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.

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

When Crafting Can Be Too Much & Ideas

Edit: I checked earlier this time, but it still didn’t publish on time, so I’m definitely gonna fix whatever happened here, okay, on with the post.

I have a lot of hobbies.

I’m a creative and crafty person, always have been, and I love making things. But I’ve noticed lately that, growing into adulthood, maybe I have too many. I won’t have time beyond a career and self-care and relationships to do as much as I want to do.

First of all, what are my hobbies? Well…

Making jewelry, making pins, painting, drawing, reading (duh), making videos (sort of), writing, penpaling (also sort of), journaling, sewing, cosplay, cross stitch, crafting in general, and of course theatre in general. I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t remember anymore off the top of my head.

Like I said, I have too many. And it’s begun taking a toll on me because I look at my craft tower and all the supplies I have, and I realize that it’s gathering dust. I haven’t made a pair of earrings in a while. Last pin I made was maybe nine months ago. There’s an unfinished cross stitch project that’s been sitting since Christmas. And let’s not get started on my TBR bookcase.

So, what can I do? I enjoy doing these things, but I hate having so much/leaving it to rot almost. And with the school semester coming up, I’m going to have even less time. Do I quit some of my hobbies? Or do I leave it all to be forgotten about?

I think I have an idea…

First of all, I don’t have any physical hobbies. So, I need to find something I can enjoy that’ll keep me in shape, or at least in a healthier state. That’s something for me to research on my own.

Second of all, what in my hobbies do I consider more ‘lifestyle’, or will help advance my career/goals/dreams? There’s three: reading, writing, and theatre. I’m not getting rid of these three, not now not ever. I have a Masters in a theatrical field I want to combine with my current studies. Writing is a dream AND goal as I want to be a writer. So, I keep working on that in the hopes I can get published/performed one day. And reading is just so special, and works with my writing dream and current studies. These hobbies are sailing.

Third of all, what in my hobbies do I believe I can utilize more? If I decide ever to open an online shop, it would be with jewelry and pins, and I’ve also made money with my drawings (not paintings, though I could add it in). The question becomes, can I actually do that? Is my work good enough to sell? Would anyone actually want it? I’d be willing to try, but it’s not at the forefront of my mind. These hobbies are floating.

And lastly, for the rest of my hobbies, are they ones I do once in a blue moon for something special, or are they gathering dust due to being on the bottom of the craft totem pole? For those who are once in a blue moon depending on situations, which are cosplay, sewing, and penpaling, I can keep them around since they don’t weigh on my mind and I still enjoy them. For those who gather dust due to neglect, which are making videos, cross stitch, and crafting in general, it might be best just to let them sink.

What about journaling? Moving it more into the self-care arena might help that one.

These are my thoughts and ideas about what I can do with my gazillion hobbies.

If you’re like me with perhaps too many things on your plate, take into account those questions about

  1. Do you have a physical hobby to keep you healthy?
  2. What hobbies are sailing?
  3. What hobbies are floating?
  4. What can you keep around for that once in a blue moon project?
  5. And what can you let sink?

Hopefully this helps some of you. I’m going to go put it into practice now…

Hugs

Alexandra

Books My Friends Think Are Flawless

Edit: for whatever fluffin’ reason, my post didn’t publish on time. When I went to double check, I found that out, so here it is now. Sorry about that.

Now, I did say I liked movies. I do; I love movies. But, I especially adore books. If you’ve been here a while, you know that’s not a surprise. And much like movies, my opinions seem to be different not only from critics but audiences too. My opinions tend to stand out (which was particularly nerve-wrecking in my many literature classes in college). So, while I was asking about movies they thought were flawless, I also asked what books were flawless. I got significantly less answers, since many of my friends don’t read as much. And like the movies, I didn’t ask for a reason, just titles.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Help
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • the Dresden Files series
  • Everyone Poops (yes, this was an actual answer)
  • Inkheart
  • Penguins Hate Stuff
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Leven Thumps & the Gateway of Foo
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

And that’s what I got.

Again, opinions are so diverse. And I’ve only read three of these, which means opinions can be personal, not universal, and/or not readily available.

To repeat what I said last time about movies, figure out what you like, watch what you like, and don’t let critics, or even those around you, tell you what to enjoy. What I enjoy others may not, and what others enjoy I may not. (Am I the only lady who doesn’t particularly enjoy Pride and Prejudice?)

Let me know what you consider flawless, if you would like to add to the list.

Hugs

Alexandra

My Mom the Witch

Ooh, I know how wrong that can sound, but this is all said with love, I promise.

Something I had been looking into lately had been witchcraft. The more I looked into it, the more I recognized a lot of my actions as witchy in nature. My mother didn’t understand, not really comprehending what witchcraft is/has become. But the MORE I looked into it, the more I recognized my mother’s witchy actions.

And the last couple of weeks has been trying to convince her that she’s an actual witch.

Of course, when I first told her, she was unbelieving. I don’t blame her. It’s something different from her established beliefs and thoughts. But, lately, she’s starting to come around and think that perhaps it’s true. So, since I know she reads this (hi, Mom), I gathered most of my reasons as to why my mother is a Finnish witch:

  • Familiars – we have quite a few cats who connect real well with Mom, with Ash (our latest addition, a beautiful black cat) coming right up to her one day when she was getting in her car for work and asked to be adopted. She’s drawn to animals, and they tend to be drawn to her.
  • Nature – she has quite a connection to nature, absolutely loving walks and hikes. Doesn’t matter the nature-forests, mountains, rivers, oceans-she loves to look at it and she loves to be in it. And with great respect.
  • Symbols – there are two symbols she’s particularly drawn to: the tree of life and the hannunvarkuna (was originally a Finnish protective sign).
  • Items – she likes candles, she prefers silver jewelry to gold (yes, that’s a magical trait), and she has bells either on the door or beside the door.
  • Environment – something I learned recently is that a witchy trait is changing up your environment when you are unhappy or stressed. And something she ALWAYS does when she gets overwhelmed is rearrange furniture. Anyone who comes over to our house is often greeted with a new living room setup.
  • Ancestors – she’s fascinated and in touch with her familial roots. Mom is really into her Finnish heritage.
  • Sauna – unexpected you may say, those who’ve been in saunas BUT saunas are very important to Finns and Finnish magic. It’s a place of cleanliness, peace, healing, and refuge from the outside world. In the sauna, the four elements of the universe are brought together in one place to create a place of healing (being the most prominent magic in saunas). It is a sacred place, has a spirit, and should be respected. As for my mother, she is in constant need of a proper Finnish sauna, not the Westernized version, for a form of meditation.

So, I think I made a solid case.

If any of you are interested in what I’ve talked about, look into it. Do your research first, always. But if you’re interested in Finnish magic, since it’s what my mother (and I, in a way) has her witchy ways in, I recommend the book Finnish Magic: A Nation of Wizards, A World of Spirits by Robert Nelson.

Embrace yourself.

Hugs and blessings

Alexandra

Movies My Friends Think Are Flawless

I really do enjoy movies, though my opinions seem to be different not only from critics but from audiences as well. What I look at and enjoy stand out amongst other opinions. This caused me to wonder if I was the only one. So I went to Facebook, the headquarters of personal opinion, and asked my friends what movie they consider flawless. I didn’t ask for whys or explanations, just a movie title. Here’s the list of flawless movies according to my friends:

  • The Princess Bride
  • A River Runs Through It
  • Wonderman
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Aladdin (didn’t specify animated or live action)
  • Lord of the Ring series
  • Cinderella Man
  • Hello Dolly!
  • Scooby Doo on Zombie Island
  • Willow
  • Emperor’s New Groove
  • Into the Spiderverse
  • Hereditary
  • High School Musical
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
  • The Assassination of Jesse James
  • Stardust
  • Avatar
  • Secondhand Lions
  • Chinatown
  • The Artist
  • North by Northwest
  • The Room
  • The Labyrinth
  • Shawshank Redemption
  • American Outlaws
  • Maverick
  • Grave of the Fireflies
  • Little Miss Sunshine

Looking at this list, it’s interesting to think about how diverse our opinions really are. I haven’t seen maybe half of these, and definitely don’t think what I’ve seen on this list is flawless (I would only consider one flawless, but I won’t tell you which one, mwah-hahaha).

This is why we need to form our own opinion outside of critics. Some movies I have loved received bad reviews, and some movies I dislike receive good reviews. Figure out what you like, watch what you like, and don’t let critics, or even those around you, tell you what to enjoy. (I don’t care that To Wong Foo got 39% on Rotten Tomatoes or that Bloodshot got a 30%, I enjoy them and watch them).

Let me know what you consider flawless, if you would like to add to the list.

Hugs

Alexandra

Quotes in My Collection (pt 2)

Let’s continue with some more quotes!

To recap, I collect quotes and quote books. You can find some from my collection in the first post here. This post is going to focus on quotes I found on social media, whether from Twitter, Pinterest, or Tumblr. I didn’t make note of usernames and I didn’t see names associated, so all of these will be considered anonymous.

Here we go:

  • Find your happiness, because it’s out there waiting for you. Stop being afraid and motivate yourself. Find yourself.
  • I have been through hell and came out singing.
  • Good morning, cruel world. This world may be cruel but I’m still kicking.
  • We are all horrible and wonderful and figuring it out.
  • Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off excellent.
  • Control what you can, confront what you can’t.
  • You still have a lot of time to make yourself who you want to be.
  • You owe yourself the love that you give to other people.
  • Don’t be afraid to start over again. This time, you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience.
  • Existence has meaning, some of which is found and some of which is created, and doing this is among the noblest of human quest.
  • My body may be a temple but I am the god to whom it is devoted. Do not presume to tell me how I may decorate my altar.
  • Love should be shared, felt, and received with reckless abandon. Love these characters, love this food, love things in the moment, even if they may seem insignificant to others.

Another small portion of my vast collection, and again, I’m always looking for more to add.

Show what you enjoy no matter what others think.

Hugs

Alexandra

Addicted to TikTok…

For a while, I was so against TikTok. Maybe it was my petty bias to Vine (which is dead so what’s the point). Maybe it’s the problematic people I continuously heard about on the platform. Maybe it’s because I’m an ‘adult’ and I don’t ‘belong on TikTok’. I don’t fully know why I was against TikTok like that.

And then two of my good friends (shoutout Kiki and Christian) convinced me to join so they can send me TikToks. Might as well take this as another learning experience, right?

Now, I’m obsessed.

I go on TikTok several times a day, I send them to my friends and family, and I’ve even made a few.

As for my previous concerns, Vine is still dead and there’s a plethora of material on TikTok. I know to stay away (and if necessary, block) problematic people and topics, and no one has made any problems on my own videos. And regardless of what people say, all ages are represented on TikTok.

This all sounds like I’m trying to convince you to join TikTok. If you don’t want to, don’t. I’m not advocating for everyone to join; it’s not for everyone. I’m just letting you guys know my own experience.

And, yes, I’ve learned quite a bit on TikTok! I enjoy learning, so having gained some knowledge in an entertaining fashion.

Now I can’t get enough.

All I can do is limit my time, which I’ve started doing, but I’m not overly upset that I enjoy TikTok. I’ll start becoming upset when it starts becoming detrimental.

Anyway, Wednesday’s post will be about what I’ve learned on TikTok.

See you then!

Hugs

Alexandra