Category Archives: spirited away


Ponyo ~ The first thing that strikes me about Ponyo (also known as Gake no ue no Ponyo) is how terrific it is now that in America, not only are Hiyao Miyazaki’s films distributed mainstream by Disney, but that Hiyao Miyazaki films are now an event. This is just how it should be. He’s a genius, and it’s about time he’s treated this way.

I think a lot of that may be due to TCM. A year or so back they did an entire week of Miyazaki films that brought his work into the mainstream consciousness. I knew about him but then again I have a comics and anime background. I know this was when my wife’s eyes were opened to his brilliance, a probably many others as well.

Ponyo is a simple yet bizarre tale of a goldfish who falls in love with a little boy and then wants to become human. From there it gets complicated. And the complications are what I love about Miyazaki. He always follows the game plan of the Hero’s Journey, yet he takes the roundabout way, the twisted mountain road, so that he is never predictable – and that’s refreshing. When was the last time you could not guess the ending or even the next scene of a film?

This is an enjoyable flick for both adults and children, and highly recommended. I really enjoyed it. And if you like what you see, check out the rest of Miyazaki’s films. You’ll be glad you did.

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Spirited Away

A Film Review of “Spirited Away”

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

Hatao Miyazaki is a genius. He brought us “Princess Mononoke” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service” as well as one of my personal favorites “Castle of Cagliostro.” The animation is second to none – vastly superior to anything Disney (who distributed this feature in America by the way) has done lately.

Featuring the voices of Lauren Holly and Suzanne Pleshette this is the story of a young girl who wanders away from her parents at an amusement park and becomes the workslave of demons in an extradimensional bathhouse. No. Really. I couldn’t make that up.

It comes off as an anime version of “Alice in Wonderland” meets “The Wizard of Oz.” The fun stuff comes when Miyazaki takes the idea of the lost little girl in another world and then throws in everything including the kitchen sink. We get every lind of spirit, demon and monster you can imagine and more.

It’s a wild ride and a fun ride (long too, your butt will get numb). It doesn’t always make sense but it’s definitely worth the price of admission. And besides it’s always a thrill to see anime on the big screen.

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