Rating Miyazaki’s Ghibli Work

Recently I talked about some Studio Ghibli when I wrote about Isao Takahata (read it here). This inspired me to complete something on my bucket list: watch Hayao Miyazaki’s Ghibli filmography. I had been forgetting about watching one for a long while and I finally got to it. So, I completed that goal, and now I can officially rate the movies. This was hard, because I actually love all the movies, and I mean all the movies. But I think I did it.

Just remember, please, this is personal opinion. Everyone is different, and you don’t have to agree. But this is how I rate Miyazaki’s movies:

13. Ponyo. Yeah, Ponyo is last place. It’s adorable, and I love Fujimoto and Lisa as characters. But the other movies are just better.

12. Arrietty, the US version. Unlike other Ghibli movies, this one got two English versions, the US and the UK, both with different actors and different scripts. The US one is not as good, sorry about it.

11. Princess Mononoke. Is Ashitaka my favorite male hero? Yes. Are there still better movies than this one? Also yes.

10. The Wind Rises. I swoon for the animation.

9. My Neighbor Totoro. I’m gonna get shit for this one. Again, I love this movie, but I think there are better movies. Sorry, Mom.

8. Arrietty, the UK version. Better script and better actors. It works better with the UK script, I believe.

7. From Up on Poppy Hill. This movie speaks to me more than people know, and even if it’s the least-liked according to critics and stuff, there’s something special about it to me.

6. Porco Rosso. This movie is so friggin’ funny. I was non-stop laughing, and there was a point the laugh got so ugly Vladimir got concerned.

5. Kiki’s Delivery Service. This, I believe, was my first Ghibli movie, and it holds a special place in my heart.

4. Whisper of the Heart. This was my most recent watch, and it touched my heart and soul. I saw myself at ages 11, 15, 21, and even now. Super special.

3. Spirited Away. I mean…this is just a masterpiece.

2. Castle in the Sky. Characters, story, animation, this movie gives it all to me.

1. Howl’s Moving Castle. Everything about this movie is magical to me, absolutely everything. I cannot fault it, nor do I want to. It’s definitely my favorite Miyazaki movie, and one of my favorite movies ever.

Well, darn, this was tough. I reiterate, I love every Mitazaki movie. He is one of my favorite creators. So know that, even if it’s at the bottom of the list, I recommend it.

Thanks, Hayao-sama, for transforming my life through your art.

Hugs

Alexandra

School Started, and Here’s What’s Up

I’m in my third semester of my grad program. It’s getting tougher and tougher, not that I expected it to get easier. However, I am in a science program now after having been a fine arts person my whole schooling career. It’s all new to me and I have to really readjust my thinking quite often.

Classes started a month ago, and I’m just doing my best because that’s all that can be asked of us. I don’t care what Yoda says, there is a try.

It’s gonna continue to be a rough semester, rough year, rough rough rough.

Man, am I getting beyond mental workouts.

While I continue, posts may come and go, be mentally fried-sounding (like that phrasing), and be simple, like myself. Just know I’m doing my best and that’s all we can ask of each other.

Good luck with all your endeavors.

Hugs

Alexandra

Miyazaki vs Takahata

I have a profound love for Studio Ghibli. I adore the work that has come out of it. What people don’t seem to understand, though, is that the studio is not synonymous with a single creator. Hayao Miyazaki is a legendary film maker, and when people think Studio Ghibli they think Miyazaki.

However, there is someone else who deserves love as well:

Isao Takahata.

I’ll be the first to admit I love Miyazaki. I prefer Miyazaki to other work by Studio Ghibli. But I still think Takahata deserves as much recognition and love. Here’s why:

1. He co-created Studio Ghibli with Hayao Miyazaki. Takahata and Miyazaki have been in the animation industry for years before they founded this studio in 1985. The difference is that Miyazaki was an animator and Takahata was a writer/director. He led production for many works before he and his long-time collaborator started their own studio.

2. According to Rotten Tomatoes (as of writing this), there are three Ghibli movies with a 100% rating…and all three were Takahata films: Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya. He created amazing works of art.

3. His film Grave of the Fireflies was partially inspired by his own experiences from the bombing of Okayama City. And if you’ve seen Grave of the Fireflies, you’ll share my sentiment when I say: oof.

4. Takahata was also the music director for Kiki’s Delivery Service. Yep.

5. Unlike Miyazaki, he changed up styles. Again, I adore Miyazaki and his style; he is everything I love. But he’s also very stagnant. Takahata’s films range in animation from Only Yesterday to Princess Kaguya to My Neighbors the Yamadas, and more. It varies.

Now, am I saying ‘don’t have a favorite’? No. Sorry, Isao-sama, but Miyazaki’s films are my life (and favorite). What I’m saying is that we give credit to another great man behind Studio Ghibli that doesn’t get enough recognition. He helped start something amazing and he’s created so much in his lifetime.

Thank you, sir.

Hugs,

Alexandra

P.S. I am also well aware of other people, especially Toshio Suzuki, with a HUGE hand in Studio Ghibli and its works. Maybe I’ll talk about them in the future.

A Message from All of Us

Everyone has a message for you…

From Assistant Edgar:

I am taking a break. Miss TG has been busy with various things including school, work, volunteering, and family issues, so I have been stretched thin. As you can imagine, so has Miss TG.

However, things can only get better when you’re feeling down. Miss TG will be working hard, and I’ll be taking a vacation.

Have a good week, and a good quarter.

Sincerely,

Assistant Edgar

From Caregiver Willow:

Hey, friends! ^_^

As you a-see, I had boo-boo. T.T

But I a-better now, mostly!

I still have a-boo-boo, but I out of cone of shame!

I be okay. And so will you! ❤

I a-believe in you!

For now, I a-heal. Miss Alexandra take care of you! ^_^

Love,

Willow

From Daughter Sophie:

I haven’t talked to you guys at all, and you haven’t seen me since I was adopted.

But Mama has been in, out, and everywhere else. She hasn’t been as attentive to me. Rude T.T

I just want you to know that even if she doesn’t seem to be taking care, she’s got you guys on her mind. Mama just feels bad about letting you guys down.

I’ll help out when I can, lol. Can’t do much, but I can try and I certainly do.

Be good to yourself and accept help when you need it.

XOXO

Sophie

From Certified Black Cat Toothless (and brothers Bram and Ash):

I just want you guys to be aware that Halloween season is coming up.

Be aware of black cats around this time.

We are adopted and abandoned, abused, and killed.

Please be good.

Cheers,

Toothless

Is that good, Alexandra? Yeah? Cool.

From Alexandra:

Hey, friends.

Yes, I had a birthday. Yes, I dyed my hair blue. Yes, I’ve been gone for a few weeks.

Balance doesn’t exist right now, but we’re trying our best.

The reason I wanted everyone to give a message is because they won’t be giving messages anymore. I’m not happy with them (the messages, not the cats) and I wanted to move on, now that I’m trying newer things in life.

I’ve got some plans for the next few weeks of posts, but if I drop the ball again just know I either had a huge essay to write or I had some volunteering/shadowing going on.

Thanks for being you, and I hope we can all learn more together.

Hugs,

Alexandra

Message from Caregiver Willow

img_7389Hello! ^_^

It me, a-Willow!

A lot been a-happening in TG home!

And because, Alexandra overwhelmed U.U

She a-took long nap with a-weight blanket on top, so her a-chest hurt and she a-full of stress U.U

It a-okay! ^A^

Alexandra a-try her best, and she will get a-through!

You too!

You will get a-through! ❤

Love,

Willow

P.a-S. You like new pic? Should I a-keep? ^_^

To California and Back

As said in my wee little update on Monday, I had gotten back from California. So, now I’ll explain why I was there in the first place.

Way too early on Friday morning, my mother and I went down to LA, California from Undisclosed, Idaho. We drove down with the goal of picking up my uncle, who is now going to live with us in Idaho. Uncle has lately been suffering from various medical issues to the point where he can’t be on his own.

Friday consisted of driving down and then a dinner with my brother who lives in LA. That’s it.

Saturday, Mother and I spent more time with Brother. We got breakfast at Portos (which was delicious but an experience), we walked on a trail (which was awful for SO many reasons), then we walked down Hollywood Blvd (which…yeah). It was cool to walk or whatever, but if you are unaware, I wear all black and it was HOT. I also have a medical heat sensitivity, so my time there was not nice. However, Mother found a Sanrio store, something we hadn’t seen in years, and I was able to find Danny Kaye’s star, which is all I cared about.

Thankfully, we also went to my friend’s house, who also lives in LA. I must thank her for a calming atmosphere and introducing me to Over the Garden Wall, which I will be binging a lot more. (Also, Inigo, I’m gonna send this to you, we had a deal, I watched Over the Garden Wall, you need to watch Men in Tights). It’s nice when you have a stressful time full of emotions to have a calming place with a calming person. Thanks, Inigo.

After that, I went to my cousin’s house, who ALSO lives in LA (everyone lives in LA). And Brother came over for a movie (Shoplifters, 2018, 3.5/5 stars).

Sunday, we left…ugh. I think the plan was to leave before 10 am? We didn’t start leaving LA until 2 in the afternoon. I was already not in the best state of mind due to a lot of high emotions throughout the past week, so it wasn’t a good way to start a road trip.

We didn’t get home until after 5 in the morning.

But, now we’re back, Uncle is trying to settle amongst our cats, and I’m trying to relax my high emotions before I go back to work (which, this will be published after I go back to work, so we’ll see how I did).

Sometimes travelling isn’t necessarily fun or a vacation. But it’s still necessary. We do what we have to do, make it work, and do our best.

Hugs

Alexandra

Minor Update

Hey friends.

Letting you know, we got back from LA, California not long ago, so I’m not prepped with the time or thought process to write a proper blog post.

Still wanted to be on time though, lol.

Wednesday, I’ll explain my little California trip, and why we went down.

You’re amazing! Just thought I’d remind you in case you forgot.

See you Wednesday.

Hugs

Alexandra

Minimalism versus Maximalism

Minimalism seems to have become a trend. I enjoy seeing it. Minimalism is such a pretty aesthetic. As well, minimalism is a huge thing in theatre we greatly value.

But it’s not for me.

This is kind of a continuation of my last post, when I talked about memories I keep on my bookshelves in my library. I have a lot, and I love it all. I’m quite on the opposite spectrum of minimalism: maximalism.

Maximalism is considered a loud style, full of colors, excess, patterns, and collections, and an aesthetic on it’s own.

Some say it follows a tagline of “more is more”, which I don’t agree with. I’m not stacking stuff on stuff for the sake of an aesthetic. I’m combining memories and mementos together creating that loud style. It’s not “more is more”, it’s “I’ll put up whatever I want that speaks to me and my experiences with no apology”.

What I enjoy about maximalism as opposed to minimalism is how personal it is. No one has the same stuff on the walls or items on the shelves, at least not altogether. It’s original, unique, and personal. I love that.

Minimalism, maximalism, it doesn’t matter which you prefer. Enjoy what you want your surrounding aesthetic to be, even if you’re not sure what it is. Don’t judge others for how they decorate or don’t decorate their spaces.

Hugs

Alexandra

Memories in My Library

I recently had to move my little library into a different room, and while some may ooh and ahh about the amount of books I have, I make sure my shelves are covered not only by the memories I’ve read but the memories I’ve lived.

So, I thought I’d go through some random memories I have on my shelves with my books.

img_9998First, I have a drumstick. A single drumstick. It looks rough like it’s been hella used (it has). If you’ve been to concerts for bands, you’ll know at the end of the concert the band members will toss out various items including guitar picks and drumsticks. Now, let me tell you about Travis Barker, drummer for Blink-182. I’ve always resonated with the drums, and Travis is my favorite drummer. I love his work and his talent. I went to a Blink-182 concert, was right in front of the stage, and at the end of the concert when Travis tossed his drumsticks, I caught one! It was a great concert, made even better by having the best kind of merch. So I keep it on my shelf, a place I see often.

img_0001Second, yes, that’s a skull. I love skulls, I have a ton as decoration, but this is the one that means the most to me. Why? Because I made it. Sort of. It used to be a regular, white, basic skull until I took props class and we all had to recreate our skulls. I’m proud of my work in props, I enjoy prop work greatly, and my love of skulls has only strengthened. So, Friend here (yes, that’s his name) has been a good companion. Even brought him to Glasgow when I lived out there.

img_0002Third, a zombie barbie doll. She was originally nailed to a wood plank but the wood broke. Kept the doll, though. When I was in my undergrad, my props prof created something called the Zombie Walk, in which we terrorize Main Street dressed as zombies. Ends with a block party. There were awards for best walk, best thriller dance, best makeup, etc. that my prof made…out of barbie dolls. So, my little barbie zombie was an award for best zombie makeup, and it’s been an inspiration since.

img_0004Lastly, my little Ghibli shelf. Beyond the books, I have a little Heen, a little Teto, and a tiny painting of Totoro. Obviously, I love Ghibli, so it has it’s own section. Heen is from a store in Glasgow called Tokyo Toys, Teto is from a stuffed animal maker in Japan, and the painting is by a friend named Charles, who gave it to Mom before he moved to Texas (which I promptly stole). Ghibli has been special to me since I first started watching the movies, and little items like these just make me happier.

If you have random items that remind you of moments or feelings, they are worth keeping around. Seeing these memories remind me of where I’ve been and what I’ve experienced. Keep the happy memories around you, in whatever way you want. For me, it’s decor and items I received scattered about my shelves in my library. It’s always a joy to see them.

Hugs

Alexandra

August Bullet Journal & Reading

This month is my mother’s birthday month, so I wanted to go with a green theme. Because I have some green washi tape with Totoros, I decided to make August’s theme Studio Ghibli, specifically Hayao Miyazaki’s Ghibli work. My Neighbor Totoro is also her favorite Ghibli movie, so it worked out well.

As usual, I tried some new things. We’ll see how it works this month.

I have these little block letter stamps that I thought would be cute, so I used them a lot, including with the cover page’s quote which took forever. The quote is from Miyazaki accompanied by stickers of him.

I decided to utilize my calendar since it just sat looking pretty the past several months, so I made it a habit tracker, in a way. It’s habits/health issues I want to keep track of on my journey to better myself. I did keep the separation of bills, entertainment, creative, and bettering sections I used last month, since it worked well. And I separated them with the most iconic line from Howl’s Moving Castle.

For my weekly, I put in sections for individual days, which is my biggest help, and sections for various weekly things including meal planning, finances, weekly goals, and to-dos. These can be filled as needed, so there’s no pressure to me to fill them up. It’s for my benefit and not meant to be an obligation. Each week is assigned a different Miyazaki Ghibli movie: Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro (for my mom’s birthday week), and Spirited Away. There’s an accompanied sticker and quote.

With my decor page, I stuck strictly to Ghibli rather than color. Next to the decor page, I put a check list of Miyazaki Ghibli movies. I’ve yet to see two, which I will remedy this month.

Overall, I’m loving this theme and organization.

Now for books.

In July, I read FIVE books. Five! I guess nothing was happening this past month for me to do anything but read. The books were Never Grow Up, The White Sniper, The Scarlet Letter, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and Unsolved Murders. Out of these five, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was the best; I’ve really loved Gaiman’s writing style and characters. No book was really bad; they were all good, so I recommend them all.

This month, I’m going to try to read three books. School starts up, so my time won’t be as expendable. The books I’m planning on reading are You Do You, How to Catch a Killer, and Tale As Old As Time. Let me know if you have read/are going to read these books and let me know what you think.

We’re here for bettering ourselves, through journaling and reading, so remember to work on bettering yourself whatever that may mean to you.

Hugs

Alexandra