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Ignorance is bliss? [now with added footnote!]

Anime. You've probably heard of it, but you might not have paid any attention to it. Ever wondered why?

Disclaimer: The following is probably very biased and not well thought out. But don't let that stop you reading it!

For me, my earliest exposure to what I recognised as anime was when the Pokémon craze hit while I was in high school. Pokémon appeared to be a series of cheap low-budget, low-quality cartoons accompanied by computer games and trading cards, all designed to remove money from the wallets of parents. The very catchphrase "Gotta catch 'em all" flew in the face of the Gameboy games, where each version of the game blatently didn't include all the available Pokémon, thus to catch them all you had to battle with friends or buy two copies of the game. Needless to say I wasn't impressed with the influx of cheap anime such as Pokémon, Digimon, etc. This left me with the impression that all anime would be of a similar content and quality, making it wholly inferior to Western cartoons. This and the low exposure that anime is given in the West meant that for a long time I didn't pay any attention to it. Later I would also discover hentai, and come to the conclusion that most anime is either cheap kids cartoons or an odd form of porn. Or both. Neither of which particularly appeal to me or my family.

That is, until a few months ago when FilmFour became free. "At last, the chance of something decent on TV" I thought. Unfortunately most of the films on offer appeared to be the usual recycled cliche, and thus of no interest to me. There was one slot that stood out from the others - the Stuido Ghibli season - but my displeasure with all anime I'd previously seen meant that I ignored it until I had a chance encounter with one of the films.

During one afternoon of boredom I went channel hopping through the usual mix of shit on TV when I came across the start of the English dub of Kiki's Delivery Service on FilmFour. "Hmm, this looks cute" I thought. The synopsis said it was a heartwarming tale, and from what I saw in the first few minutes, that was pretty accurate. A simple, no-nonsense film. So I sat and watched.

This might surprise the two people who are reading this that know me, because I'm not usually one to go for cute. I commit assorted crimes in GTA, perform pre-meditated murder in Hitman, enjoy dark sci-fi, and listen almost exclusively to death metal and variants. When you look at some of the other films that were shown during the Studio Ghibli season, you'd think that Kiki's Delivery Service would have been one of the ones I'd be least likely to watch. Yet I was watching, and enjoying, something which at first glance would appear to be an ordinary children's cartoon. Once the film had finished I'd seen enough to know that I'd be interested in many, if not all, of the other films in the Studio Gihbli season.

So, what exactly is it about the films?

One of the things I noticed straight away was the animation style and quality. The backgrounds were incredibly detailed, moreso than your average animated Disney film. The characters, although not as detailed as the background, were realistic in appearance, unlike the manga-like exaggerated characters and expressions in your average Pokemon episode. The animation was smooth, and the voice acting was good. It was clear that a lot of time and effort had gone into the production, and it had paid off.

Ghibli vs. Disney

Disney's Aladdin (image) and Ghibli's Porco Rosso (image).

Note how the background to the Aladdin scene is deliberately fuzzy and lacks detail. This could be because they're trying to imitate the focus of a camera, or because they're trying to reduce the complexity of their scenes - or both. In fact, I've found it hard to find any screengrab from a Disney film that doesn't fuzz out the backgrounds.
However if you look at the screengrab from Porco Rosso, you can see that there is a great amount of detail on the peninsula stretching into the distance, even though it is far below the plane that's the focal point of the scene. This level of detail on far-away objects is also shared by an intense level of detail on near objects (or at least stationary ones), to the point where you can even identify the species of flowers shown in gardens.

Now for a bit of prehistory

Growing up in the 80's and early 90's, there were many great children's TV shows. But there was one show to rule them all: The Mysterious Cities of Gold. Originally a Japanese/French co-production, this epic 39-episode anime series has since been touted by many as the best children's show ever, but is still largely forgotten. Unlike most Western cartoons where each episode is a self-contained comedy, MCoG featured a continual storyline full of mystery, adventure, danger and death. Lots of death. After rediscovering and rewatching it a few weeks prior to seeing Kiki's Delivery Service, I'd been given a feeling of how mature a children's show could be. Although nowhere near the production quality of Stuido Gihbli's productions, it is still perfectly watchable today and could even teach you a lot about the history of the New World. Each episode even had a 3 minute documentary following it, to give more factual information about the history of the New World and it's conquest in the 16th century.

The full MCoG intro on YouTube. Now tell me you're not excited.
Joe's Web Hut, containing details of his FTP server where you can find all the MCoG episodes, in various formats. Joe = Your God.

Tentacles. Lots of tentacles.

Tentacles. Lots of tentacles.

Now imagine those tentacles animated.
By hand.

That's what you're greeted with at the start of Princess Mononoke, the next Ghibli film I saw.

The synopsis was along the lines of "In 14th century Japan, Princess Mononoke brokers a peace between man, the animals, and the gods". Not exactly the most exhilarating description, and it gives no indication of the intended age range. I half expected it to be another children's tale, like Kiki's Delivery Service. I was wrong.

It was clear that this film wasn't designed solely with children in mind. In fact, children probably weren't the primary audience at all. A 12 foot tall demon covered in writhing tentacles rampaged across the screen, blighting the land around it as it moved. This film meant business.

At its core the film is a tragedy, highlighting the fragility of nature and how man's actions have shaped the world. It's a warning to the future, that we need to treat the world with respect or suffer the consequences. It's one of the best films I've ever seen. And I was left wondering why I hadn't seen it before.

Studio Gihlbi are described as the masters of Japanese animation, and after watching their films it's clear that they're more than that. They're the masters of all animation. Forget Disney, forget Pixar. The last "proper" animated Disney film I remember seeing was probably Aladdin 2 (Actually the last film was Lilo & Stitch, but I'll talk about that later). Compare the quality of the visuals to one of Studio Gihbli's films and you'll see how much better they are. CGI studios, on the other hand, are just riding on a gimmick. They use CGI to sell their films. Although you could say that they put an equal amount of effort into their visuals as Ghibli do, a CGI film's visuals are usually only impressive because of their technical nature. And for the most part the films will be comedy films aimed at children. Although there will be story, much of it may only exist to set up the jokes for the viewer. Gihbli on the other hand provide story-rich films which can contain both comedy as well as tragedy, and cover complex themes. Studio Gihbli are responsible for the three most popular films in Japan, yet until recently I had never heard of them.

Well, actually that's a lie. I remember vaguely hearing something about Spirited Away when it was released, and believe I saw a short part of it on Sky Movies once. Spirited Away was the biggest film in Japan at the time. But for whatever reason, it wasn't advertised well enough for me or my family to watch it. This could in part be blamed on its rather obtuse content when compared to other Western films, but there are also other factors at work.

Big Chinese martial arts films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers are given a lot of press in the West. Yet big Japanese anime films such as those produced by Studio Gihbli are mostly ignored. When was the last time you saw an anime film on UK teresstrial TV? I can't remember ever seeing any, yet the TV companies seem to snap up martial arts as quickly as possible. I'm not saying this is favouritism at work, but there's definitely something wrong.

So, what could it be?

[warning: now entering full rant mode]

First of all, there's the stigma around cartoons. Most people would think that cartoons are for children. However the popularity of The Simpsons, South Park, etc. proves that cartoons aren't just watched by - or designed for - children.

But these are foreign cartoons. This means you'll either need an English dub, or subtitles. Subtitled films probably aren't very popular with viewers, especially cartoons. So they make English dubs wherever possible. Except that the studios that buy the rights to the English versions may feel threatened by the Japanese competition, and deliberately produce sub-standard dubs. Or they may see the films as filling a niche role, and not give them the attention they deserve. This is certainly true of some of the earlier dubs of Ghibli's work. There's also likely to be a mass of cultural references. Some of these will be completely alien to a Western audience, others are removed for the sake of Americanization. This can have a deep impact on the film. The first English dub of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was ruined by Americanization. Over a quarter of the film had been cut, including most of the environmental aspect of the storyline. All to try and fit it into the format of a typical Western cartoon, and make it easier for poor little American minds to digest.

Now I'm OK with removing references to some things which people outside of Japanese culture would have absolutely no idea about. But other things are just pointless. The English subtitles for Princess Mononoke removed some cultural aspects, but the English dub went far further. Apart from the fact that our Japanese characters in ancient Japan now all have English or American accents, they've now decided to ditch the traditional Japanese beverage of sake and drink wine instead. I mean... why? What possible reason could they have to replace it with wine? The context of the reference means that even if you don't know what sake is, you can make a pretty good guess.

Apart from that, after watching the subtitled version, the voice acting for the English version seems incredibly poor. I'm no expert on Japanese, but the characteristics of the actor's voices are wildly different between the Japanese and English versions. Ashitaka is constantly too quiet, and Minnie Driver's version of Eboshi's hearty laugh is a mere giggle. And as soon as Toki opened her mouth I could tell she was being voiced by a black woman. A black woman's voice coming from a white Japanese woman's mouth? A bit out of place, I think.

When you're watching a Japanese film, set in Japan, containing Japanese characters, you'd expect them to talk with Japanese accents and talk about Japanese things. Yet the English dubs of many of Gihbli's films seem to miss this simple fact. I don't want big-name English/American actors to do the voices, I want Japanese people with Japanese accents. Anything else is just stupid.

So, you've got your English dub sorted. Unfortunately it sucks, and doesn't do very well. This means that TV companies are less likely to show or advertise it, which means even less importance is placed on the dub of the next film. You get the idea where this is heading. One poor dub leads to another, and until proper dubs start getting made (Or people learn that subtitled animations can be worth watching), anime will continue to be kept in the dark and away from mainstream TV.

As far as I know, that's basically why anime isn't shown on mainstream TV. But perhaps I should go into more detail about why it should be shown, and in effect convince you to try some if you haven't already.

So far I've only been exposed to two animes: MCoG and Studio Gihbli. If you've got a penchant for 80's children's TV, then you should probably give MCoG a go. However if you don't, I'll save myself the trouble of trying to convince you to watch it and instead go straight for Studio Gihbli.

What makes a Ghibli film?

The first thing you're likely to see are the visuals. The backgrounds are all hand drawn on animation cells and contain immense detail. Character animation, and much of the scenery animation, is done by hand. However in recent years computers have been employed to perform some of the animation, producing breathtaking effects compared to the high-poly, low-detail fully CGI scenes presented in most CGI films. Computers are typically employed whenever 3D movement is required, for example the movement of Howl's Moving Castle or the horseback (or rather elkback) scenes in Princess Mononoke. You'll know them when you see them.

Ghibli vs. Pixar

Howl's Moving Castle (image) and Mr. Incredible (image).

Both were created with the help of computers, but it's clear which one makes for more impressive viewing.

Then there's the soundtrack. The films typically have orchestral soundtracks, which help to bring out the emotion in the scenes. Apparently the English versions (even the subtitled ones) often have more music than the Japanese originals; I don't believe this has detracted from the experience.

Then there's the characters. These are often cute or comical in appearance, for example the fuzzy Totoro or numerous Old Hags.


Kiki, from Kiki's Delivery Service

Totoro, from My Neighbour Totoro
Old Hags

Old Hags, from Porco Rosso

Then there's the storyline. Whether based an original creation or based around a book, this will cover a wide range of subjects in a no-nonsense manner. Some will have strong moral messages contained in them, for example Pom Poko. Although the storyline and constant cultural references make it one of the strangest films I've ever seen, I was still able to decipher the moral message of "Shit happens, but don't let it get you down."

It's my testicles!
"Now then, what do you think the carpet you are all sitting on is?"

No matter the subject of the film, you're always given something to think about, whether it's the message conveyed by the story or about an aspect of Japanese culture.

The show ain't over yet

So, you've gone out and watched a Studio Ghibli film or two.

Well, that's not all that's available in the wonderful world of Anime.

I'm curently awaiting the delivery of my first Ghost in the Shell DVD, and I know that I'm going to enjoy watching every minute of it.

Lilo & Stitch

Oh yes, those two.

Lilo & Stitch

Now my memory isn't exactly great, but I remember it being a bit of a departure of animation style compared to other Disney films. In fact the large-mouthed smiles remind me of Ghibli's anime, as do the colourful watercolour backgrounds. Coincidence or conspiracy? I'll leave you to decide.

(No, really. I can't be bothered researching it enough to write a proper argument :-p)

Footnote - 4/10/06

I guess the real intention of this article wasn't to tell you how great Studio Ghibli are, or about how the west has mistreated their work. I don't mind if you love them or hate them, or have different feelings to me for why you like them or not. I just want people to open their eyes and try things which they might not have considered before, and to help others by sharing experiences. There's a whole world of cool stuff out there, just waiting for you to discover it.

About this entry


Wanted: Someone who actually knows how to layout a web page.

By Jeffrey Lee
October 01, 2006 @ 1:00 am

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"Pixar on the otherhand are just riding on a gimmick. They use CGI to sell their films."

They proved it wasn't a gimmick with their first feature film - Toy Story. Their work may not be as beautiful as hand-drawn/painted animation, especially that of the Studio Ghibli films, but that doesn't matter one jot to me or millions of others. At least I can understand what's going on in a Pixar film. If that makes me dumb frankly I don't care! :) I enjoyed Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and that one where Bill Adama is one of the English voices. I would actually recommend anyone watch them without the American dubbing.

By performingmonkey
October 01, 2006 @ 5:33 am

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Well, replace "Pixar" with "All CGI studios", and "generic film I'm picking on" with "Robots", and "reasons to pick on it" with "it seemed to be trying very hard to fit as many jokes as possible into the film". Some of that goes with the territory of dilapidated robots, but the whole film just felt very... ordinary.

Perhaps some CGI films are as good as Ghibli's, but to me Ghibli's will be more attractive because they will also teach me something new.

By Jeffrey Lee
October 01, 2006 @ 12:01 pm

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Actually, I'll just go through and replace "Pixar" with "All CGI studios". Pixar's list of released films is somewhat shorter than I'd initially thought.

By Jeffrey Lee
October 01, 2006 @ 12:23 pm

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A very interesting article, although I can't get behind your anti-Pixar sentiment. I actually think that the Pixar aesthetic (as seen in The Incredibles) is a lot more engaging than the visuals in Spirited Away; it's the difference between a painting by Constable and Lichtenstein, and I personally prefer the more abstract forms of representation. As great as the Ghibli films are, I still feel that their artistic style is somewhat homogenized and similar to a lot of its contemporaries.

The increasing Japanism of characters is also an interesting point; I'm constantly noticing that video game characters that originated in Japan (Sonic The Hedgehog) who were conceived in the 1980s and early 1990s had a more western comicbook design around the time of their respective origins. However, over time, as eastern pop culture has proliferated in the West , they've transformed into a more typically anime style, with their heads and eyes growing, their bodies shrinking, and their limbs becoming longer. You can see the same happening to Mickey Mouse, too.

By Josh
October 01, 2006 @ 12:40 pm

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A few fair points in the article, but I can't help thinking it's over-simplifying to say "Ghibli good, Pixar bad". Without the enthusiasm of Pixar's John Lassiter we might never have seen these films at all, as he has been heavily involved in bringing Hayao Miyazaki's films over to the west - Disney had held the rights to the Ghibli back catalogue for years but did nothing with them. He also personally oversaw the English dubbing of Spirited Away, which for my money is the best dub of an anime ever produced.

Also, of all the CG movies produced in the last decade, why single out The Incredibles? It's surely in a completely different league from such dreck as Monster House, Over The Hedge and (shudder) Polar Express.

By Phil_A
October 01, 2006 @ 2:14 pm

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Great article. My own anime experience is just a notch above zilch (I used to watch a programming block early in the morning on Saturdays some years ago...but damned if I remember any of it) but it was a good read and that's all that I ask. (Nice length, too.) Welcome aboard and I look forward to more.

(I'm in your corner on the Pixar/Hollywood CGI films, too...I'm not saying they're all junk or anything, but a lot of them certainly do reek of that "What can we do next?" "Oh, I know...we can do robots/fish/cars/whatever," and then building a movie around it. Just doesn't do it for me.)

By Philip J Reed, VSc
October 01, 2006 @ 3:21 pm

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"A few fair points in the article, but I can't help thinking it's over-simplifying to say "Ghibli good, Pixar bad"."

I didn't say Pixar was bad - I simply said Ghibli was better :)

John Lassiter has certainly done a lot of good work to bring Ghibli films to a western audience, but that doesn't change the fact that I find Ghibli's work to be more impressive, both in terms of visuals and story.

"Also, of all the CG movies produced in the last decade, why single out The Incredibles? It's surely in a completely different league from such dreck as Monster House, Over The Hedge and (shudder) Polar Express."

I wasn't singling it out, I was merely using it as an example of the differences between the two animation styles. Besides, it makes much more sense to compare two good movies than to cheat and compare one bad against one good.

By Jeffrey Lee
October 01, 2006 @ 3:44 pm

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"(I'm in your corner on the Pixar/Hollywood CGI films, too...I'm not saying they're all junk or anything, but a lot of them certainly do reek of that "What can we do next?" "Oh, I know...we can do robots/fish/cars/whatever," and then building a movie around it. Just doesn't do it for me.)"

Praise the lord!

By Jeffrey Lee
October 01, 2006 @ 3:46 pm

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To be fair, there's a lot more to anime than just Ghibli. In fact, I'm in what I'd assume to be the minority of anime fans who can't stand Ghibli films. To me, they do more or less the same as Disney/Pixar, creating all-ages films with mass visual appeal and uncomplicated thematics. They do it through different means, but it's the same mandate, and I more than had my fill of it when I was a kid.

I think what you're doing is focusing on aesthetics too much as a vindication of the medium. Stylistically, Pixar and Ghibli are miles apart, but that's not to suggest one is lazier than the other. Anime virtually invented cheap animation, you only have to look at an episode of pokemon to see just how lazy they can get, with simple 2-frame animation, pans of still images replacing actual animation, and heavy use of stock footage. If someone doesn't watch western animation, there's nothing that'll convince them that anime is going to give them any better watching, and especially if they're concentrating on the look of it above all else.

Primarily, what attracts me to most anime is the story. The main reason anime is better than american animation in that sense is because it's able to do cartoons that aren't expressly for children. Occasionally that means you end up with relentless sex and gore, but other times you'll end up with sci-fi epics like Ghost in the Shell which it takes western cinema studios years to catch up with. The ongoing-yet-serialised nature of anime is virtually the template for shows like Lost and Battlestar Galactica. Syndicated TV in the US used to be obsessed with making each episode stand alone (Star Trek: TNG being the absolute worst example) but these days, the shows are increasingly being written to reward long-term involvement - an idea anime nailed decades ago.

Satoshi Kon's Paranoia Agent is a fantastic example of an adult serial anime that realistically couldn't have been done in any other format. Genshiken is an example of an anime that doesn't necessarily look better than western animation, but that wouldn't have been made over here. Anime as a medium is no different from western animation, it's just that the respect for it is far greater so you get work much better - and much worse - coming out of Japan.

By James H
October 01, 2006 @ 4:26 pm

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"To me, they do more or less the same as Disney/Pixar, creating all-ages films with mass visual appeal and uncomplicated thematics."

You say that like it's a bad thing!

Also, I think you do Ghibli a disservice. Films like "Mononoke" and "Grave Of The Fireflies" are not just simplistic tales of right and wrong.

I'm afraid to say I thought "Ghost In The Shell" was horribly overrated - all style with a bare minimum of substance. For me it falls into the same category as "Blood, The Last Vampire". Both are technically accomplished, but ultimately have to very little to offer below the surface.

By Phil_A
October 01, 2006 @ 4:54 pm

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"To be fair, there's a lot more to anime than just Ghibli."

You're right, but Ghibli is the only one I've been able to see so far. I could write about anime I haven't seen, but that would just make this article even more wildly inaccurate :)

"I think what you're doing is focusing on aesthetics too much as a vindication of the medium."

This is true. I think I'm just glad that not everyone has given up on hand-drawn animation.

By Jeffrey Lee
October 01, 2006 @ 5:32 pm

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You say that like it's a bad thing!

Well, that's because to me, it is. They're good at what they do, that's fine, but I don't want to watch those kind of films. Grave of the fireflies is good, and if anything that's the one Ghibli film I do appreciate, but it's not necessarily superior to something like When the Wind Blows simply because it's anime and it looks better. I'm not saying all ages films can't be deep, it's just that if you want to do something properly, why place restrictions on yourself? A question like that goes all the way to the root of art, though - I'm just satisfied enough admitting that Ghibli's films don't appeal to me, and it's not like I haven't given them enough chances.

"Ghost In The Shell" was horribly overrated.

I can see why you'd think that, but if you do, then you're probably missing a lot of context. Taken alone, GitS is an excellent piece of futurist action. Taken in context, and you can see how it opened doors, both for anime in the west (and east), and for films like The Matrix which doesn't so much pay homage, as outright rip it off. At the time, it was one of, if not the best-looking anime ever to get a full-length cinematic release, but to call it style over substance is a bit harsh. Oshii is obviously deeply into the philosophical side of the source work, such that his sequel to it resorts to quoting philosophers, with sources. I can't imagine how you missed that side of the film - the substance you say it lacks (unless you watched the dub ;-). To call Ghost in the Shell "overrated" is, without wanting to get too abrasive, simply wrong. You might not like it, but crticially and artistically there's no denying what it did, even if it's no longer the best example of that. Without Akira and Ghost in the Shell, the chances we'd ever have seen films from Ghibli get a cinematic release in the west are virtually nil. I agree with you about Blood, though.

By James H
October 01, 2006 @ 5:35 pm

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Yeah, I might like what Pixar do but other studios certainly DID jump on the CG bandwagon and it's resulted in a large number of shit, forgettable films like 'Robots', 'A Fucking Shark Tale' (or whatever it's called) and 'Chicken Little' and YES people have flocked to see these because of Pixar's movies which made everyone thing CG movies = automatically great which obviously is NOT SO!!! A shit movie is a shit movie whether it's hand-drawn animation, CG, a live-action short featuring chimpanzees dubbed by American comedians, whatever. Stunt casting, bad scripts full of 'adult jokes' that aren't actually funny, or adult, and pop-culture references that are even old by the time the movie hits (this happens sometimes because it's a long time between the scripting/dialogue recording and the movie's release)

The only non-Pixar CG film I've actually enjoyed is (no, not Shrek, which is what you moronic mentallers THOUGHT I was going to say, oh yes it was, don't lie to yourself) Over The Hedge. Yet, I enjoyed the Wallace and Gromit movie much more, so what does that say?

By performingmonkey
October 05, 2006 @ 2:39 am

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Over The Hedge?

That is the *only* film I've ever walked out on. I thought it was fucking awful. There was absolutely nothing to recommend it.

By John Hoare
October 05, 2006 @ 2:56 am

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There was absolutely nothing to recommend it.

I haven't seen it, but I can easily disagree because Ben Folds did a bunch of new songs for the soundtrack AND the end credits have a new version of Rockin' the Suburbs with a William Shatner interlude that is fucking GENIUS. Of course, you can easily download buy the soundtrack and forget the film.

By James H
October 05, 2006 @ 11:53 am

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Ghost in the Shell (well, the sequel sucked) and Akira were good films. If you want action and, um, interesting plots, definitely go for the space-based Cowboy Bebop - it's about a bounty hunter and his interestingly assorted crew. There's a film with English dubbing but the original series is much better. It's funny and classy and well made, and well worth it. One of the best anime series I know, hands down.

By Jason Togneri
October 05, 2006 @ 9:35 pm

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In fact, I'm in what I'd assume to be the minority of anime fans who can't stand Ghibli films. To me, they do more or less the same as Disney/Pixar, creating all-ages films with mass visual appeal and uncomplicated thematics. They do it through different means, but it's the same mandate, and I more than had my fill of it when I was a kid.

Now that I've seen Ghost in the Shell, I can certainly see how you could feel that way. GitS and Ghibli are two very different animals, both in terms of subject matter and presentation.

By Jeffrey Lee
October 06, 2006 @ 12:51 am

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I thought Over The Hedge was funny. I don't give a fuck what any of you think. Obviously I haven't seen all of the countless CG cash-ins of recent years but I know that Over The Hedge was pretty good compared with most of them.

By performingmonkey
October 06, 2006 @ 11:47 pm

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Well, this is the thing. *I* haven't seen all the countless CG cash-ins either. In fact, I haven't even watched all of Pixar's films...

All I know is that the first 20 minutes bored me to tears more than any other film I've ever seen.

By John Hoare
October 09, 2006 @ 3:31 am

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For those wondering exactly what Pom Poko is like, they'll be glad to hear that it's being shown on FilmFour this sunday at 15:00.

At the moment it looks like they're showing a different Ghibli film every couple of weeks or so, so if you keep watching the listings you might find one that you like.

By Jeffrey Lee
November 09, 2006 @ 8:14 pm

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I like your article. I've actually been watching Ghibli stuff since I was somewhat young. (10 Possibly) my friends older brother got me into it. And I have to agree, Ghibli is an amazing company, they know how to write a story, or rather, Miyazaki knows how to write a story. (They're all a part in it I suppose.) Anyways, I agree with your view on CGI, and lately I have been complaining about the surge of CGI movies since 2003. If you Wiki "Computer Animated Movies" It will give you a list....a long list, of some that have come out, and are coming out. To put is simply, we haven't even seen the begining of the flood of CGI.

Either way, I really enjoyed reading this.

By Kyle
December 31, 2006 @ 9:59 pm

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Either way, I really enjoyed reading this.


I convinced my parents to watch Spirited Away on Saturday. It seemed to hold their attention OK (i.e. neither of them fell asleep), and although it obviously isn't a comedy film there were plenty of chuckles at Chihiro's antics and the strange creatures. Having said that, I have convinced them to watch (and enjoy) a few Ghibli films in the past, so they already had an idea of what they were letting themselves in for.

One thing's for certain though - the English dub actually seemed quite good!

By Jeffrey Lee
January 01, 2007 @ 8:01 pm

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