Sunday Lists: Hayao Miyazaki, Directed Films Ranked

Hayao Miyazaki List

January 5th marked the 78th birthday of one of the best Japanese animator and filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki. I don’t watch a lot of Japanese stuff in general but I grew up with Studio Ghibli films so some of these hold very close to my heart. There is this fantastic magical and fantasy world that he manages to create.

With that said, there is no better way than to kick off this year’s first Sunday Lists with a list of Hayao Miyazaki’s Directed Films ranked from what I think is the best to the the not so great ones, because lets be honest, there is no worst. Even the last choice here wasn’t a bad film just didn’t execute as well as the others or connect as well with me.

There are a few films not seen yet. The list will be updated over time.

*Only full feature animated films DIRECTED by Hayao Miyazaki has been included here*

1. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

my neighbor totoro

My first Miyazaki film in my memory is My Neighbor Totoro and it has never stopped being my favorite. I know the movie almost by heart, the Cantonese dubbed version dialogue almost all memorized. Its about family and its charming. The little girls are adorable and the Totoro super cute. There are some heartwarming moments and some hilarious ones as well. It balances light-hearted and heartbreaking moments. Its cute and serious in equal measures. Plus, how do you beat a CatBus? You just can’t!

2. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

kiki's delivery service

I love cats and witches. Kiki’s Delivery Service is a well-rounded film as well. I remember there was a phase in the early stages when I had some crappy blogging server somewhere that I had used Kiki has my name. Watching this one when I was a kid was a ride for sure. Witches weren’t evil, they were nice and helpful. This one is  fun little trip full of charm whether its the people that Kiki meets on her deliveries or her learning how to be independent.

3. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

howl's moving castle

Howl’s Moving Castle is based on a children’s novel which actually diverts quite far from its source material a fair bit especially when interpreting Howl’s character. However, maybe it has to do with this being the first Miyazaki film that I saw in theatres and the enchantment that comes from the big screen but this is one film that I love watching over and over again. Because of that, this film is filled with charm. It does get a tad dark and scary here and there but its so magical as well.

4. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

nausicaa

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind that makes me think about how Miyazaki is quite before his time in story telling as you can see how this film set the bar for his career, whether its the female characters he uses or the world that he creates. At the heart of it all, Nausicaa is about a world that has fallen apart environmentally and Nausicaa is trying to find a way to revive it while at the same time, nature has revolted in an unexpected way and she needs to find a way to solve the mystery of what happened. Its such a beautiful film. The only reason its placed lower is because its one that took me a second or third viewing when I was older to fully appreciate its message and its story.

5. Spirited Away (2001)

spirited away

Spirited Away is what put Miyazaki on the map along with Studio Ghibli. Its quite a feat when we think about it. In fact, there is so much to love here. I like this one a lot also. It has dragons and fantastical creatures and some pretty hilarious moments intertwined with a story about reuniting family, gluttony and life in general. Its colorful and beautiful and there are such charming array of characters wrapped up in this one story.

6. Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)

laputa castle in the sky

I know a lot of people who would put Laputa really high up or even consider this one their favorite Miyazaki film. I don’t disagree with that at all. Laputa: Castle in the Sky is beautiful, especially once we arrive at the castle in the sky and all the events that happen from there on out.  It has a cast of silly bandits and a gentle robot and the castle design itself is so detailed and intricate. The only deal is that I’ve never been prone to watch this one a lot but I always enjoyed it whenever someone puts it on.

7. The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

castle of cagliostro

I saw The Castle of Cagliostro because of a blogathon a few years back when it was looking at a debut of a director. I always thought Miyazaki started out his career with Nausicaa but before the existence of Studio Ghibli, he had created The Castle of Cagliostro adapted/based on the Japanese manga Lupin III. Its crime and comedy mixed together for this film and boy is it an adventure. The debut of Miyazaki is a fine start. There are its flaws with this one in terms of storytelling and pacing but there is still a ton of heart and charm.

8. Ponyo (2008)

ponyo

Ponyo is something like Miyazaki’s version of The Little Mermaid fairy tale story which takes a little fish girl who becomes human and meets a little boy. Its so adorable and imaginative. It takes this angle of making the creative angle of the tsunami and then links the whole story together. It is actually quite clever.

9. The Wind Rises (2013)

the wind rises

I saw the premiere of The Wind Rises at TIFF a few years back, the same year that Miyazaki announced his retirement in 2013 (of course, now we know that he has decided to not retire and is working on his next film). Putting aside the ridiculous couple next to me who sobbed the entire movie from start to finish who was incredibly annoying, The Wind Rises is a passion project of  Miyazaki’s and you can see it by the subject he chooses to take as he tells the story of World War II engineer who designs the fighter aircraft. His love for aircrafts and his country and his admiration for Jiro Horikoshi is all highly visible in his work. My issue here is that I don’t share the same admiration and for that, the story falls a little short of what I liked. Its not a bad film in any means because the animation, the visuals, the character designs and the music all work well. I just failed to connect with it but that is the risk of making a passion project film.

Not Seen or Can’t Remember

Conan The Future Boy: The Big Giant Robot’s Ressurrection (1984)
Porco Rosso (1992)
Princess Mononoke (1997)

How would you rank Hayao Miyazaki’s film?
Which one of his directed feature films is your fave?

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Genre Grandeur – Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984) – Tranquil Dreams

Check out my entry for April’s Genre Grandeur over at MovieRob’s for the genre, Dystopian movies. My choice, after some thought goes out to the 1984 Miyazaki film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

Having the chance to rewatch any Miyazaki movies is always a joy. This one holds a special place in my heart and this future world is one that sends us an important message possibly even more relevant today about the environment and our world than back in the day when this was released 🙂

MovieRob

dystopia__

For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Dystopian Movies, here’s a review of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984) by Kim of  Tranquil Dreams

Thanks again to James of Back to the Viewer for choosing this month’s genre.

Next month’s Genre has been chosen by S.G. Liput of Rhyme and Reason.  We will be reviewing our favorite fantasy/sci-fi animated movies (non-Disney or Pixar) . Please get me your submissions by 25th May by sending them to animated@movierob.net  Try to think out of the box! Great choice S.G.!

Let’s see what Kim thought of this movie:

__________________________

nausicaa of the valley of the wind poster

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Voice Cast (English version): Alison Lohman, Patrick Stewart, Shia Lebeouf, Uma Thurman, Edward James Olmos

Over a thousand years has past since the “Seven Days of Fire” has destroyed the world.  Human civilization can now only survive in…

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TIFF 2013: The Wind Rises (2013)

After being able to get my tickets for Hayao Miyazaki‘s newest animation The Wind Rises, the news that it was his last movie came out that evening (at least when I knew about it). It made the whole wait so much more worthwhile and the excitement to see this tripled (if not more).  The showing I saw was the last showing on the last day of TIFF at 9am in the morning.  Right before I had to head back home.

the wind rises poster1

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Cast: Hideaki Anno, Mirai Shida, Jun Kunimura, Miori Takimoto, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Masahiko Nishimura

Based on the life of Jiro Horikoshi who was the chief engineer of Japanese fighter plane designs, the story is about his life as a young boy who dreamed to be a pilot but due to his nearsightedness, he learned that he could be a aeronautical engineer.  He followed his passions and graduated which lead him to work in Mitsubishi Combustion Engine Company Ltd.  From there, we look at his life and his genius talents of creating the jets that would eventually fight in World War II and his path to the success to his first creation.

Le vent se leve. Il faut tenter de vivre – Paul Valery

That quote on the top is the essence of the movie based on a quote by Paul Valery translated: The wind rises, we must try to live.

To be clear, I’m not a very knowledgeable person of Japan’s historical figures especially not during World War II.   Therefore, how accurate this story is of Jiro Horikoshi is unknown to me but doing a bit of research before writing this up, its apparently very much fictionalized.  Probably because of the romance thats inserted in it and well certain events, such as the roots of his imagination and creation that inspires and motivates him throughout the movie.

the wind rises 2

As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of Miyazaki.  Above everything, this movie was a feast for your eyes.  The animation is absolutely stunning.  I’ll try to show a few of the screenshots that don’t reveal too much as to not ruin the experience if and when you end up seeing it.  As we move through Jiro’s life, we see the background color match the tone that the movie wants to take.  Every scenery, catastrophe, backdrop, etc, every single detail is done really well. Its enchanting at times and dramatic at others.

the wind rises 3

One of the first things that captured me was the passion. You can feel the love of airplanes in Jiro.  His love for everything related to it and the aspiration to be the first to make Japan stand out instead of being called copycats of European technology.  The conversations between the characters left with a bit of irony at times but also a lot of encouraging messages to follow your dream especially because time is limited (to sum it up).  Its interesting to see the portrayal of the main character be absorbed in the way that not only in real life, he revolves around figuring out how to make great fighter planes but also he would dream and visualize his plans as he draws them.  I’m not an engineer so I wonder if thats how the thought process works.

the wind rises 1

The supporting characters themselves, aside from Jiro are charismatic and give us a lot to love.  They bring in an array of emotions that really touch the audiences heart whether through laughter, smiles or even sorrow.  I actually enjoyed the introduction of how he meets his love interest and the things that they did.  The concept of living despite the hindrances in life that do occur.  Being able to balance between passion and love and understanding how to do things with no regret.

the wind rises 4

If I were to criticize one thing for The Wind Rises, I’d have to say that the story falls short a little.  I found the story still very well done but its not as clean cut and easy to understand as other Miyazaki movies.  In this one, the years jump forward unannounced throughout the movie and we have to assume the time frame that everything happens and for a bit in the middle, it somewhat drags a little.  Maybe it was because I was tired but I’ve never felt that way for any Miyazaki movies before.  Although, having an overemotional couple sitting next to me sniffling even in the not yet dramatic part all the way till the end did affect my overall movie experience.  However, only for that little while of about a 15 minute frame, it felt a bit longer but before and after that part, the story is engaging to watch.

the wind rises 5

I can’t help to think that this also includes a farewell to the audience especially when the dialogue of artist saying something about an artist’s creativity peaks for 10 years or something along those lines.  Plus, he places an artist in the movie as well. Maybe there’s more to it.  I probably will have to get it when it eventually comes out and watch it again to grasp the meaning a bit more.

The Wind Rises may have a bit of a little not as fluent storytelling, however the way its told is compelling and engaging.  Witnessing the events that affected Japan as they slipped downwards and the sudden preparation for WWII in the background of giving the biopic of Jiro Horikoshi. Even though it may be fictional, Jiro’s portrayal was done well and also supported by a great set of characters. I recommend this movie because of the passionate “follow your dream” messages as well as the visually stunning animations that almost bring every devastation to success to life whether it be humans, animals, planes, nature and other landscapes.

**On the side note, this being Miyazaki’s last film affects me quite a bit.  Its also contributes to bit of bittersweet feeling as the movie was ending.  As much as I’d love for him to continue making movies, he is getting older and after listening to a bit of his press conference, I somewhat understand that its probably what he feels he needs.  This project really reflects him and his passion for airplanes, especially his respect and praise for Jiro Horikoshi. I’m really grateful that I managed to see this on the big screen.  If you happen to get a chance to see it, I urge you to try and get tickets!**

Debuts Blogathon: Hayao Miyazaki – Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

I had the fantastic opportunity of being part of the Debuts Blogathon hosted by Christ at Terry Malloy’s Pigeon Coop and Mark at Three Rows Back. Its about picking the first film of a director and looking at how they have evolved as a director compared to the films afterwards. My obvious choice was Hayao Miyazaki‘s Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro.

Have a read and hope you enjoy it 🙂 Remember to check out both of their blogs and read the other blogathon entries!

Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop

DEBUTS COLLAGE 4

Today’s post in the Debuts Blogathon, hosted by myself and Three Rows Back, comes from Kim at Tranquil Dreams. Kim’s blog covers a wide variety of stuff, not just films, which makes it a really excellent, eclectic read. Here she’s tackling the legendary Hayao Miyazaki and his debut feature, Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro…

HAYAO MIYAZAKI

Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

Hayao Miyazaki`s debut Lupin the Third:The Castle of Cagliostro was the only movie that was not affiliated with Studio Ghibli however, it was good enough to get him involved with bigger project. The Castle of Cagliostro is about Lupin, a 3rd generation thief that encounters with his partner a pursuit of a girl that they end up saving and losing again.  However, she leaves behind a ring with a goal symbol on it that Lupin recognizes associated with the Castle of Cagliostro…

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My FIRST: One Lovely Blog Award Nomination

I’m still feeling a bit dazed and confused right now.  My first award…its been about one year and 10 months that I’ve been blogging and I’ve read millions of posts about others getting awards and it never occurred to me that it’d happen to me…and it has.  Give me a few moments to wrap my head around this…I’m just happy!

First of all, I’d like to thank Aan at Sigoese for the One Lovely Blog Award Nomination.  I haven’t followed his blog for a long time but he has some amazing content that goes up. You definitely need to check it out.

These are the rules below, as copied from Sigoese for the nominees to follow:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Add The One Lovely Blog Award to your post
  3. Share 7 things about yourself
  4. Pass the award on to 15 nominees
  5. Include this set of rules
  6. Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blogs

Seven Thing About Me:

1) I love music a lot: I play the piano, sing, and am learning guitar (very slowly) and I listen to music every single day.

2) My love for Dragonboat is the reason and motivation that I exercise and train.

3) I am a collector of  Disney(Pixar included) movies and Hayao Miyazaki animations.

4) I have a digestive disorder that makes me sensitive to caffeine, lactose, MSG, and a whole bunch of random vegetables and foods.

5) I believe that crafty DIY gifts mean so much more than any store-bought gift.

6) I watch too many TV series that I can’t possibly catch up anymore (Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy, The Mentalist, Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, and some other guilty pleasures like Gossip Girl, etc.).

7) I hate having a cellphone (even if its a necessity) because I see it as a tracking device on my whereabouts.

Now, on to 15 blogs I’d like to nominate:

  1. Thirdeyemom
  2. Lead.Learn.Live
  3. Head In A Vice
  4. 50 Year Project
  5. The Wish Factor
  6. Crazy Train To Tinky Town
  7. Sethsnap
  8. Homemade with Mess
  9. Bucket List Publications
  10. Ali Does It Herself
  11. A Word in Your Ear
  12. Ridha’s Kitchen
  13. Salt and Serenity
  14. Modern Home Kitchen
  15. A Nature Mom

If you are interested in movies, recipes, photography, crafts, travels and adventures, at least one of those blogs will fulfill.  Thanks again to Sigoese for the wonderful nomination!

Weekly Writing Challenge: A Splash of Colour (and more…)

I missed THREE challenges already.  I’m shaking my head at myself now.  This is the fourth week and I will be doing it.

I really want to do last week’s writing challenge, I just never got around to finishing it up.  I have to start budgeting in time to do these.  They require a bit more thinking than the normal post I do usually.  So this week, it will be a double feature with last week’s And Now For Something Completely Different and this week’s A Splash of Colour.

WEEKLY WRITING CHALLENGE: A SPLASH OF COLOUR

How do you choose one colour to splash? My brain is processing thoughts in different colours (especially after the two photo challenges the last two weeks).  So let me give you a few snippets of my palette of colours!

PURPLE

The shades of purple are the significance of my youth.  It reminds me of the times when my mom did my shopping when I was a little girl.  It was the days when I dressed in puffy little princess dresses and was young, innocent and naive.  The days when life hadn’t taken away so much of my energy and passion for living (something this blog and reading everyone else’s blog has helped bring back).  I broke out of that phase pretty much in purple and my palette after that was dark shades of blue and black all the time.

I don’t know what happened in between but life has brought me back to the love for purple.  Although it is a darker shade of purple, my room (as of 2007) is not a nice shade of lavender purple.  My clothes and accessories are preferred when in the shade of light purple, violet, dark purple.  This happened before I even acknowledged that maybe the things you loved when you were a child never really leave you.  Or is it simple a wave of nostalgia?

YELLOW ORANGE & RED

Man, that font was painful for me in test run.  So I just decided to spare you all painful eyes.  Yellow was for walking into my front yard before work and noticing that despite frost a few days, the yellow chrysanthemums are still alive and brightening up my almost hibernating garden.

In regards to the garden, other than the chrysanthemums, orange and red are around as the leaves are changing colors as fall comes in.  I just noticed that I had fall colours just in my front yard and around my neighborhood, the maple trees were looking really pretty that I wanted to double back on my way to the bus stop to get my camera and snap a shot (but I didn’t have time).  Fall colors are in my mind right now! Red for all the leaves, Orange for the leaves and pumpkins, and yellow for the beautiful strong chrysanthemum’s.

GREEN

GREEN EGGS AND HAM! Who has read that book and enjoyed it immensely? My boyfriend bought me Your Favorite Seuss: A Baker’s Dozen by the One and Only Dr. Seuss two years ago for Christmas.  Silly as it may be. Green is grass and moss and all these natural beauties, but thinking about Green Eggs and Ham makes me happy.  Its about trying new things pretty much and to not pass judgement until you’d tried it on your own.  Such a simple story with such a meaningful moral behind it.  Maybe its also to just encourage us to be adventurous. Actually, there is brunch chain around here called Ben and Florentine’s (not sure where it originated) but it even has Green Eggs and Ham on its menu.  I’ve never tried it, but I’m definitely curious.

“You do not like them.  So you say.  Try them! Try them! And you may.  Try them and you may, I say”- Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham

WEEKLY WRITING CHALLENGE: AND FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

This was incomplete last week so I didn’t end up posting it up but I made changes this time around.  The point was that I had wanted to add a thing or two to this blog.  I have been thinking about it for a while and wondering how to make a few changes so that I can have more content for all of you.  Another passion I don’t share with everyone is my love for reading.  I have recently linked my Goodreads account here and it was my first step in starting to do something different–Book Reviews.

What made last week so hard to finish was the fact that I had coincidentally finished The Phantom of the Opera.  That book is hard to review because there was a lot of aspects to reviewing classics.  I wasn’t exactly sure how to form it.  I will work on that though.  For this time though, I’d like to bring your attention to a review of the book mentioned above: Your Favorite Dr. Seuss: A Baker’s Dozen by the one and only Dr. Seuss.

Book Review: Your Favorite Dr. Seuss: A Baker’s Dozen by the one and only Dr. Seuss

This book is a hardcover compilation of 12 favorites of Dr. Seuss.  I like the majority of Dr. Seuss but these ones are quite good. There is Green Eggs and Ham (mentioned above), How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Horton Hears a Who and my all-time favorite, The Lorax just for starters.  It also had Mulberry Street, If I Ran a Zoo, McElligot’s Pool,  The Cat in the Hat, Yertle the Turtle, Happy Birthday to you!, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! and The Sneetches. If none of these works as bedtime stories, here’s another one included: Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book.

If this book is for children, it has fantastic collection for bedtime stories.  I can tell you nostalgia affects me here because I may not have kids but I read the stories out loud to myself before bed sometimes.  Its quite soothing and enjoyable.  The world of adventure and make believe words and creativity is what envelopes you.  That is the magic of Dr. Seuss!

The value of Dr. Seuss to me is equivalent to the Hayao Miyazaki of children’s book.  Hayao Miyazaki’s movies always have a message behind what he write and its his inspiration and creativity.  It has positive traits to grab from any situation. Dr. Seuss does the same thing in his children’s books.  He gives us positive stories.

Other than the stories that are in this, it also has little write ups from people who knew Dr. Seuss and talked about the particular views and interpretations of each of the stories after each one.  Its an interesting read.

So how was that? Just an idea of a book review until I figure out how to make it better.  It should come in effect by next year! Challenging and fun to do something different!

So what do you think about my additional segment in my blog? The occasional book review sounds like a decent idea? I’m actually thinking of maybe tying it in with the other parts.  I still have a bit of time before the new year arrives.

Another thing! BIG THANK YOU to you all for reading this whole writing challenge.  I will strive really hard to do this on time from now on.  I’ll leave you with a few quotes a la Dr. Seuss! Enjoy!

UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”-The Lorax

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”-Happy Birthday to You!

So be sure where you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.  And never mix up your right foot with your left. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.) KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!”-Oh, The Places You’ll Go!