Ghibli Talk: Favorite Movie

High action. Complex characters. Talking animals. Princess Mononoke was destined to be my ultimate favorite Ghibli film. Truthfully, it is my favorite film of animation or live action, but that’s not important for this post.

I was still in middle school when I saw Princess Mononoke. I’d watched Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Spirited Away before I stumbled on Hayao Miyazaki’s more mature film. It didn’t become my all-time favorite until I was older, but the seeds were buried in my heart

MPW-53071Why is this my favorite? It comes down to Ashitaka. And a quote. When asked why he was there, he replied, “To see with eyes unclouded by hate.” This struck me. It latched onto my soul, as though those were the words that shone light onto who I was, or at least wanted to be in my core.

Throughout the film, Ashitaka is on middle ground. Iron Town loves him, but wants him to stay with their cause to live and survive in the fight-against-nature way. On the forest’s side, San accepts him as an odd human who really shouldn’t give the humans any leeway. The Forest Spirit likes him, anyhow.

Each side wants him to choose. Industry. Or the environment. Ashitaka is instrumental in the events throughout the film, but he doesn’t lose the perspective he has as someone from the outside. He wants all of the people he meets to be happy and healthy at the end of the day, but he’s not willing to let the hatred they have for each other consume his judgement of anyone.

The end goal isn’t on the polar opposite ends, rather, somewhere in the middle. In peace. Not a compromise. People and nature living in harmony.

And that’s why Princess Mononoke holds my heart as my favorite Ghibli (and every) film. As I’ve gotten older, it has been harder to keep my eyes clear of the hate around me, but I strive for that philosophy to be who I am.

Besides, it’s gorgeous to watch. And the English translation is by Neil Gaiman.

What is your favorite Ghibli film? Why? Comment below!


Ghibli Talk: First Film

What was your first experience of Ghibli Studios?

Mine was Castle in the Sky.

This was the cover

I was in 10 or 11 when I saw a VHS (yep, a VHS!) with a castle floating in the sky, people flying about, and two kids staring off into the distance. Immediately, I was entranced. Sure, you shouldn’t judge a book or movie by it’s cover, but I knew I had to have it.

So, with my allowance money, I bought it then and there.

The flying machines. The magic. The colors–I couldn’t get enough of it. It became my favorite movie. Even though it was 2 hours long, I’d watch it over and over. My art and writing projects at school began to incorporate flying scooters and magical stones. The movie had my heart full of adventure.

The scenes getting to and on Laputa are the most prevalent in my mind. Storm clouds whipping about and ripping up airships that are unlucky enough to enter them. Buildings underwater! Animals! Especially the indoor garden. Oh the colors…

As I watch the movie as I get older, I latch onto different details. The real danger Sheeta and Pazu are in, and how courageous they are in the face of a situation they were forced into. How crazy Muska is. Dola’s impressive adaptability (who runs on train carts??). And how smart and skilled Sheeta and Pazu are–I’m always inspired to identify my own skills and improve on my confidence with them after watching them interact on Dola’s ship.

There was no way I’d know this was the opening to a love of animation and pictures to tell a story. I watched Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh on my Saturday mornings, but those didn’t foster a spark to tell my own stories.

Castle in the Sky isn’t my ultimate favorite Ghibli film, but it holds a very special place in my heart. What’s your first Ghibli film? Please share in the comments below!