Spirited Away: An Experience

Words by Oliver Morris

So I have this friend who’s kinda pretentious. He reads multiple translations of Nietzsche, he has aphorisms that he’s yet to write the book for, and he’s a hare’s breadth from wearing an ascot unironically. One day he sent me a picture of a t-shirt which in turn had an image of a strange masked man, or perhaps a strange masked shadow, offering me nuggets of gold.

I had no idea what I was looking at. He explained that it was from ‘Spirited Away’, I said ‘What’s ‘Spirited Away’? to which he promptly organised an afternoon for us to watch it. He sat me down on his beaten up couch, handed me a weird orange flavoured beer, and set put on the original dub with English subtitles.

This was three months ago.

I find it very difficult to explain the stuff that happened in between Chihiro clutching dying flowers to her chest and the moment I was re-awoken by the DVD title screen. Something… happened in the middle. I’ve never been able to place it. I wasn’t just watching Chihiro, I was her in a sense. Everytime Chihiro was fearful, tearful, greatful or brave, I was too.

Everytime she held her breath or held her own, I did too.  And as one, we were thrust into this adventure, overwelmed by this adventure and accepted this adventure. There are moments where I was not in a godforsaken hole in East Hill, drinking warm beer and being subject to derisive analysis by the less insightful guest, and I was there. I was  in the tunnel, on the bridge, in the baths, on the platform or the train. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t animated, or didn’t speak the language. I was there.

I highly recommend anyone who’s never watched ‘Spirited Away’ to turn off their internet, their phone, find a quiet place and just experience it. When the credits finally came to a close, I was catatonic.I had nothing to say, to express because it was all too real, all too quick, and all too much. All I could do was turn to my friend, who had offered me this couch, this beer and this whole different world and say ‘Thank You’.

The Last Sortie

Words by Lewis Butler

Hayao Miyazaki, one of the founding members of ‘Studio Ghibli’, is a bit like Paul Verhoeven. That is to say Miyazaki is an amazing film maker, yet is no real fan of creating sequels. However one sequel Miyazaki has pondered over is a follow up to his 1992 hit ‘Porco Rosso’, the story of an Italian pilot cursed by a witch, due to him allegedly not being able to love.

The first film is set in between the two world wars. The second, apparently called ‘Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie’, is said to be set in the Spanish Civil War, Rosso will of course not be flying for Franco. There are however a few problems with the film, largely being due to the studio liking to keep their projects hidden almost from public sight until completion.

Toshio Suzuki, an Anime producer and friend of Miyazaki, one who has produced many of Miyazaki’s greats, has said that ‘The Last Sortie’ may be more of a “spiritual cousin.” This meaning that it may be set in the same world as the first film, but may not directly follow the events of it.

The film isn’t up on IMDB, so may not even be in production. Though, it is twenty years after the original, as well as the success of most if not all of ‘Ghibli’s’ films to date, ‘Porco Rosso 2’should be something worth looking out for. That is, if it ever becomes more then a fan’s dream.

Princess Mononoke Review

Words by Ryan Rabey

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‘Princess Mononoke’ (1997) is an epic Japanese film which was directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki of ‘Studio Ghibli’.

In the year 2000, the film was released in the dubbed American version featuring an all star cast including Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson and Yuriko Ishida.

The supreme ability that this film has to captivate audiences is because of the way it combines both historical and mythical aspects of Japanese storytelling which are demonstrated through beautifully detailed animation.

It is arguable that this film combines the epic adventure’s that persist throughout Homer’s ‘Odyssey’and the vivid transformations that are abundant in Ovid’s ‘Metamorphosis’.

The pace of the film’s narrative is also reminiscent of Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’ because of the way in which the story portrays the formative years of a young man who is constantly struggling to be part of a society which will accept him.

To conclude, I would advise you to watch this film! It is vivid and detailed spectacle that nevertheless maintains the prowess of a mythical tale. This film has been made with a unique devotion conveying a story that needs to be told. So please, spread the word!