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My Geeky Trivia

By Geeky Gem

For today’s trivia I thought I would got back to some anime from the wonderful Studio Ghibli, Arrietty is based on the story of The Borrowers and it is a beautiful piece.


Directorial debut of animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi.

Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata had considered adapting the novel for the past 40 years.

Hayao Miyazaki began the development stages in July of 2008. His original plans included a run time of 80 minutes and the film to be titled “Chiisana Arrietty” (Little Arrietty).

The story takes place in 2010 in Western Tokyo’s neighborhood of Koganei. Koganei is also where Studio Ghibli is located.

At 36 years old Hiromasa Yonebayashi, was the youngest person to direct a film for Studio Ghibli.

French singer Cécile Corbel, a big fan of Studio Ghibli’s films, had sent the studio her second album as a gift back in 2009. Toshio Suzuki listened to it, was seduced and thus decided to hire her to compose the film’s score.

The fourth feature film from Studio Ghibli to not be directed by Hayao Miyazaki or studio co-founder Isao Takahata.

7.5 million people saw the film in theaters, an all-time record in Japan for a movie with a first time director.

Nervous at the idea of directing the film himself, Hiromasa Yonebayashi would initially always seek Hayao Miyazaki advice and opinions. He eventually realized he was on a journey he should face alone when the time came to draw the storyboard, and Miyazaki congratulated him for it.

In the Borrowers’ home, they have three cups with playing card symbols (heart, diamond, and club). The only symbol they do not have is the spade, which in many cultures is considered to be bad luck.

Wednesday Whimsy

Wednesday Whimsy

By: Caelrona

Hiya all! It is Wednesday again, and that means I am back in action with another blog post. First off, I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year! Secondly, I’d like to say sorry. Last week I said I was going to be doing an article on Holiday anime, and unfortunately I can’t do them this week either. I tried my local anime/manga store and they don’t carry them, and I am still waiting for the downloads to complete, because no one is seeding them. I am literally sitting at 99.95% completion on one of them, and can’t watch it because of the 0.05% that is missing from the file. So yeah, sorry about the let down on the Holiday anime, but I did try. If you’d like to give them a go yourself, they were Tokyo Godfathers and Itsudatte My Santa! They look pretty good, and I’d really love to hear about them if you have seen them / watch them!


Well, since I can’t bring you Holiday anime I thought the least I could do is bring you some good anime news. Studio Ghibli has announced two new films for 2013. Co-founders Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata will each be directing a film, The Wind Is Rising and The Tale of Princess Kaguya. Even more exciting is that they will be released on the same day, which is something that Ghibli hasn’t done since My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies were released a whopping 25 years ago! There isn’t a specific release date, just that they will be released sometime this summer (in Japan, anyway. Hopefully the English dubbing doesn’t take too long!)


According to sources online, The Wind is Rising, which the amazing Hayao Miyazaki wrote and is directing, is centered around Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane which was used by Japan during World War II. This will be the first feature film Miyazaki has directed since 2008’s Ponyo. Meanwhile, The Tale of Princess Kaguya will be directed by Takahata, who is best known for Grave of the Fireflies. Princess Kaguya is a character from Japanese folklore, who was discovered as a baby growing inside a glowing stalk of bamboo. The tagline for the movie apparently translates to “A Princess’s crime and punishment” so if you are familiar with the folktale, that gives you a little hint on which direction the movie is going to go (and if you aren’t familiar, the tale is on Wikipedia.) Apart from the two confirmed releases, there is also talk online of a sequel to 1992’s Porco Rosso, which will apparently also be coming out sometime this year.


Studio Ghibli has released websites for both movies, but they are only available in Japanese. So if you can read Japanese, you can visit the websites for them. If you can’t, then you can still visit the websites because there isn’t much to be seen at either site. They just have the promotional poster with their names and a little bit of info at the bottom about the release coming in the summer. I tried to find more info on them, but there are scant amounts to be found – not even OVA or commercials for either movie can be found on youtube yet, but hopefully we’ll be seeing some promotion for them hit the internet here pretty soon.


The only thing to tint these releases with a bit of sadness is the fact that they may very well be the last films for either of the legendary directors. Takahata (75) and Miyazaki (71) are both getting on in years, and there has been speculation for several years about them retiring. This summer will certainly be a critical milestone for the studio, since it completes the ‘Five Year Plan’ of the studio to introduce the next generation of directors, while Takahata and Miyazaki prepare to move to more background roles, which they have certainly earned and deserve. Of the recent Ghibli directors, only two have stayed with the studio – Goro Miyazaki (From Up On Poppy Hill), who is slowly earning his father’s throne; and Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arietty), who is the first new director since Yoshifumi Kondo (Whisper of the Heart) to earn Miyazaki’s full support and respect. Will these be the last works of the Studio Ghibli founders? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.


Anyway, again I am sorry about the Holiday anime let down, but I am hoping I made it up to you with the good news from Studio Ghibli! Next week I will try to bring you something more exciting, but until them I am going to go continue playing Assassin’s Creed II. See you all next week!

Until next time,

Caelrona – signing off! ❤

My Top 10 Movies: Part 2

By Caelrona

Hiya all! Caelrona here, to talk to you about movies once again! Last post I told you all about the first 5 of my Top 10 films. As a recap I have already covered The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Labyrinth, The Princess Bride, The Fifth Element, and The Aristocats. Now I am back to cover the other half of my list. On to the movies!

Mononoke Hime

Mononoke Hime, known as Princess Mononoke in the English adaptation, was made in 1997 by Studio Ghibli and released Toho in Japan, Miramax (a Disney company), and Disney. It is an Anime, and has a runtime of 134 minutes. The story follows our Hero, a young man named Ashitaka who, after being cursed and subsequently cast out of his village, embarks on an epic quest to cure his curse. Along the way he meets a traveling monk named Jigo, several mystical spirits including our Heroine San, and the many interesting and colorful individuals of Iron Town. In the end he winds up saving the townspeople, the mighty Forest Spirit and last but not least his love interest San. This is an excellent anime, a shining example of computer graphics married brilliantly with hand-drawn animation. Studio Ghibli created a gripping story, with a fantastic visual feast rivaled by few other anime. The violence and dark themes are not suited to very young children, so it is family friendly to a point. However, I watched this when I was young and I’ve loved it since.


Tremors was made in 1990 by Universal Studios, who also handled the release. It is a Sci-fi Horror-esque comedy, and has a runtime of 96 minutes. The story starts out following two cowboy handymen named Val and Earl working as handymen in their hometown of Perfection. After yet another crappy job, they decide to pull stakes and move to the big city of Bixby. Unfortunately, there are other forces at work and the boys end up heading right back for Perfection after finding one of the town’s denizens dead from dehydration in the middle of nowhere – up a power pole. Things start to get weird as huge worm-like monsters named Graboids begin to make themselves known. People get killed and things get destroyed as the town bands together to escape the monsters. This movie, while not a huge hit at the box office, quickly became a cult classic. It is a hilarious movie with a great cast. It spawned two sequels, a prequel and a 13 episode television series. I have all of the movies on VHS (I know, it’s ancient) as well as the DVD Attack Pack. If you haven’t watched it, then you should.

Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy made in 2001-2003 by WingNut Films in conjunction with Middle-Earth Enterprises and released by New Line Cinema. They are epic fantasy-adventure films, with a combined runtime of 558 minutes (683 for Extended Edition and 726 for Special Blu-ray Extended.) The film trilogy follows the journey of nine companions, known as the Fellowship of the Ring, as they quest to the deadly land of Mordor to destroy the One Ring. Together, these films make one of the most breathtaking cinematic masterpieces I’ve ever watched. I could get into detailed plot descriptions, but unfortunately my summary would fall far short of the mastery of these films, not to mention it would be incredibly TL/DR. I love all three of the films (although I’ll admit freely, Two Towers is my favorite) and I recommend them if you’ve ever got roughly 9.5 hours to kill and want to watch something amazing. I was only 11 when the first film came out, and I saw all of them on release day in theaters, so they are child friendly. However they do contain vast amounts of violence and death, and thus should be viewed only by audiences mature enough to handle it. All in all, if you’ve not seen these films then you ought to hand in your geek card and go watch them.

The Swan Princess

The Swan Princess was made in 1994 by Nest Entertainment in conjunction with Rich Animation Studios It was released theatrically by New Line Cinema; and re-released by Turner Home Entertainment (VHS) and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (DVD.) It is an animated movie with a runtime of 90 minutes. The movie centers on the love developing between Princes Derek and Princess Odette, whom initially are forced together by their widowed, conniving parents but eventually fall for each other. During their journey back to their home country, Odette and her father are attacked by a ‘Great Animal’ and Odette is kidnapped by the evil enchanter Rothbart. Rothbart casts a spell on Odette which turns her into a swan by day, with the only way to regain human form being to be on the lake by his castle when the moon rises. Derek must journey to find and rescue her by breaking the spell with a Vow of Everlasting Love. This is one of the best animated Princess type movies not made by Disney I’ve ever found. It rivals the Disney Princess movies in almost every way, and is often mistaken for a Disney production. It was created for children, but is enjoyable at any age. If you enjoy Disney films, then you would definitely enjoy The Swan Princess.

The Pirates of the Caribbean

The Pirates of the Caribbean is a series made from 2003 to 2011 by Jerry Bruckheimer Films and released by Walt Disney Pictures. They are fantasy-adventure films with a pirate theme, and a combined runtime of roughly 600 minutes. The films follow a various assortment of characters, but center on the entwined tales of Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann. Although they are a chronological series each movie can be watched on its own and be enjoyed without too much confusion. However, I find that they are far more enjoyable together as a whole. I really love Johnny Depp as Captain Jack in these movies; it is my favorite of his many roles. His flamboyancy really brings something special to his character that adds to the film. By far they are my favorite pirate movies, although I will admit I loved the third one the best!

There you have it; the ending of my list of Top 10 Movies. I find that I really can’t convey how special these movies are to me. It isn’t just that they are awesome movies, although they are. They each have something in them that really grips me, no matter how many times I’ve seen them; and I’ve watched them all so much I can quote most of them word for word as they play. I also find that I really limited myself when I stuck to only 10 movies, because there are a lot of other really great movies that just didn’t quite make the cut onto this list; not because I don’t enjoy them just as much, but because I simply didn’t have room. I’ll have to see about getting around to them, because they really deserve a mention!

Until next time;

Caelrona – signing off! ❤

Amazing Anime Movies You Ought To Watch

By Caelrona


Hiya all! Tis me, Caelrona, back again with another round of anime for your viewing pleasure. Last time I was allowed near a keyboard I told you all about Awesome (ass-kicking!) Anime Series that you ought to watch. Now I know that not everyone has the patience to sit through an entire series. Some people are the instant gratification sort, and some just plain don’t have time for an entire series. Also, sometimes you just want to watch a movie, ya know? So today I thought I might delight you with some Amazing Anime Movies You Ought To Watch. Same as last time, I will try my best to stay away from the mainstream, because even though we all worship the genius that is Hayao Miyazaki, there are animation studios besides Studio Ghibli that can produce an awesome anime. Anyway, on to the anime!


Legend of the Millennium Dragon


The Legend of the Millennium Dragon is an anime film released in 2011 by Studio Pierrot, with the English version released by Sony Entertainment. It has a run time of 98 minutes.

The story centers on our unlikely hero; Jin Tendo, an average, albeit very shy and frightful boy. When he is ripped back in time to the Heian Era, Jin learns that he is the only descendent of a powerful clan, and it is his destiny to awaken the 8-headed dragon Yamato no Orochi in order to end the war between the Nobles and the Oni. Things do not go smoothly for our young hero and we quickly find ourselves learning that there is always a second side to every story.


Origin: Spirits of the Past


Origin: Spirits of the Past is an anime film released in 2006 by Gonzo, with the English version released by FUNimation. It has a run time of 94 minutes.

The story centers on a pair of teenagers, Agito and Toola, who save the world from near-total destruction. It takes place on a futuristic dystopian Earth. Genetic Engineering gone wrong had nearly destroyed the planet. Humans struggle for survival on a planet where the forest rules, and its’ will is carried out by shamanistic Zruids who control the water supply. Our young hero, Agito, accidentally awakens our heroine Toola from a cryogenic sleep that she has been in for the past 300 years. Scared and overwhelmed by the new world she finds herself in, Toola does the only thing reasonable; she joins up with an army bent on destroying the forest and returning human control over the world. Agito, knowing that humanity would perish without the forest, joins with the forest in order to stop the destruction and save Toola.


Strait Jacket


Strait Jacket is both an anime film and a 3 episode OVA series based on light novels of the same name. The anime film was released in 2007 by Feel Anime Studios, with the English version released by Manga Entertainment. It has a run time of 76 minutes.

Strait Jacket is set in an alternate history where magic was proven and wove its way into all facets of society, vastly affecting the social and technological development of the world. Magic, however, comes with a price. Overtime, it effects and poisons users with something called the Malediction, which turns them into homicidal monsters simply called Demons. In the metropolis of Tristan (which looks something like a steampunk/Victorian London) special warriors called Tactical Sorcerists fight these magic-produced demons in suits known as Mold Armor, or commonly Strait Jackets. This armor all that safe-guards them from becoming demons themselves. Our story follows our young hero; Leiot Steinberg. Leiot is a Tactical Sorcerist, just not a legal one. His activities are on the darker side of grey, to say the least. Adoptive father of a magic-addicted young girl, Kapel Theta, Leiot is basically blackmailed into stepping up as a legal Tactical Sorcerist. His at-whatever-cost way of doing things quickly becomes a problem, but in the end it winds up saving the day.


Summer Wars


Summer Wars is an anime film released in 2009 by Madhouse, with the English version released by Warner Bros. Entertainment. It has a run time of 114 minutes.

Summer Wars follows the very eventful summer of our young hero, Kenji Koiso. Kenji is a gifted mathematician and part-time moderator for OZ, a massive virtual world that is intertwined with nearly every fabric society. Invited by our heroine Natsuki Shinohara to accompany her to her family estate for her Grandmothers’ birthday party, all seems great for Kenji. However an odd math problem emailed to him in the night turns out to be the source code to OZ; and guess who cracked it? Chaos ensues as a militant, intelligent virus known as Love Machine invades OZ. The entire universe comes to a screeching halt as Love Machine gobbles up accounts and begins causing all sorts of mayhem. Kenji must defend his innocence while the Shinohara clan bands together during this time of crisis. Kenji and the Shinohara clan must defend the virtual world of OZ and defeat Love Machine to restore peace and order.


Tales from Earthsea


Tales from Earthsea is an anime film based on the first four books of Ursula K Le Guin’s Earthsea series. It was released in 2006 by Studio Ghibli, with the English version released by Disney. It has a run time of 116 minutes. I know, I know. This is Ghibli! Ah, but it isn’t Hayao’s work. I’m cheating, because this was directed by Goro Miyazaki – Hayao’s son.

Tales from Earthsea centers on a young boy named Arren. Our young hero is quite the confused lad, as he murders his father, steals his sword and runs away from his life as a prince. The world is crumbling around Arren, and even dragons have begun to appear in the land of men. Our little run-away quickly becomes embroiled in a whirlwind of deceit and violence as an Evil Wizard intends to use him against those who would try to help him. Not to be stopped, our young Heroine Therru follows the good from inside Arren, which has somehow been ripped from him and materialized as a specter, in order to help save Arren and possibly the rest of the world.


Well, that is all for today folks. I hope you enjoyed the article, and found some anime to check out! Hopefully our friends here at All Geek To Me will continue to be nice enough to allow me near a keyboard. =P See you all next time!

Caelrona, signing out!


Awesome Anime You Ought To Watch!

By Caelrona

Hi ya’ll! Caelrona here, and I am guest writing for All Geek to Me, mainly because GeekyGems is letting me. I thought about things to discuss, and eventually came back to Anime. Mainly because I love it, but also because GeekyGems mentioned she’d like to hear about some since she sticks mostly to Studio Ghibli. While Ghibli is a great animation studio, and Hayao Miyazaki should be revered like a god for his work, sometimes we want to watch something a little more kick-ass than a G-rated anime, no matter how amazing that G-rated anime may be. I am going to try and hit on some ass-kicking anime series that might not be too popular, but are definitely worth watching if you ever get the chance.



 Claymore is an awesome anime, and an even better Manga. Awesome fighting chicks in Roman-esque armor, wielding gigantic broad swords (Hence the name ‘Claymore’) there isn’t much more you could ask for, except maybe man-eating monsters. Oh wait, it has that too! Also, tentacles. Sadly for fanboys, there is more ass-kicking than ass showing. That’s right, no fan service for you. So you won’t be getting tons of ridiculous panty shots, or cleavage (because oddly enough, these female warriors actually wear armor that might protect something!) but there will be plenty of gore, severed limbs, blood and bits.

It is based on a Manga by the same name, and follows the manga fairly closely as to the story line. The manga is currently at 22 Volumes, and the Anime at 26 episodes based on the first 11 volumes of Manga. The plot centers around a girl named Claire who is a member of the mysterious ‘Organization’ which created a fighting force known as Claymores. Claymores are half-human hybrids developed to fight man-eating shape shifting demons known as Yoma. The storyline follows Clare on her journey to avenge her mentor, Teresa who was killed by another Claymore for breaking one of the Claymore laws.

Elfen Lied

Elfen Lied is another amazing anime, but in a completely different way. This anime is nothing BUT fan service, carries an R rating and should not be watched around children for multiple reasons including horrible gore, death, dismemberment and lots of nakedness.

Elfen Lied is an anime based on a Manga of the same name. The manga is 12 Volumes long, and the Anime barely manages to top that with a total of 13 episodes.

It follows the story of a girl named Lucy. She is a Diclonius, a mutation with the only physical difference of small horn-like protrusions on their head. Oh, also they have wicked cool, totally invisible ‘psychic’ extra limbs (known as Vectors) that can move faster than sound and vibrate so quickly that they can slice through humans, doors, buildings and even deflect bullets. Not to mention, all known Diclonius are murdering rampaging crazies that tear random people limb from limb, even if they themselves are barely old enough to walk. Anyway, back to the storyline. The anime begins when Lucy breaks out of a containment facility and is found by a local boy named Kohta. However she is no longer Lucy, but Nyu; a split personality developed when she is hit in the head by a .50 BMG round during her escape. The storyline follows Lucy (now known as Nyu) and Kohta, revealing that they have a past that is not really all that pleasant. Blood and gore make screen time when the containment facility sends in other Diclonius to bring Lucy in. Do you think that Lucy goes quietly? Ha!


High School of the Dead

 High School of the Dead manages to make me a happier geek than any of the other Animes I have listed (or will) for one simple reason. It is about ZOMBIES. I don’t know about ya’ll, but I’ve had a thing for Zombies ever since I was a little girl, and an anime about zombies? My happiness level? It’s over 9000! Also, fanboys rejoice because there is so much fan service packed into these 12 episodes that it sometimes gets a bit ridiculous.

High School of the Dead is an anime based on a Manga by the same name (sensing a trend here?) The Manga has a total of 7 Volumes and is currently on Hiatus while the Anime has a total of 12 Episodes.

It follows the story of a group of typical high school kids in Japan, who happen to be at school when the zombie outbreak begins. Our hero of the story is Takashi Komuro, who haphazardly leads a group of fellow students (and the school nurse) out of the school and onto the city streets in hopes of finding their families. Of course, their main focus is surviving the waves of zombies who want to eat them all alive.

Kaze no Stigma

Kaze no Stigma isn’t nearly as kick-ass as any of the previous animes; but it certainly earns its place on the list with plenty of fights and some awesome elemental based magic. In fact, that is the main thing that makes this anime so much better than other similar anime out there. Wish you could wield fire, earth or air magic? Well this anime has all that, and some other seriously wicked magic as well, no ‘bending’ required.

Kaze no Stigma, also known as Stigma of the Wind, is an Anime based on a light novel by the same name and it being adapted to Manga. The light novel has 12 Volumes; the ongoing Manga currently has 2 Volumes while the Anime is 26 Episodes long.

Kaze no Stigma follows the life of Kazuma Yagami, a young punk of a Wind Magic user after he returns home after being banished. Why was he banished, you ask? Because his family, the highly elite Kannagi clan, are Fire Magic users, and he lost the duel to wield the highly sought after, super powerful Enraiha, a magical sword wielded by the clan heir. After his banishment he made a pact with the Wind Spirit King, becoming what is known as a Contractor – not just a mere Magic User, but a super powerful Magic User able to tap into all the Magic Spirits of their pact with the powers of that elemental Spirit King. His return is not all happy heartfelt family mush, however, as it turns out members of his family are being killed… by wind magic. Gee, who could possibly be their biggest suspect?


 Samurai Girl: Real Bout High School

Samurai Girl: Real Bout High School, more commonly known as Real Bout, is a kicking-ass-and-taking- names kind of anime, with a healthy (or maybe unhealthy?) dosage of fan service thrown in. Plenty of boobs, butts and panty shots here! It centers on a school where you don’t get suspended for fighting – you get graded for it!

Real Bout is an Anime, based on a light novel of the same name, and was adapted for Manga but sadly never finished. The light novel is 19 Volumes long, while the Manga only ran to 6 Volumes and the Anime tops out at 13 Episodes.

Real Bout follows the daily high school life of the vivacious red-head Ryoko Mitsurugi. However, Ryoko doesn’t go to your average high school. She attends Daimon High, and is the current K-fight champion. What’s a K-fight you ask? A K-fight is the school’s approach to settling disputes. Any dispute can be settled by an organized martial arts match known as the K-fight. Ryoko, the Samurai Girl, must contend with a stalker of a friend, crazy people who want to take her down for her title, an arch rival for their shared love interest, a hated nemesis, and.. Monsters. That’s right, monsters. Because a high school that organizes and grades martial arts matches isn’t awesome enough, it also has magic. Our heroine, Ryoko, finds a magical locket that transports her to an alternate universe where she battles crazy, powerful monsters in order to save a world known as Solvania.


Well, that’s all for today folks. Hope you liked my article, but if you didn’t then I hope you at least found an awesome, ass-kicking anime to watch when you get bored. Maybe if GeekyGems doesn’t disown me after this, I’ll do a follow-up with amazing Anime Movies, because sometimes you just want your daily anime dosage in the form of a movie instead of a series.

Caelrona, signing out!

The Magical World of Miyazaki: Kiki’s Delivery Service

  By Geeky Gem

As you all know I have a thing for Studio Ghibli movies and have seen close to all of them, in these articles I have and will continue to tell you about them. This time I thought I would tell you about Kiki’s Delivery Service.

Kiki’s Delivery Service first came out in Japan in 1989, and was translated and released in the UK in 1997. It was the first release from the Disney/Ghibli partnership. The film was a success for Ghibli as are so many of their movies. It won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize in 1989, the movie is loosely based on the novel of the same name by Eiko Kadono. Again this movie was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

According to Miyazaki the movie touches on the gulf that exists between independence and reliance in Japanese teenage girls. Going beyond the coming of age themes, this movie deals with the nature of creativity and talent, and the central difficulty every person faces in becoming themselves, whether through luck, hard work or confidence: the inner movie explores the same questions that are later asked in Whisper of the Heart, which we will come to on this journey.

Kiki is a 13 year old witch-in-training, living in a village where her mother is local herbalist. It is traditional for witches to live for a year on their own when they reach 13 years of age. At the start of the story Kiki takes off for the big city with her best friends Jiji her cat. Kiki decides to live in the city of Koirko which is on the coast near a beautiful sea. After a hard start, Kiki finds herself some friends and a place to stay. But she only has one of her witch abilities which is she can fly a broomstick. Which at first she is not very good at. She decides in order to look after herself and earn some money that she will open a delivery service.

As you can imagine Kiki does have some set backs, and many are to do with her adolescent worries. She is also chased all over town by a boy called Tombo, the local crazy boy who is mad about aviation and is fascinated by Kiki’s ability to fly. Kiki eventually warms up to him and they become friends. After a nasty event involving some of Tombo’s friends Kiki is left very upset, so much so that her ability to talk to Jiji and fly disappears. She now has to figure out how to get these powers back. When Tombo’s ends up in some trouble, Kiki must try to save him, but she still has no powers. It is with this attempt to save him that she regains her powers and rescues her friend. The story carries on through the closing credits, you see Kiki settle into her new home, and she is somewhat of a local celebrity.

By now you should being seeing the themes that run through Miyazaki movies, he wants to portray the struggles of his characters but he makes them so you can relate to them in some way. Here for example we meet Kiki and her struggles to deal with adolescence, something I could relate to very easily, the awkwardness of being a teenager and finding you are now of an age where you have to start being responsible for your actions and choices. This is a hard thing for anyone to get used to. This again is one of Miyazaki’s life telling stories, I think this is the real reason why I like these movies so much.

Again the music is beautiful and always fits fantastically with the action on the screen. Its one thing that isn’t lost in the translation. I have seen this movie in both Japanese and English and as always the voice for both languages is brilliant. There is something about the way Miyazaki picked his actors and he does have a say on who is cats in the English dub version which I think is really important.

This is the part where I tell you if you haven’t seen it then you must, but if you have read the other pieces I have done on Miyazaki and you have liked them and have indeed liked the films if you have seen any of them, then I don’t need to tell you, this Is a must see. You’ll just know, and you’ll add it to the list of things you have to see.

The Magical World of Miyazaki: Princess Mononoke

By Geeky Gem 

In The Magical World of Miyazaki, I have looked at Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro. This week, our magical journey continues, with a look at the epic Japanese fantasy, Princess Mononoke. Hitting the screens in 1997, this film was again written by Hayao Miyazaki. The title Mononoke, is not a name as such, but the Japanese term for Spirit or Monster.

Believe it or not, this film is actually a period drama set in the late Muromachi Period, with a few fantastical elements thrown in for good measure. The film involves Ashitaka and the struggle between the supernatural guardians of the forest, and the humans of Iron Town. The people of Iron Town are consuming the forest’s resources. The overall theme of the story is that the humans and forest spirits can live in harmony, or more broadly, humankind and nature should live in harmony, a very environmental message.

The story opens with a giant boar demon attacking Emishi village and Ashitaka. Ashitaka is forced to fight and kill the demon. However in the struggle Ashitaka receives a curse which grants him superhuman power, but will eventually kill him. Under the advice of the village wise-woman, he leaves the village in order to travel west in search of a cure.

After a few days on the road, he meets Jigo a wandering Monk, who tells him that he might be able find help from a forest spirit who lives in the mountain range. However, this task won’t be easy, the inhabitants of the area are gigantic animal Gods, and complicating matters, Iron Town is also near by. The people of Iron Town are consonantly clearing the nearby forest, in order to get charcoal, to smelt iron sand which they use to make firearms. This leads to a battle with the giant forest beasts. Among these animals there are a pack of giant wolves, accompanied by San, a human girl, who the wolves adopted. It is she that the people of Iron Town call Princess Mononoke.

Ashitaka finds two villagers injured by the wolves near a river, and helps them back to Iron Town. It is here where he gets his first look at forest spirit. A Kirin-like creature by day and a towering night walker by night.

While in Iron Town Ashitaka learns from Lady Eboshi, the manager of the town, that she made the boar-demon by shooting it. Ashitaka is not too happy to hear this, but then also finds out that Iron Town is a refuge for ancient Japan’s social outcasts, such as prostitutes and lepers. Because of this he finds it hard to hate Eboshi. That night, San breaks into Iron Town, and tries to kill Eboshi. However Ashitaka gets in the way, using his curse power’s to stop the fight between Eboshi and San. San leaves with Ashitaka, but as they are leaving, he is shot in the chest and dies. San takes him to the forest spirit, who brings him back to life, but does not remove the curse.

Shortly after, Boars, led by the boar god Okkoto, arrive to attack Iron Town. San joins them. Eboshi gets ready for the attack and sets out to destroy the Forest Spirits. Jigo now reveals himself to be a mercenary-hunter, he intends to give the head of the Boar to the emperor, in return for Iron Town’s protection.

The hunters devastate the boars, and Okkoto is driven mad by a gunshot wound. The Forest Spirit comes and kills Okkoto, but Eboshi appears and shoots the Forest Spirit in the head, decapitating it. Jigo takes the head of the fallen spirit, but it’s body transforms into a mindless god of death, which starts to destroy everything in it’s path, in search for it’s stolen head.

Ashitaka and San go looking for Jigo, in order to take back the head, so they can return it to the Forest Spirit. The Forest Spirit falls in to the lake, turning the land green, and healing all the lepers and accursed, including Ashitaka and San. They both then go back to their old lives, but promise to meet again. Ashitaka decides to rebuild Iron Town, with a now reformed Eboshi, who vows to make a better village. The film ends with the lovely Kodama appearing to help the forest.

The are many reason’s why you should watch this film. The first is, this is one of the rare Studio Ghibli films where the main protagonist is male. Another is the music. Studio Ghibli have this fantastic way of matching the music to the film just perfectly, something that I think goes astray in western films sometimes. One of the other reasons has to be the story. I think what Miyazaki is trying to tells us here, is that we need to look after our planet, before we do way too much damage that we can’t fix.

The animation is beautifully done, and I know I have repeated that statement every week so far, but it doesn’t stop it being true. The film went though some alterations when coming out here in the West, the story remained unchanged, however specific Japanese terms were replaced to make things a little easier on us Westerners. Terms like Jibashiri and Shishigami, that appear in the Japanese version, were changed to more general terms, such as Mercenary and Forest Spirit. These changes where made by Neil Gaiman, writer of Sandman.

It was also given two thumbs up from Harry Knowels of Ain’t It Cool News. Now if Harry gives it two thumps up, that should tell you that you need to see this film immediately, at least, in my opinion. I hope if you do get your hands on it, you enjoy it as much as I did, and that with repeat viewings, you will grow to love it as much as I do.

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