Well, for my 50th post, it has to be something special. And, what better than the inimitable, Studio Ghibli.
If you’re unfamiliar with them, they are a Japanese animation house who produce some of the most original and sumptuously animated movies you will ever see.
Of course, I only really got into them because I have children, (both of whom love their films). But I would argue that any adult could watch their movies and enjoy them – they are that unique.
What I don’t want to do is get into a critique of all their films that I like. So, suffice it to say, just trust me, and try and watch as many of their films as possible – even if you don’t have kids.
How I think they differ from western animation houses is that they draw upon Japanese folklore, which is new to us and makes for very unusual storylines. Not only that, but the colours seem so much richer and vivid than what we are used to.
Another thing I love about them is that their leading protagonists tend to be girls. Which is good for my children.
A young girl has to enter a spirit world in order to save her parents from being permanently turned into pigs.
Totoro is a giant forest spirit who comes to the aid of two young girls who have moved to the countryside with their father while their sick mother recuperates in hospital.
Sophie starts out as an 18-year-old hat maker, but then a witch’s curse transforms her into a 90-year-old grey-haired woman. Sophie is horrified by the change at first. Nevertheless, she learns to embrace it as a liberation from anxiety, fear and self-consciousness. She begins cleaning for the powerful wizard, Howl. And soon finds she is more and more attracted to him. But can she break the curse, not just on her, but Howl too?
Ponyo is a fish who befriends a boy and desperately wants to become human.
Sheeta is wanted by a ruthless government agent who wants her magic amulet which will help him control the once mighty kingdom of Laputa. Aided by her faithful friend, Pazu and a gang of flying pirates, they have to thwart the dastardly, Muska.
A young witch goes out into the world to make it for herself and sets up a delivery service.
Absolutely heartbreaking story of two brothers trying to survive the aftermath of the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan.
Some other titles that are worth mentioning: The Cat Returns, Whisper of the Heart, Princess Mononoke, Arrietty and Tales from Earth Sea.