12 Days II: Black goo everywhere

「もののけの」/「坂上 海」

「もののけの」/「坂上 海」

I like things like last.fm and MyAnimeList because after a long period of time, it lets you find interesting things in the trove of data it has collected about your consumption habits.

For instance, I watched my first Ghibli film, Princess Mononoke, on June 6, 2010.

Ghibli movies, much like Cowboy Bebop and a whole pile of other things, are in that category in my mind of things that tons and tons of people praise endlessly that I should probably eventually watch, but there’s nothing about them that really compels me to watch them other than the heaps of the aforementioned praise.

It took a simulwatch on an internet forum to get me to bother to take a look at these things. It turns out the simulwatch was a flop, but I stuck with it for a while longer anyway. So just what did I watch?

  • Princess Mononoke
  • Pom Poko
  • Grave of the Fireflies
  • Whisper of the Heart
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Ocean Waves
  • Only Yesterday
  • The Cat Returns
  • Porco Rosso
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service
  • Spirited Away
  • Tales from Earthsea

So what do I think of the crown jewel of Japanese animation? To be honest, I was expecting to be unimpressed, but there is some good stuff in here. I mean, yeah, Pom Poko was pretty awful and Howl’s and Earthsea were iffy, but those were kind of expected. And I mean, I didn’t like some movies as much as other people, but they were definitely still really good.

There are two in particular that really stood out to me. The first was Whisper of the Heart, which I think is the best Ghibli film I’ve watched so far. And actually, I’ve noticed that I really enjoyed the movies about normal people doing normal things way more than the fantastical adventures that others generally go for. Would like more in this vein. The other one was Porco Rosso, which I expected to be pretty dumb, because it’s about a friggin pig who’s a fighter pilot. But again, it’s because the post-WWI setting was done so well (and at all, really) that it was just so refreshing and interesting.

These movies were enjoyable, but I don’t know if I can say that they were amazing or blew me away. Certainly, they’re impressive from a technical standpoint, but the stories contained within them aren’t exactly the ones that I’m really excited about or speak to me. Maybe that’s for the best, because maybe if I liked them, no one else would. Or maybe I’m demanding too much complexity from the things I watch. I guess what I’m saying is that maybe these movies aren’t exactly for me.

And what do I still need to watch to complete the set?

  • Ponyo
  • My Neighbour Totoro
  • Castle in the Sky
  • My Neighbour the Yamadas

Based on my watching experience so far, I’m definitely looking forward to finishing this little project off eventually. Who knows, maybe I’ll finish it off before the end of the year and maybe I can find something that I’ll like as much as Whisper of the Heart.

4 thoughts on “12 Days II: Black goo everywhere

  1. Whisper of the Heart is amazing…it’s a movie that just makes me really happy and nostalgic. It might be my very favorite of the bunch, though I think the BEST is Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away.

    I think you’ll maybe enjoy the others, especially My Neighbor Totoro, which has many fantastical elements, but at it’s heart is just about two little girls. I’m also interested in what you’ll think of My Neighbor the Yamadas – I think it’s kind of forgotten, but to me it’s hilarious and wonderful.

    • Yeah, that’s pretty close to my impressions. Personally, I’m expecting to like Totoro, or at least hoping I do, because he’s friggin Totoro. And I heard Castle in the Sky is pretty well regarded too.

  2. Seen: Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro, Ponyo

    Ponyo is a bit iffy. I didn’t know what I was expecting, but most people would probably tell you that it’s like Little Mermaid, but with 6 year old kids instead of teens. Of course, I also watched the English dub, so that might have contributed to my general distaste.

    As for Totoro…maybe because it’s an older film, when I went back to re-watch it recently, it felt more like me watching an old season of Gundam. That is, I know the story is awesome, but need some effort to get over the graphics. Though, I admit drawing style for Ghibli hasn’t changed as much as the mecha animes have. Based on what you said, I agree with previous commenter that you’ll probably enjoy the plot.

  3. Ohh Ghibli films!

    I favorite ones are:
    – Princess Mononoke
    – Castle in the Sky
    – spirited Away

    I have also seen Porco Rosso, Nausicaa, Totoro, Grave of the Fireflies. They are good.

    I didn’t like the Cat Returns so much.

    Somehow, the old-school feel and the great soundtrack compels me to watch them :P

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