Forum - View topic
The Best (And Worst) Of Studio Ghibli


Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

Note: this is the discussion thread for this article

Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
KitKat1721



Joined: 03 Feb 2015
Posts: 61
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:58 am Reply with quote
Best: Princess Mononoke
I just love everything about this movie, and putting any other Ghibli film above it feels wrong. Its gorgeous, exciting, and feels like an animated epic with such a large scale. It nails the pro-environmentalism theme that Miyazaki often re-visits better than any other film. The characters are interesting, especially the villains, who could have easily been very one-note. Its hard to explain why I love it so much, because most people already have, and have done so better than I. The first time I saw the film was in high school, but it was after seeing various other, more kid-friendly Ghibli movies, and I remember thinking it outshone the rest.

Runner-Up: My Neighbor Totoro
This film is the more nostalgic pick, and along with Toei's The Little Mermaid, was my first anime. My grandfather bought both VHS tapes for me when I was little. He didn't have too many family movies around the house, and I already owned or had seen most of the Disney ones. As a kid, I watched those movies more times than I can count. My Neighbor Totoro has a special place in my heart because of how much my younger sister and I related to Mei and Satsuki. I love how well it captures everyday magic, especially what you find outside (we never lived in the countryside, but in a pretty densely wooded area). At that young age for two girls who were probably already convinced fairies were real, that's where the magic already was, but there was just enough weirdness in the film to keep us engaged and coming back. It's only held up in repeat viewings.

Worst: Tales from Earthsea
I know, what a shocker. It really is boring and honestly, I thought it was kind of ugly for a Ghibli film. I don't really like Pom Poko, The Cat Returns, Ponyo, or Howl's Moving Castle, but I at least like a couple aspects about them. Tales from Earthsea I really don't.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Koda89



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 205
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:04 pm Reply with quote
Best for me is The Wind Rises, because I just love historical films, specifically films set in the WWI through WWII period.

Runner-up is Princess Mononoke which was my favorite until The Wind Rises came out. It kinda helps that Mononoke was my first Ghibli film, too. Laughing

Now as for "worst", as I have not seen Earthsea I can't say I've seen a Ghibli film I hated. That being said my least favorite is Ponyo. I can't tell you WHY it is my least favorite, it just is.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
invalidname
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 11 Aug 2004
Posts: 1487
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:11 pm Reply with quote
OK, I'll play.
Best: Kiki's Delivery Service
Runner-up: Princess Mononoke
Worst: Ponyo

(Have seen: Laputa, Kiki, Totoro, Porco, Cat Returns, Mononoke, Spirited, Howl's, Arietty, Ponyo, Wind, Kaguya)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 3217
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:07 pm Reply with quote
CatSword wrote:
I remember starting Howl's Moving Castle one afternoon after school when it was on Encore or something, but it really not grabbing me/turning it off. I should give it a real chance.


If you saw just the first ten or fifteen minutes, you saw the part of the movie that actually makes sense. After about twenty, Hayao literally just stops TRYING to. Confused

My turn, as you can guess--
Best: Kiki's Delivery Service, the one that clicked on every single cylinder, no matter what you could tell Hayao was "trying" to do to it--If Miyazaki wanted to be Europe-sentimental about the town, it just fits with Eiko Kadono's mock-Astrid Lindgren universe. And if he wanted to make some bittersweet artistic thematic "point" about growing up when Kiki temporarily loses her powers, it fits in so naturally with Kadono's own sweet-lil'-book, you can't believe it wasn't there to begin with...What, she caught cold in the rain, because she was trying to help out the old lady, of course she wouldn't be able to fly!
(And sorry, Hayao, most of us fans believe she could still talk to Jiji after the end. You've been outvoted.)

Worst (no surprise): Howl's Moving Castle - Yes, I know, kids, it was the "first one you saw in theaters" after first having heard of Spirited Away, but that's simply no excuse.
I've rhapsodized on Hayao's pretentious poseur-tragedy of Mononoke, and I grade Earthsea on a curve for the different director, but Howl's is a mess...An unholy, incoherent mess. At this point, Hayao was simply falling back on stories about wizards (eg. Earthsea), and was so blissed out on the idea of "natural magic", he wants to show us any old trick in their bag, to surprise us--And with Howl, he throws any amazing wonder at us that will stick, whether it make any blamed sense or not, and "preferably" not. Oh, and have you seen his arm-bubbling "Character fights off his aggressive curse of war" shtick from Mononoke?...No? Don't worry, here it is again, for no conceivable book reason, just thought we'd throw that in for you folks!--We'd talk more about fairytales than moralize about war, but y'see, we...don't really know that many fairytales, so, uh, War is Bad, pretty much.
Which is even worse if you've read Diana Wynne-Jones' original clever, complex proto-Harry-Potter spoof on English fairytale cliche's--Jokes that would have flown miles over the head of native Japanese readers, and in Miyazaki's case, probably DID.
If Kiki, Arietty and Marnie were the right ways of How to Adapt A Book For Ghibli, Howl's was most definitively How And Why NOT To.


Last edited by EricJ2 on Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Lann



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 164
Location: Brighton UK
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:22 pm Reply with quote
ROFLOL all these critics have things so wrong in my opinion. The Wind Rises as a good film? How about no? Howls Moving Castle as a bad film!? yeahhhh nope not agreeing. Ponyo as a bad film?! WTF?!? Bad films are things like Only Yesterday for portraying a young woman as being an obaasan, My Neighbour the Yamada's as being too standard/not what i would expect from Ghibli, and The Wind Rises for being a very boring film that doesnt have much story to tell. You could easily cut half an hour off and make it better. Ocean Waves is a pretty unrealistic film too with a few characters you cant help but hate.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger
Lemonchest



Joined: 18 Mar 2015
Posts: 1406
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:51 pm Reply with quote
I'm glad someone named a Takahata film as their favourite. Personally I prefer him as a director to Miyazaki because, while Miyazaki is very good at what he does, he pretty much just does children's fantasies & is clearly the one of the pair who the studio turned to when they just needed a film made to get the bills paid (while I'd never say he made a "bad" film, the gap between his best & his worst/most workmanlike is pretty wide).

By contrast, you don't know what you're getting from Takahata till you watch it, & from what I've read & seen the studio didn't know either.

Favourite: Pom Poko
Runner Up: Tale of Princess Kaguya
Worst: The Cat Returns
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Jayhosh



Joined: 24 May 2013
Posts: 813
Location: Millmont, Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:51 pm Reply with quote
Hoo boy. Ghibli you say? Prepare for a long rambling mess from me. Given I'm one of the biggest Ghibli fanboys out there (self-proclaimed), coming up with a solid two favorites and one worst is extremely difficult. There are multiple ones I'd rank a perfect ten, and even regarding the oft-maligned ones I have conflicting feelings. Well, I'll get to that later.

First, I just wanna reiterate how stark the differences in opinion are regarding Howl's Moving Castle from critics and fan perspectives. Many of the editors who listed it as their least favorite here said they were going to get flack for it; and that's the thing: they probably wouldn't get flack from their fellow editors, but most certainly from general fans of Miyazaki and Ghibli. Because the film is immensely loved by many of them (even those who do agree with some of the complaints thrown its way). In some popular polls it even beats out Spirited Away by a handful of hairs! Personally I really like it and don't think it should be on any worst lists, but I guess that's the problem when you're a studio that has such a high caliber of quality across nearly your entire library. Which makes the fanboy in me want to argue that these editors should have watched ALL of the studio's work before making this, but let's be honest. It's a pretty large catalog and not everybody can watch everything ever made. But I do think that Tales From Earthsea would have been far more prevalent than Howl's on the worst end if more people here had seen it. That or Ocean Waves (spoils for my least favorite).

I'm also sad to see Arrietty accused of being a poor film, as I personally love it. The narrative is very slight, to be sure, but the level of detail that director Yonebayashi and Miyazaki put into the world is really tangible and engrossing. The characters as well (mostly the borrowers) I think are charming as hell. Plus it helps that the Celtic inspired score by Cecile Corbel is just freaking masterful. I'm also glad to see someone has listed When Marnie Was There as one of their favorites. It was definitely a high note for the studio to go out on and really showed Yonebayashi maturing as a director and even a writer. The story is more grounded in reality and internal conflict. Plenty of previous Ghibli films had dealt with serious subject matter, but Marnie was the first I can recall of any of them directly dealing with a character's internal hatred of themselves (aside from maybe Ashitaka in Mononoke, but that's on a more symbolic sense). Most Ghibli films feature protagonists who at least have an inkling of confidence in themselves. In that regard and many other I really respect the film. The more sunburnt and warm hues of the sky in the background art was also a fascinating change of pace from Ghibli's usual bright blue cloudy skies (which was apparently quite intentional of a change on the director's part). I enjoyed the film on a first viewing but after letting it gestate and rewatching it I appreciate the film even more for how daring and truly unique it feels. I'm really pleasantly surprised to see all of the praise it's been getting on this forum specifically and how it seems to be gaining the cult-status it definitely deserves. I can't wait to see Yonebayashi's next film Mary and the Witch's Flower later this year.

I can say without a doubt that my most favorite Ghibli film of all time is Princess Mononoke. It changed me as a person and made me realize that animated films had the potential to be and say so much more than I was used to, with a central conflict and cast of characters far more complex and nuanced than anything I'd seen up to that point or even arguably since then. That paired with the kinetic action and visual directing along with the emotionally powerful masterpiece of a score made it my favorite film ever made all those years ago when I first watched it seven years ago and it still holds that spot to this day.

As for second favorite? That's where it starts to get difficult. I love/like pretty much ALL of the Ghibli films, and Mononoke is the only clear cut favorite, so this is indeed difficult. So instead I'm just gonna cop-out and list a bunch of my "second favorites."

The Tale of Princess Kaguya - Glad at least one of the editors gave this beautiful film a spot. The directing, music (the first non-Miyazaki Ghibli film to be scored by the legendary Joe Hisaishi!), and most importantly, the incredibly experimental and one-of-a-kind visual style really help this one stand out alongside the rest. The story as well is tinged with Takahata's signature style of tragedy and heartbreaking beauty. Definitely one of the strongest swan-songs I've ever seen for a director to go out on. Don't sleep on Isao Takahata guys, he may not be as world-renowned as Hayao Miyazaki, but he's easily just as much of a genius.

Whisper of the Heart - Cats, writer's block, doubting your own talents/dreams, violins, John Denver. This movie felt like it was literally made for me. It's an excellent directorial debut from Yoshifumi Kondo and it's a damn shame that such a talent was taken from us before he could bless us with more works.

Castle in the Sky/Nausicaa - I pair these together because I consider them to be a near-perfect double-whammy of sci-fi excellence from Miyazaki. They both create very dense and palpable worlds with thrilling narratives that have you rooting for the lead characters with constant foreboding doom but never so much that they can't stop for some levity or humor/heart along the way. Also: fox squirrels and robot soldiers. Just plain cool stuff.

Ah, this is hopeless, I'm just going to be listing like 3/4 of the studio's catalog at this point! It'll be much easier to just go into the few ones I don't love.

Tales From Earthsea - This is kind of obvious, isn't it? What isn't obvious though is that I actually LIKE this film. I don't LOVE it, I don't think it holds a candle to pretty much the majority of the studio's other output, but I enjoy it nonetheless. I assume it has to do with the fact that people simply over-exagerated how "bad" it would be, and by the time I finally got around to watching it my expectations were so low that I was bound to get some surprising enjoyment out of the way. And I'll be frank. Aside from the obvious feeling of being a rushed adaption with not much in the way of fleshing out to do, I see relatively little wrong with this film. The first two acts build up an excellent mystery and tone (albeit one that doesn't pay off or answer anything at all), the animation has a more vsceral anime-ish aesthetic than most Ghibli films, and the score is surprisingly strong (love Terru's Song). I believe this was a commendable effort from Goro Miyazaki, given it was his first time EVER directing anything and the clear pressure he was put under to deliver. Given those circumstances, the fact that it even turned out decent is I believe a testament to his at the time untapped potential. Thankfully, Poppy Hill was a vast improvement on this and shows a lot of potential for his future efforts (haven't seen his tv series Ronja yet). That all being said, I still understand and agree to it being one of the studio's weakest.

Ocean Waves - Not much to say about this one. It's a TV special y'all. What do you expect? It's a nice avenue for (at the time) upcoming staff to get some practice on their own, and the more youthful approach is evident in the storytelling, but its altogether a very slight tale and the characters are either nothing special or actually kind of bad.

if you would have asked me maybe five years ago for my least favorite Ghibli film, I probably would have said Ponyo. But now? "F*ck you past me, Ponyo is f*cking awesome!" It's a real grower, and the imagination on display by Miyazaki is more boundless than ever. I will defend it to the ends of the earth.

Jesus, that was probably the longest post I've ever made on any forum. Please don't tl;dr me. Sad


Last edited by Jayhosh on Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:12 pm; edited 2 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Jayhosh



Joined: 24 May 2013
Posts: 813
Location: Millmont, Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:58 pm Reply with quote
Lann wrote:
ROFLOL all these critics have things so wrong in my opinion. The Wind Rises as a good film? How about no? Howls Moving Castle as a bad film!? yeahhhh nope not agreeing. Ponyo as a bad film?! WTF?!? Bad films are things like Only Yesterday for portraying a young woman as being an obaasan, My Neighbour the Yamada's as being too standard/not what i would expect from Ghibli, and The Wind Rises for being a very boring film that doesnt have much story to tell. You could easily cut half an hour off and make it better. Ocean Waves is a pretty unrealistic film too with a few characters you cant help but hate.


No need to get so strung up man. It's just their opinions, as the above ones are yours. And personally, I staunchly disagree with yours a lot more than any of the editors. Only Yesterday is a great film with a very strong female protagonist. I'm not sure what "obaasan" means but I didn't see any issue with her portrayal. I can kind of understand why someone wouldn't like Yamadas, but what I can't comprehend is anyone describing it as "average." It's anything but, especially by Ghibli's standards. The Wind Rises, well, you're not the only person who found it to be boring, and it's not like all the editors listed it, only one. And no one listed Ocean Waves as their favorite. And if you actually read her comments there is an understandable reason as to why the one doesn't like Ponyo.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Ambrose7



Joined: 11 Aug 2016
Posts: 17
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:15 pm Reply with quote
Most of those choices mirror mine, Kaguya and Wind Rises are my favourite too with Marnie and Mononoke close behind. I guess I didn't like Kiki's Delivery Service as much as the rest. It was still good but not as much as the other movies. I still haven't seen Earthsea though.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
relyat08



Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 3369
Location: Northern Virginia
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:18 pm Reply with quote
It seems James and I agree pretty closely on Ghibli work. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is quite possibly my favorite film of all time, Spirited Away is my favorite Miyazaki film and also my runner-up choice, and Mononoke-hime is right behind that for no other reason that the "magic" of Spirited Away was just slightly more affecting to me.
I've written quite a lot on Kaguya, but wow, the layers of thematic work in that movie is just insane. I broke down crying multiple times. It is beautiful. It is perfect. It speaks to me more effectively than anything else I've ever seen in this medium.

Lann wrote:
ROFLOL all these critics have things so wrong in my opinion. The Wind Rises as a good film? How about no? Howls Moving Castle as a bad film!? yeahhhh nope not agreeing. Ponyo as a bad film?! WTF?!? Bad films are things like Only Yesterday for portraying a young woman as being an obaasan, My Neighbour the Yamada's as being too standard/not what i would expect from Ghibli, and The Wind Rises for being a very boring film that doesnt have much story to tell. You could easily cut half an hour off and make it better. Ocean Waves is a pretty unrealistic film too with a few characters you cant help but hate.


For the record, in my opinion, you are the one who have things so wrong. I'm not sure some of your complaints even make sense. You don't like My Neighbor the Yamadas because it's not what you expected from the Studio?? Sorry, but what? Studios do not have an obligation to uphold a specific style just so you remain comfortable.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
BodaciousSpacePirate
SubscriberSubscriber


Joined: 17 Apr 2015
Posts: 1657
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:24 pm Reply with quote
Scalfin wrote:
One of these days, Rebecca is going to give something a low score because it features cilantro and she thinks cilantro tastes like soap.


If I thought cilantro tasted like soap, I'd probably not like something that featured it. I'm not sure what I'd "score" it, but since the article itself doesn't present any sort of quantitative rating system, I guess we don't really know what any of the critics would score these movies, either.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
Blood-
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 07 Mar 2009
Posts: 19123
Location: Toronto, Canada
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:36 pm Reply with quote
Key wrote:
angelmcazares wrote:
Best: Grave of the Fireflies - this is the best anime movie I have ever watched.

I'm a little surprised that this one didn't come up on someone else's entry. It would never come up on mine because, while I regard the movie as a masterpiece, I also hate it. (I can't watch it without getting supremely angry at the male protagonist.)


I understand where you are coming from, but to me the role of the male protagonist is what makes it such a powerful anti-war film, Most anti-war films concentrate on the horrors facing combatants. GotF shows the impact on civilians, specifically kids. Because of the war, the brother was thrust into a role he was way too young and ignorant to fufill: guardian of his young sister. Because of the war, the adults around them were way less aware and sympathetic than would otherwise be the case. It's heart-breaking. That's why I am not angry at the brother, I see both he and his sister as tragic victims of circumstance created by the destruction that war brings. And of all the horrors of war, the deliberate and indiscriminate bombing of civilians is among the worst.

As for best/worst of Ghibli - best/favorite is impossible for me. There are so many I like. I would say Pom Poko, Earthsea, Ponyo are among my least favorite.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
CooperRC



Joined: 17 Feb 2015
Posts: 19
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:39 pm Reply with quote
Well my favorites were definitely:

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Princess Mononoke

My least favorite could be anything from this list which kind of bored me:

From Up On Poppy Hill
My Neighbors the Yamadas
Ocean Waves
Only Yesterday
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
When Marnie Was There
The Wind Rises
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
tcdelaney



Joined: 05 Oct 2011
Posts: 155
Location: Mittagong, NSW, Australia
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:32 pm Reply with quote
Favourite: Kiki's Delivery Service

Probably my favourite movie fullstop. It's just wonderful.

Runner Up: Spirited Away/My Neighbour Totoro

Can't decide between these two - I love them both. Spirited Away is more polished, but Totoro has such an incredible heart to it.

Most disliked: The Cat Returns

I got through it, but it just felt flat and uninteresting.

Seen (hope I haven't missed any):

Kiki
Totoro
Nausicaa
Porco Rosso
Laputa
Princess Mononoke
Spirited Away
Howl's Moving Castle
Ponyo
Whisper of the Heart
The Cat Returns
Grave of the Fireflies
Arrietty
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AholePony



Joined: 04 Jun 2015
Posts: 188
Location: Arizona
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:55 pm Reply with quote
All I can say is of you consider yourself a professional or semi-pro writer or reviewer of anime, you owe it to your readers to watch the entire Ghibli catalogue. It's not that hard since most of them are pretty darn watchable. I fell asleep watching Yamadas though.

I'm hoping Nausicaa wasn't mentioned because A) you haven't seen it or b) it's not "technically" a Ghibli film. It would be my runner-up to Mononoke.

I feel like I didn't "get" Yamadas so I won't say it's the worst (I didn't grow up in a Japanese suburbia and that movie feels like a love story to growing up in modern Japan). I'll also dodge the easy target Earthsea and pick Pom Poko as my least favorite, it had its moments but I don't think I'll ever want to see it a second time.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Page 2 of 5

 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group