The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) Review

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The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a fantasy-drama film directed by Isao Takahata

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A poor bamboo cutter finds a tiny girl inside of a glowing bamboo stalk, he believes that she is a divine presence and takes her home to his wife, the girl quickly turns into a baby and then continues to grow rapidly into a young adult, her father finds gold growing from the bamboo stalk they found her in, he uses these to prove her define royalty and moves the family into a mansion where she is trained to become a proper princess, the girl who is later named Princess Kaguya had no choice in any of this and wants more than anything to go home to her friends.

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Chloe-Grace Moretz voices the Princess in the film and she is absolutely outstanding, she gives a very emotional performance that is convincing and at times heart breaking, this is the best performance in a Ghibli film yet. Everyone does a great job voicing their characters but no one comes even as close as Chloe does, it felt like Chloe was born to voice this character she was that good.

I love art style used in the film, it looks like a fine painting that has been brought to life by Ghibli magic, its honestly beautiful and makes the film well worth a watch even if you don’t enjoy the plot.

The Tale of Princess Kaguya really surprised me, I didn’t expect to enjoy this film as much as I did, I think this is is one of my favourite animated movies now, its really breathtaking and genuinely amazing to watch, the performances are fantastic which helps to make this wonderful film even better, the music is some of the best we have heard from the studio, everything about this movie is just great and I love it.

I hope you enjoyed this review of  The Tale of Princess Kaguya.

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My Neighbours the Yamada’s (1999) Review

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My Neighbours the Yamada’s is a comedy film about the daily lives of a Japanese family, it was both written and directed by Isao Takahata.

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Its quite difficult to discuss the plot of this movie because it doesn’t really have one, the film is a viewing of the daily lives of an eccentric Japanese family, the movie shows various scenarios that they have to deal with and this is often portrayed through comedy.

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I will be honest and say that I found a lot of these scenarios very forgetful but some of them were really memorable such as when they accidentally left the daughter in the supermarket which is quite a scary scenario for any family, another example was when the young boy bought cookies for a girl in his class but they were eaten by his sister and his mum.

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So the story wasn’t too great but the animation was really cool and unique, the whole film looks like a children’s colouring book and is a treat to watch, some scenes such as when they are under water or during the motor bike chase show off the wonder of this animation style extremely well and images alone cant do it justice so I would recommend at least checking out clips of the film on YouTube.

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The voice cast was great in this film, the only characters with major dialogue was the family and all of them had a talented voice actor which suited their character very well.

I really struggled to say much about this film, It is really unique and has awesome animation but as a whole its just a little bit boring and I feel that some viewers might end up not enjoying the film as much as others, if you want to tackle the full Studio Ghibli collection or see this for just the animation then give it a watch but otherwise I would say that this is one film you could skip.

I hope you enjoyed this review of My Neighbours the Yamada’s

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Pom Poko (1994) Review

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Pom Poko is a dramatic comedy film about Raccoons who want to stop a development project that may destroy their home. The film was directed by Isao Takahata

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In 1960 Tokyo Japan, a group of Raccoons are forced to leave their home in Tama Hills after greedy humans knock it down to build a new developmental project. This upsets the Raccoons who want to get revenge on the humans and get back their home.

The Raccoons end up fighting with each-other when they disagree on the best way to deal with the humans, some want to scare them away while others would rather kill them off.

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According to Japanese folk lore, Raccoons are able to transform and this ability is present in the film and plays a major role, many of the Raccoons have forgotten how to transform so they need to practice this ability to have any chance of scaring away the humans.

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While they do well in learning to transform they have to call in the help of three transformation masters, these masters help the Raccoons to pull of a spectacular parade of horrors which is the best scene in the movie. Its filled with strange imagery and weird scenarios.

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I love the transformation scenes of the Raccoons but its the regular formation of Raccoon that is my favourite they are so cute and even though they are animated they are quite realistic in design.

Recognisable names are Jonathan Taylor Thomas who plays Shōkichi and J.K. Simmons who plays Seizaemon.

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Pom Poko is a truly wonderful movie its full of charm and comedy that you will remember for a very long time, It tells its plot through a serious issue that happens to forests and homes of woodland creatures all over the world. You may be a human reading this but you will definitely be rooting for the Raccoons of Tama Hills when you watch Pom Poko.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Pom Poko

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Only Yesterday (1991) Review

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Only Yesterday is a drama film directed by Isao Takahata, it is based on a Manga of the same title.

Taeko is a 27 year old woman who has decided to take a trip to the countryside.

While travelling to her destination on a train she remembers memories of her childhood and her school days.

The main focus of the story is these flash backs. It shows Taeko growing up and learning to live with strict parents, how to deal with bullies and discovering her body when she first has a period.

A lot goes on this film in reality this film is about a child struggling to gain an understanding from her family about why she behaves the way she does and why she is not as good as her siblings when it comes to her school grades.

I normally I don’t like this type of film but I really resonated with this one, I had a good childhood growing up and was luckier than most other children that I knew but so many of the struggles that this little girl went through was very similar to things I had to go through when I was younger. I won’t go into details of my past but I found this film emotional as it reminded me of myself.

Daisy Ridley who plays Rey in the new star wars trilogy voices Taeko in the film and she and everyone else does a great job.

I don’t have too much to say about this film, nothing really was that memorable and I think that if I didn’t resonate with it as much I don’t think I would have enjoyed it, but with that being said in 1991 this was the highest grossing film in Japan so there is obviously an audience for it.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Only Yesterday

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Grave of the Fireflies (1988) Review

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Directed by Isao Takahata Grave of the Fireflies is an Animated war film that is based on a story from 1967 with the same title.

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This is by far the most tragic film in the Studio Ghibli Collection it starts with the corpse of the main character Seita being searched by a Janitor in a train station, he takes a candy tin and throws it into a field and this releases the memory of Seita’s younger sister Setsuko who is joined by the memory of her brother,  they both board a train and then the film shows the struggle they went through during the end World War 2 that eventually lead to both of them dying.

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Even though the beginning the film shows that the outcome of these characters is not good, what makes the film worth watching is the message that it gives, throughout the journey audiences will be rooting for Seita and Setsuko to survive because of how well they get along and how much they truly love each-other.

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The tragedy of the film is truly Seita’s character, he wants the be the protector of his sister after their mother dies, but he doesn’t have a lot of experience doing this eventually pushing away everyone who tries to help them. Its his stubborn nature that causes the downfall in their story but he means so well and only wants the best. This makes the film extremely difficult and sad to watch its a really good movie with excellent animation and characters, I actually think that these are some of the best characters the studio has ever produced because they seem so real.

Grave of the Fireflies is one of the most hard to watch animated films ever made, its a great piece of cinema that shows that cartoons and animation really is not just for children and families, this film is not suitable for children and it definitely wasn’t made for them its a story that will cause emotion and pain for all who see it, its fantastically tragic.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Grave of the Fireflies

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