireflies was my favorite of the three - but it was such a sad and touching movie. The story and the characters were rather simple, but the emotions are conveyed painfully well. I recommend seeing this movie, but be warned that it's a tear-jerker.
8/10.

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Re: Studio Ghibli Films

Postby DeadpoolsbetterThanU » Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:15 pm

^Never heard of Grave Of Fireflies. Thanks for bringing it up!
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Re: Studio Ghibli Films

Postby Terrier » Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:50 pm

I haven't seen them all, but JesuOtaku from ThatGuyWithTheGlasses has been doing a retrospective (As of now unfinished) about all the films from the company (And the ones made before like Nausicaa), but be careful because they may have major spoilers: http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videol ... jospecials

I think you will find the 'Grave of the Fireflies' video interesting if you aren't familiar with its context (It isn't what many assume it is).

One that I haven't seen yet but looks very interesting and unique is 'Porco Rosso'. 'Princess Mononoke' is my facourite so far.

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Re: Studio Ghibli Films

Postby Rody » Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:06 pm

Princess Mononoke - of the few Ghibli films I have seen so far, this is probably my favorite. It's an action-packed fantasy epic with a style vaguely reminiscent of Nausicaa, but definitely it's own original story. While watching it, I couldn't help but make comparisons to more recent films like Ferngully and James Cameron's AVATAR, but although they share similar ideas & themes, I believe Princess Mononoke pulls them off more gracefully than the American films, if not flawlessly.

First off, I must say that the art and animation in this film is truly magnificent. I can't say much else other than "Wow!" when watching this movie; it's downright beautiful.

Moving on, the story is somewhat familiar in its basics: strange being comes to hero's little town, hero must go on quest to find truth, meets new friends & enemies, and ultimately becomes deciding factor in the "fate of the world". One could easily compare it to AVATAR, Lord of the Rings, or other such stories, but I don't think Mononoke is as derivative of a certain previous story as it is merely using established framework for the plot. However, the story does suffer from too much going on. As we follow the hero Ashitaka's journey, we see various environments and conflicts, but the fast pace of the movie means we don't get to stay in one place for long. Even with a nearly two-hour run-time, I feel the movie skirted over several elements and aspects that needed explanation. Ashitaka's home village is completely forgotten after he heads off; does he ever intend to return? What was the significance of his sister's jewel blade, and of his passing it on to the princess? Perhaps these are minor points, but if the crew went to the trouble of adding them, it would be nice if they were fleshed out better.
A good story needs good characters, and film delivers on this satisfactorily. I found all the characters to be believable and relatable, although most weren't as fleshed out as they possibly could have been. In particular, I have criticisms of the handling of Princess Mononoke, or San, herself. Despite the film's title, San seems to be a secondary character. It is Ashitaka who takes center stage. San's character and history is elaborated upon at certain points of the movie, and she does play her part more than once, but she doesn't seem as central to the plot as I expected.

Alright, now for discussion of the themes. As I said before, the strong "man vs. nature" theme reminded me of the American films Ferngully and AVATAR. However, I commend Mononoke's method of treating this film, and I consider this its strongest aspect. With the aforementioned American films, the sides are portrayed as pretty black-and-white; AVATAR, in particular, seemed to be calling out "Mother nature good! White man BAD!" (my apologies if that sounded rude) Ferngully and AVATAR seemed to be focusing on heavy promotion of the environment and discouragement of modern technology, but Princess Mononoke is more about the balance between the various forces of man and nature, and the necessity of co-existence. There is no true good or evil side here; rather, the different sides do not understand each other, and instead of working to find a common ground, they have grown to fear & hate each other, and are stuck constantly fighting. Both sides have flaws in this case; granted, mankind still looks more guilty than the "spirit tribes", with their mining the forest for metals & hunting of the gods themselves, but the guilt does run both ways. Just look at Moro the wolf, or San herself, who lust for killing madame Eboshi of the iron factories; or the boar tribes, who have grown "small and stupid", and now wish only to exterminate the humans or die trying. Both sides are flagrantly disrespecting the forces of life and death in their non-stop conflicts, and as a result of the chaos, a disaster is unleashed which nearly annihilates everything and everyone. It is only when differences are put aside and they unite - represented by the princess, the priest, and Ashitaka as the middleman - that disaster is averted and peace is restored. Although I believe the climax occurred a little too quickly, this scene is nonetheless effective.

Oh, the soundtrack is pretty good too. I had mixed feelings towards Joe Hisaishi's work on Nausicaa, but I did like his more placid, melodious pieces. For Mononoke, Hisaishi focuses on that gentler style for nearly the entire soundtrack, and I think that was a good choice.

Ultimately, Princess Mononoke is a fresh take on an old theme, and although it isn't flawless, it is a valiant effort that should be rewarded.

8/10.

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Re: Hayao Miyazaki & Studio Ghibli Thread

Postby Rody » Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:06 pm

Counting Nausicaa, I have seen half a dozen Ghibli films so far, the other five being My Neighbor Totoro, Grave of the Fireflies, Princess Mononoke, Spirited away, and Howl's Moving Castle; all of which I consider to be good, if not great, movies.

First off, I praise Ghibli for its excellent animation. I like the fact that nearly everything seems to be animated via traditional methods, and comes out very fluidly and beautifully. Mononoke and Howl in particular had sequences which left me gaping and thinking, "WOW!!", at the vivid & realistic colors presented.

The stories for the movies are also well done - however, I feel that they often contain one or more plot holes which can be distracting. Nausicaa's plot, for example, was very hard to follow at times, and it can be a challenge to figure out how everything ties together. Howl's Moving Castle had too many conflicts going on, and ultimately most of them were pushed aside and conveniently resolved at the very end. Actually, Nausicaa and Mononoke also seemed to resolve their conflicts rather quickly in their climax's.
Still, the characters are always well presented, relatable, and likeable, which is an impressive feat for a studio to consistently pull off, IMO (although the heroes and heroines between films tend to look a lot alike). I also like the level of detail present in the films, not only in the artwork, but in little quirks of nature or action by the characters, such as Chihiro adjusting her shoe in Spirited away, or the little dog rolling over to right himself in Howl.

What I like most of all about Studio Ghibli films is that, whenever I watch one, I get the impression that the studio did their best effort in producing the movie. It's a real joy to watch these movies in spite of possibly present flaws, because the movies manage to resolve them or at least avoid them in a graceful manner.

I intend to see more of Studio Ghibli's films when I can. They are certainly worth seeing.

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Re: Hayao Miyazaki & Studio Ghibli Thread

Postby o.supreme » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:09 pm

I had a thread for these in Toho general (because they are distributed bu Toho).... but oh well. Princess Mononoke will always be my favorite. I'm so glad I got to see it in its limited US theater run in 1999. If I wasn't married or had kids I probably wouldn't be as familiar with the other films but the wife & kids enjoy them. There is very little anime that can entertain both small children & adults at the same time. Miyazaki Is to me like Japan's Disney in more ways than one. A bit overhyped at times, certainly not my favorite, but I do recognize the art and accomplishments for what they are. My wife's favorite is Howl's Moving Castle, and the kids love Ponyo.

Currently we own on DVD :

Naussica
Castle in the Sky
Whisper of the Heart
The Cat Returns
Howl's Moving Castle
Ponyo
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Re: Hayao Miyazaki & Studio Ghibli Thread

Postby JAGzilla » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:10 pm

I've seen Ponyo. It was... I don't know what the hell it was. Likable enough, but very strange. I don't watch much anime, though, so maybe it's just my inexperience. The animation and art style looked very nice, at any rate. I plan on seeing some of the other Ghibli movies one of these days. I've heard My Neighbor Totoro is supposed to be really good.

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Re: Hayao Miyazaki & Studio Ghibli Thread

Postby Dust_pan » Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:27 pm

Admittedly, I'm not a fan of anime. But I love the Studio Ghibli movies I've seen, especially My Neighbor Totoro! Fine artwork, animation, detail, characters, everything! I've only seen a handful of them (Mostly the whimsical fantasy ones) but I would like to see them all!
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Re: Hayao Miyazaki & Studio Ghibli Thread

Postby Rody » Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:12 pm

Personally, I think My Neighbor Totoro is the weakest of the Ghibli films I've seen; it's the only movie I've seen which I can honestly has almost no plot.
However, in this case it's not such a bad thing. The film plays out more like real-life events taking place, and that sort of adds to the surreal atmosphere of the film. It's certainly not your standard film, or even animated film, I'd say; but it's charmingly good in it's own way.

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Re: Hayao Miyazaki & Studio Ghibli Thread

Postby Dust_pan » Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:49 pm

I haven't seen a lot of the movies. I'm sure if I saw all or most of the Ghibli films, I would have a different favorite.

But My Neighbor Totoro is my kind of movie. I've no problem with the near lack of plot (Though it does kinda kick up during the last quarter of the film). In fact, when they're done well, I love stories that focus on everyday life or random events like that. And I love the movie's simple characters, artwork, whimsy, and atmosphere. The only thing that slightly disappoints me is that there aren't as many ghost/youkai scenes as I would have liked. But that's just a very minor bit.
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Re: Studio Ghibli Films

Postby Arbok » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:04 pm

Terrier wrote:One that I haven't seen yet but looks very interesting and unique is 'Porco Rosso'.


Would highly suggest giving Porco Rosso a chance. Unique and wonderful film, and has a pretty stellar dub as well if you are into that.
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