Posts Tagged ‘Japanese Anime’

My Neighbour Totoro (1988)


Dir: Hayao Miyazaki | Japan | Anime | 86′

This delicately drawn brightly animated fantasy is possibly the best loved of all Hayao Miyazaki’s Ghibli offerings. The magical ‘ghost’ story is so cute it couldn’t say boo to a goose yet remains unsentimental and rooted in reality. With a featherlight frisson of fear, Miyazaki captures the wonder, amazement and uncertainty of growing up, and our childhood need to retreat to a secret fantasy world. Brimming with hope and excitement, two tiny girls move with their father to a countryside retreat where their mother is recovering in hospital. The nearby woods are full of fantasy and intrigue. A cuddly creature called Totoro provides a source of spiritual nourishment and soulful awakening for the sisters as they face the reality of their mother’s illness constantly lurking at the back of their minds. This sumptuously beautiful Japanese anime offers versatile entertainment. There’s something for everyone to take away, if you can manage to leave. MT

MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO is now on Prime Video

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion I (2017) ***

Dir.: Gorö Taniguchi | Anime with the voices of Jun Fukuyama, Takahiro Sukurai, Ami Koshimizi, Kaori Nazuka, Yukana; Japan 135’

The first part of the Gorö Taniguchi’s revenge trilogy has a complex backstory and a massive body-count. Overwhelming fight sequences feature incredibly tall and alluringly pretty warriors: most of the characters are strangely androgynous, targeting the teenage audience. The technical excellence is underpinnedwith some serious themes about fundamentals, aimed at more adult viewers. It all kicks off in 2010 when three Super States rule the world: Britannia (Europe and Africa), Chinese Federation (Asia) and Japan. Prince Lelouch (Fukuyama), suspects that his father, the Emperor of Britannia, has murdered his mother Marianne. His sister Nunally (Nazuka) witnessed her mother’s shooting and was caught in the crossfire and rendered lame and blind by the trauma. The siblings are sent to Japan by their father, to spy on the enemy. Lelouch is a placid boy at school but when he puts on his mask he becomes Zero, a murderous vigilante, and soon with the help of C.C. (Yukana), a mysterious girl, who gives him the power of Geass, making him more or less superior to all enemies. Together with C.C. and female sidekick Kallen Kouzuki (Koshimizu) – who also has identity problems – Lelouch/Zero sets out to take revenge on his father. Code Geass is a bit of lurid fun that cuts both ways in giving adults something to chew on intellectually while their teenage kids can enjoy the remarkable visual antics. AS

OUT ON 21 MARCH 2018 FOR ONE DAY ONLY

The Wind Rises (2013) | DVD/Blu

THE WIND RISES

Director/Writer: Miyazaki Hayao

Voices of: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Martin Short, Stanley Tucci

126min  Japanese Anime  Wartime Drama        

Another enchanting piece of Japanese Anime from Studio Ghibli, this time a delicately-drawn story of Wartime aeronautical engineer Jiro Horikoshi, who designed the amazingly effective ‘Zero’ fighter during WWII.  THE WIND RISES is particularly special because its director and writer, Miyazaki Hayao, is well-known for being behind the most successful films: Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo and claims this is his swan song.

wind copyWhat starts as a largely biographical story of Jiro’s childhood, training and early career gradually transforms into an endearing love story when he finally meets his sweetheart while saving her umbrella in a gale. The two have previously met during an earthquake, (the Great Kanto disaster of 1923) wonderfully depicted in the early part of the film. The tone mellows as the tender love story is reflected in lush visuals of flowery country landscapes including almond blossoms, billowing meadows, breathtaking cloud formations and sunsets. As usual with Ghibli, the dreamy and softly rendered cartoons often belie a heart-rending or serious storyline, and THE WIND RISES is no different, underpinned as it is by Jiro’s personal tragedy and the Wartime context of conflict and geographical disaster.  Immersive from start to finish, THE WIND RISES is a stunning piece of filmmaking accompanied by a richly-textured narrative that will delight regular devotees as well as those still unfamiliar with the genre. MT

NOW OUT ON DVD Blu-ray courtesy of Studio Canal

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