Movie Review: Ponyo

Hello dear readers and watchers, welcome back to my third review of a Studio Ghibli movie.

I started this journey a few weeks back with my review of Spirited Away, and continued last week with My Neighbor Totoro.

I plan on reviewing a new Studio Ghibli movie every week until I no longer enjoy it, so if you have a favourite movie of theirs you want me to watch and review, let me know in the comments, or shoot me a message on social media.

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Title: Ponyo
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: ★★★☆☆

During a forbidden excursion to see the surface world, a goldfish princess encounters a human boy named Sosuke, who gives her the name Ponyo. Ponyo longs to become human, and as her friendship with Sosuke grows, she becomes more humanlike. Ponyo’s father brings her back to their ocean kingdom, but so strong is Ponyo’s wish to live on the surface that she breaks free, and in the process, spills a collection of magical elixirs that endanger Sosuke’s village.


Lowering My Standards

I think I started this journey incorrectly. I started with what is often considered the best Ghibli movie; Spirited Away, and then started going down the list.

Spirited Away blew me away, and I haven’t been quite impressed since. I’m not saying Ponyo is bad, I just don’t think it was a movie I would want to watch again.

Others might think this is one of the greatest movies ever made, but the story didn’t do it for me. I was often guessing what would happen before they happened and coming up with better plot points.

Ghibli movies go for very simple stories, so it’s not hard to follow along. They also seem to mainly be focused on coming of age stories for young children, or at least the ones I have seen are.

This can be nice because they’re simple to follow along with, and they are fun the whole family can enjoy, but I guess sometimes they are a bit too simple for me.


Lost in Translation

I’ve read online that Ghibli movies can be watched in its natural Japanese or in your native language and enjoyed to the same extent.

I appreciated that when I watched Spirited Away and My Neighbor, because I was able to multi-task while I was watching the movies.

This didn’t seem to be the case so much with Ponyo. It just seemed like the English language wasn’t as playful and fun as the Japanese language is, or at least it is in my experience.

Also, I haven’t looked it up to confirm it, but I am pretty sure Liam Neeson was in this movie and that kind of threw me off. Maybe I am paranoid, but it felt weird to have a man who has killed hundreds of people in other movies play a cartoon character.


Beautiful Artwork

Though I found the story a bit lacking, I loved looking at the artwork. If Ghibli did nothing right, they definitely know how to match their visuals with the story.

It’s almost as if the story is written around the artwork, not the other way around.

Ponyo was colorful, playful, and happy, which is how most would probably describe the movie.


Final Thoughts

I didn’t dislike Ponyo at all, I just found it a bit predictable and boring. If I had watched it when I was a kid, maybe I would think differently, but as a mid-twenties adult, it was too childish for me.


What did you think of Ponyo, and what Ghibli movie should I watch next? Let me know in the comments!
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Movie Review: My Neighbor Totoro

Hello dear readers, I’ve decided its finally time to take the Studio Ghibli movies seriously.

I watched my first one last week; Spirited Away, which you can read about here. It was an absolute blast so I decided to give the rest a try too.

The goal is to watch one of their movies every week until I’ve seen them all. I know it won’t be easy, but watching one movie a week isn’t so bad.

If you like this review then make sure to follow my blog and connect with me on social media for more!
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Title: My Neighbor Totoro
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: ★★★★☆


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80’s Animation

I usually have a hard time enjoying old-animation styles. I find they are tough to look at and the animation is just terrible in today’s standards.

I understand that they did the best for their time and all, but it just makes it less enjoyable for me.

My Neighbor Totoro didn’t bother me though. It didn’t feel old or outdated. Yes the animation was rather rough at times, for the most part it was good. It was simple but effective.

There was no need for anything fancy or mind blowing. It’s a simple story and it only needs simple animation.

I wouldn’t say the animation adds or takes away from the story, but it just seems to fit. It does its intended job and it does it well.

There are a lot of small moments in My Neighbor Totoro that give it an extra ranking in my book. Small moments where the two sisters hit and the clothing wrinkles just right, or when the two sisters get mud on the knees from playing in the dirt.

There are quite a few moments like this, and they really help make the movie that much more enjoyable to watch.


Childlike Glee

A good part of this movie is focused on child-like wonder. Seeing the world from a completely innocent point of view.

If you really look at the movie, you notice that innocence isn’t the only story happening in the background, but also the loss of innocence.

The child-like glee is used as the main plot line of the story, but it’s also a character building device.

There are moments here and there where we realize that innocence can’t last forever, and that eventually we must all grow up to he harsh realities of the world.

On a side note, the voice acting of the two sisters is fantastic. It fits the characters well and really makes the story more delightful.


The Story

There isn’t much of a story in My Neighbor Totoro. A Dad and his two daughters move to a small town and the two daughters discover a Totoro, a made up Kami like creature.

There is also the story of the girl’s mom, but I can’t mention too much of that without giving it away.

I wouldn’t say I was on the edge of my seat for the whole movie, but I was never uninterested. I wanted to see what happened next, even though the plot was simple.


Final Thoughts

I didn’t enjoy this movie as much as Spirited Away, but it is a great movie on its own. It’s light hearted and fun, and it would be a great movie to watch with your family.

Though it isn’t always innocent and easy to watch, it has some great lessons about life and hardship.


What did you think of My Neighbor Totoro? Where would you rank it in all of your Studio Ghibli movies? Let’s chat about it in the comments, and don’t forget to follow me on social media!
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TV Review: The Dragon Prince Seasons 1 – 3

Hello my dear readers, I hope things are going well with you. Being stuck inside has allowed me to cross off a few shows on my Netflix list, though I seem to add more shows than I finish watching.

I wanted something lighthearted and fun, with short episodes, and The Dragon Prince came across my radar. I had heard it had a lot of Avatar: The Last Airbender vibes, so I didn’t hesitate to pick it up.

So, what did I think of it?

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Title: The Dragon Prince
Network: Netflix
Rating: ★★★★☆

In the magical land of Xadia, magic comes from six primal sources: the sun, moon, stars, sky, earth and ocean. When human mages create a seventh kind of magic — dark magic — they start capturing and harvesting the unique magical creatures they need as ingredients, which sparks a war between Xadia and the Human Kingdoms. Three kids from opposite sides of the conflict — two princes and an elven assassin sent to kill them — discover a secret that could change everything and decide to join forces and go on an epic journey. That trek could be their only hope of ending the war and restoring peace to both worlds.


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The Animation

It took me a while to get used to the animation style. One moment it looked really good, then the next it felt almost two dimensional. It was a different animation style than I was used to but by the end I ended up liking it. It actually had some moments that were really beautiful, and I think both the dragons and the elves were beautifully designed.

They had such unique characteristics and features, and you could see the tiniest differences between the different groups of elves.

I will also admit that the fights were “well choreographed”. I find a lot of animated fights look really good, but the ones in The Dragon Prince had a good flow to them. They never felt clunky or too fluid. It felt right.


The World

The main focus of the first three seasons is not very political at all. It’s much more adventure based with a nice touch of politics in the background. Despite that, I think The Dragon Prince does a good job of explaining the world dynamic. Not just the separation of the elf and human kingdoms, but the intricacies between those two sides as well.

What The Dragon Prince does really well is allow us to explore the magic system. There are six main different sources of magic, and then dark magic. With Callum wanting to be a mage, we really get to explore the intricacies of how it works and the strengths/limitations the system has. It gave me a lot of Avatar vibes when we got to see the magic system.


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The Story

This is my favourite part of The Dragon Prince, because it is so simple. It’s not an original story at all. A group needs to travel across the world to deliver something to a certain spot. We’ve seen it dozens of times, but there is a beauty in simplicity.

It is one of the best ways to tell a story in a fantasy world, because we get to explore the world alongside the main characters. The Dragon Prince did it really well, because there was a good amount of mystery, drama, thrill and action along the way.

It is one of the best ways to tell a story in a fantasy world, because we get to explore the world alongside the main characters. The Dragon Prince did it really well, because there was a good amount of mystery, drama, thrill and action along the way.


Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed The Dragon Prince. It was a lot of fun to watch, and I think the writers did a great job at making every episode so different from each other, but making sure they all tied together nicely.

What did you think of The Dragon Prince? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
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Anime Review: Castlevania Season 3

Hello my dear anime lovers, I hope everything is going well, and anime continues to make you happy.

If you’ve been online at all in the past few weeks, and have an interest in anime, you’ve probably seen some posts on Castlevania, even if you haven’t seen it yourself.

It’s a Netflix Original anime, and Season 3 just came out recently, and since I just finished it last night, we’re gonna review it.

Castlevania Season 3

The Story so far…

This season was a bit slower for the Castlevania story. It wasn’t as fast paced as the first two seasons.

Dracula is dead, so our focus is on the Vampire alliance, the Belmont duo, and Alucard.

Alucard doesn’t do much, but he is a great example of social distancing! His focus is on training the siblings, and interacting with humans again now that he is awake.

The Vampire alliance is a bit slower too. They’re into the scheming and planning their next steps for subjugating the human race, so not a lot of action from their end.

Belmont et al. are the primary focus, and I liked the mystery they were trying to solve this season. It was a nice change from the constant fighting, though we get plenty of that still, don’t worry!

Castlevania Season 3 key art

Who’s who?

I don’t think any of the new characters really stood out this season. We got St. Germain, but I wasn’t a fan of him. He seemed to be too much like Trevor Belmont for my liking, but somehow worse.

Getting to explore the Forgemaster’s stories was nice. They had been introduced before, but they were background characters. We didn’t get the depth that we did this season.


The Battles: WOW

In 10 episodes, we probably get 3 or 4 BIG fights, but the battle at the end makes it all worth it.

It probably sounds pretty stupid, but I have a new appreciation for whips. Seeing a whip being used in this season, and sometimes two whips at once, has actually been really cool.

You don’t often see whips being used at all, and when they are it’s usually a slave master or something. They are an under appreciated weapon, that I really want to see more of now.


What’s next for Castlevania?

Obviously we don’t have an ending to the story yet. We will be (hopefully) getting more Castlevania.

I think with the next season, we will get a battle with Trevor and the Vampire Alliance. The battle built up this season, and I think next season will see the two sides clash.

We will also probably get more Alucard fights, in his slow descent into evil…turning into Dracula.

We don’t know when Season 4 will be out, but I know I’ll be watching it the moment that it does.


Have you seen Castlevania Season 3? Let’s talk about it in the comments or on social media.
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