Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is a 1984 Japanese anime film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, based on his 1982 manga. It was animated by Tokuma Shoten and Hakuhodo. Joe Hisaishi composed the score. The film stars the voices of Sumi Shimamoto, Goro Naya, Yoji Matsuda, Yoshiko Sakakibara, and Iemasa Kayumi. Taking place in a future post-apocalyptic world, the film tells the story of Nausicaä, the young princess of the Valley of the Wind. She becomes embroiled in a struggle with Tolmekia, a kingdom that tries to use an ancient weapon to eradicate a jungle full of mutant giant insects.
Robot Carnival is a Japanese anthology original video animation released in 1987 by A.P.P.P.. In North America, it was released in 1991 in theaters by Streamline Pictures with the order of the segments slightly rearranged.
The film consists of nine shorts by different well-known directors, many of whom started out as animators with little to no directing experience. Each has a distinctive animation style and story ranging from comedic to dramatic storylines. The music was composed by Joe Hisaishi and Isaku Fujita and arranged by Joe Hisaishi, Isaku Fujita, and Masahisa Takeichi.
The Opening & Ending segments were directed by Katsuhiro Otomo and animated by Atsuko Fukushima.
Franken’s Gears was directed and animated by Koji Morimoto.
Deprive was directed and animated by Hidetoshi Ōmori.
Presence was directed and animated by Yasuomi Umetsu. Additional animation by Shinsuke Terasawa and Hideki Nimura.
Star Light Angel was directed and animated by Hiroyuki Kitazume.
Cloud was directed and animated by Mao Lamdo. Additional animation by Hatsune Ōhashi and Shiho Ōhashi.
Strange Tales of Meiji Machine Culture: Westerner’s Invasion was directed by Hiroyuki Kitakubo and animated by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Kazuaki Mōri, Yuji Moriyama and Kumiko Kawana.
Chicken Man and Red Neck was directed and animated by Takashi Nakamura.
A farmer walking in the woods is frightened away by a shapeshifting fox, who then disguises himself as a samurai and makes his way to a temple, haunted by a young shapeshifting tanuki whose various attempts to frighten the fox/samurai away fail. The young tanuki telephones his father, and they join forces against the samurai.
In old Japan, foxes and tanuki (Asian raccoons) were considered to have almost mystical powers of disguise, deception, and trickery. In this cartoon, a fox disguised as a samurai uses its magic against a mother-and-child pair of tanuki at a ruined temple. The drawing style shows the influence of Max Fleischer on early Japanese animation.
Manga: Kobutori is based on a Japanese Folktale entitled Kobutori Jiisan and is about an old man who lost his lump after joining a party of demons celebrate and dance for a night. The tale is a rendition of a tale about a woodcutter from the early 13th-century anthology Uji Shūi Monogatari.
An old man has a lump or tumor on his face. In the mountains he encounters a band of tengu making merry and joins their dancing. He pleases them so much that they want him to join them the next night, and offer a gift for him. In addition, they take the lump off his face, thinking that he will want it back and therefore have to join them the next night. An unpleasant neighbor, who also has a lump, hears of the old man’s good fortune and attempts to repeat it, and steal the gift. The tengu, however, simply give him the first lump in addition to his own, because they are disgusted by his bad dancing, and because he tried to steal the gift.
Mickey Mouse is represented here as something completely different:
Pure American imperialist evil.
At least he does in this 1934 animated propaganda cartoon Omochabako series dai san wa: Ehon senkya-hyakusanja-rokunen (Toybox Series 3: Picture Book 1936) by Komatsuzawa Hajime. It’s a convoluted title, but pretty simple in plot. An island of cute critters (including one Felix the Cat clone) is attacked from the air by an army of Mickey Mouses (Mickey Mice?) riding bats and assisted by crocodiles and snakes that act like machine guns. The frightened creatures call on the heroes of Japanese storybooks and folk legends to help them, from Momotaro (“Peach Boy”) and Kintaro (“Golden Boy”) to Issun-boshi (“One Inch Boy”) and Benkei, a warrior monk, to send Mickey packing. The not-so-subtle message: Mickey Mouse may be your hero, America, but our characters are older, more numerous, and way more beloved. Our pop culture is older than yours!
Avatar: The Last Airbender is set in an Asiatic-like world in which some people can manipulate one of the four elements—water, earth, fire, or air—with telekinetic variants of the Chinese martial arts known as “bending”. The only individual who can bend all four elements, the “Avatar”, is responsible for maintaining harmony between the world’s four nations, and serves as the bridge between the spirit world and the physical world. The show is presented in a style that combines anime with American cartoons, and relies on the imagery of mainly East Asian culture, with some South Asian, New World, and Inuit and Sireniki influences.
As with its predecessor, the series is set in a fictional universe in which some people can manipulate, or “bend”, the elements of water, earth, fire, or air. Only one person, the “Avatar,” can bend all four elements, and is responsible for maintaining balance in the world. The series follows Avatar Korra, the successor of Aang from the previous series, as she faces political and spiritual unrest in a modernizing world.
I recently had the pleasure of re-watching this wonderful animated fantasy fairy tale and came to the realization that I had never posted it on my blog, so I decided I had better do so. This is one of my favorite animated stories, and I have always felt that Spirited Away is as good a story as Frank L. Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz or Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, complete with fantastic imagery and fantastic imaginative characters. I love a story that can transport you from the comforts of your living room directly to a reality conjured up by dreams and imagination, despite of age and countless other factors. I remember watching films like this as a child and hoping that one day I could take an amazing adventure through my own fantasy world of interesting characters.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find many clips of the film, but if you are interested in watching Spirited Away in its entirety, you can either find it on HBO Max or on YouTube:
Spirited Away is a 2001 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and animated by Studio Ghibli. The film stars Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki, Takeshi Naito, Yasuko Sawaguchi, Tsunehiko Kamijō, Takehiko Ono, and Bunta Sugawara. Spirited Away tells the story of Chihiro Ogino, a 10-year-old girl who, while moving to a new neighborhood, enters the world of Kami (spirits of Japanese Shinto folklore). After her parents are turned into pigs by the witch Yubaba, Chihiro takes a job working in Yubaba’s bathhouse to find a way to free herself and her parents and return to the human world.
Miyazaki wrote the script after he decided the film would be based on the 10-year-old daughter of his friend Seiji Okuda, the movie’s associate producer. Production of Spirited Away began in 2000. Pixar animator John Lasseter, a fan and friend of Miyazaki, convinced Walt Disney Pictures to buy the film’s North American distribution rights, and served as executive producer of its English-dubbed version. Lasseter then hired Kirk Wise as director and Donald W. Ernst as producer, while screenwriters Cindy and Donald Hewitt wrote the English-language dialogue to match the characters’ original Japanese-language lip movements.
Originally released in Japan on July 20th, 2001 by distributor Toho, the film received universal acclaim, grossing over $352 million worldwide, and is frequently ranked among the greatest animated films ever made. Accordingly, it became the most successful and highest-grossing film in Japanese history with a total of $293 million, overtaking Titanic in the Japanese box office.
It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards, making it the first hand-drawn and non-English-language animated film to win that award. It was the co-recipient of the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival, and is in the top 10 on the British Film Institute’s list of “Top 50 films for children up to the age of 14”. In 2016, it was voted the 4th-best film of the 21st century by the BBC, as picked by 177 film critics from around the world, making it the highest-ranking animated film on the list. In 2017, it was also named the second “Best Film…of the 21st Century So Far” by The New York Times.
I think you will enjoy Spirited Away as you are swept into a world full of possibilities and meaning. I fell in love with it the first time I saw it, and I think you will, too.
Japan’s population is aging considerably, and caring for the elderly has become costly. The government proposes a solution: an electronic bed that can provide the patient with everything essential (and non-essential) that a real nurse can offer. Haruko is one of these nurses, just as Mr. Takazawa is his patient, who was chosen as a guinea pig for the electronic bed. Sensing that her protégé is suffering from a lack of love, which a mechanical bed cannot offer, she tries to save him from what he thinks is martyrdom for him.
An eccentric young girl summons a boy from another dimension, but their relationship changes resulting in an explosion of visual pyrotechnics as they each follow their own destiny.
Kōji Morimoto is a Japanese anime director. Some of his works include Akira, Robot Carnival, Short Peace, The Animatrix, Kiki’s Delivery Service, City Hunter, and Fist of the North Star. He is the co-founder of Studio 4°C.
Genius Party is two anthology films made up of 12 short animated films from Studio 4°C. It was envisioned to form a single release.