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12 days of anime #3 – Goodbye Ghibli [The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness]


Can I just say goodbye to Ghibli and end my post here? And go to sleep?

But then, I’ve watched quite some Ghibli movies that it’s heartless to not elaborate my sadness on their closure/short break/whatever, Miyazaki and Takahata are getting old. It’s also hard to pick a single movie to talk about since every one of them is a fantastic product and the totality is what makes up this studio Ghibli.

Therefore I’ll go for the road not taken and talk about a documentary =))

Problems begin the moment we’re born. We’re born with infinite possibilities, only to give up on one after another. To choose one thing means to give up on another. That’s inevitable. But what can you do? That’s what it is to live.
<Hayao Miyazaki>

I’m always curious about the people behind every fantastic movie/series. Miyazaki is possibly the only one in the spotlight of Ghibli, even so it’s already a joy to see him work and casually comments on what he’s doing. I actually idolized this man for quite a long time after seeing another documentary on the making of Mononoke Hime, where he paid attention to the smallest details, complained about being a director, taught his staff on how to draw realistic animal’s jaw because apparently no one cared to observe a dog’s teeth and gums, etc. I may not be among the biggest fans of his movies, but I just can’t help feeling fascinated by how he lives his life. On the one hand, it looks like he is suffering, on the other hand, it looks like he warmly embraces everything.

KoMaD Miyazaki

It would be great if Hayao Miyazaki can make another movie, but Kaze Tachinu is a satisfactory final masterpiece. I thought that the movie is to express his passion for airplanes, but it’s rather a movie inspired by Miyazaki’s passion and his father’s life. The main character Jiro is a rediscovery of Miyazaki’s father, in all his kindness and conflicts. On the voice-recording day and the first screening, this director shed tears at the ending – the you-must-live ending. If this is where it has to end, I think, so be it.

Today, all of humanity’s dreams are cursed somehow. Beautiful yet cursed dreams. I’m not even talking about wanting to be rich or famous. Screw that. That’s just hopeless. What I mean is, how do we know movies are even worthwhile? If you really think about it, is this not just some grand hobby?
<Hayao Miyazaki>

I’m running short of time, so I’ll just wrap up by listing some other notes on the documentary:

  • I was taken in by the poster thinking that the documentary would finally reveal the life and thoughts of the mysterious Takahata, but nope, he still remained a low-profile old man. Only appeared a few times and got mentioned by a running joke that he never wanted to finish that Kaguya Hime project.
  • You can watch this documentary to see how Hideaki Anno got bullied by the two seniors Suzuki and Miyazaki. Poor man.
  • The main character of the documentary is actually the cat, not Miyazaki or Ghibli. The filmmakers fell in love with that fat cat, I’m sure of it.
  • I lolled at that Miyazaki’s version of Mimi wo sumaseba.

KoMaD bike

All in all, it seems I won’t see or hear of them for the next several years, whether Miyazaki or Takahata. They’re about all I know of Ghibli. That’s why, so long, Ghilbi.

  1. ndqanhvn permalink

    Cats are the best thing on earth, what more do you want?

    Joke asides, reading about Miyazaki makes me remember Satoshi Kon. If he had not died so early, he might someday achive the international influence Miyazaki had. (He might already have as the movie Black Swan is so heavily influenced by Perfect Blue) Anime industry has some really fantastic director. Miyazaki (of course), Yuusa Masaaki, Satoshi Kon, and the crazily-awesome Ikuhara Kunihiko.

    Miyazaki still stands out for me because of how devoted he is to his works. Watching Ghibli;s anime you could feel the passion and the labour they poured into each screen. A noble artist who sincerely respects and loves his job – something very Japanese, do you think? I

    • No, not again, how do you know I’m going to talk about Masaaki Yuasa =))

      Now I’m feeling like a terrible person for not having watched any movies of Satoshi Kon. So much anime, so little time :(

      The anime industry has so many talents that it’s almost unfair seeing how they’re only known among (a minority of) anime viewers. Miyazaki deserves all the international attention he’s getting, but now he just has to retire. I don’t know much about the Japanese sense of an artist, but it’s true his work ethic is admirable.

      I remember Miyazaki saying that he’s more of an animator than a director, and his joy is to see a beautifully animated scene. Guess it must have helped reduce a lot of the tediousness of sitting at the desk and drawing intensely for years.

      • ndqanhvn permalink

        Drawing could be fun, you know. I could spend the whole night drawing. Unfortunately, I have not the talent to make it in the professional world, even though sometimes I do want to make a comic out of my stories.

        When you truly like to do something, time just flies by when you did not notice. But few people could make it their jobs.

        • Well, Ghibli put a lot of effort into polishing the details, not to say that in order to have fluid animation there have to be plenty of frames, in-betweens or something idk. I always think drawing all those must be really tiresome. But since I don’t draw, I can’t say for sure.

          So… you’ve got a point too. Actually I do believe that there’s also a magical side of drawing, something about breathing life into lines and shapes, which is perhaps the reason why Miyazaki (as well as anime fans) is so fond of hand drawn movies.

          Now that we mention it, though every medium has its own challenges, drawing seems to require more skills from its beginners than writing. Like having to gain a level 10 to draw a decent draft. And I guess that’s where a lot of people leave this idea aside. I gave up in high school so I’m talking from (no) experience.

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