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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Best Quotes from Akame Ga Kill

“There is no way to train your heart to be invulnerable.”
– Lubbock

“I had a friend who was very kind to me. No matter what happened or how badly I messed up, she never once made fun of me. The time I spent with her was the only ray of happiness in my entire life.”
– Sheele

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“No matter how many good deeds you perform, your past sins cannot be erased.”
– Sheele


“As the living it is our responsibility to carry out the wishes of the ones who are gone.”
– Akame

“No one would help me. And that’s when I understood… That only I could help myself.”
– Mine

“Everyone has their own reasons to fight! Sometimes, you have to settle it yourself or there’s no way forward!”
– Tatsumi


“The reason doesn’t matter. As long as a tiny bit of hope exists, that’s all that matters.”
– Tatsumi

“If we quit now, then all the dead would have died for nothing.”
– Leone

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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Manga of the Month: Tower of God

Hello dear readers, I want to showcase a manga to you that I’ve really enjoyed, even more so since its anime release at the beginning of the month.

Now technically Tower of God is considered a Manhwa, which from my understanding is just the Korean version of a manga.

It is written and drawn by Lee Jong-hui, who goes by the pen-name S.I.U, and has been serialized weekly in Naver’s webtoon platform Naver Webtoon since June 30, 2010, with the individual chapters collected and published by Young Com into two volumes as of April 2020.


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Why should you read it though?

Tower of God centers around a boy called Twenty-Fifth Bam, who has spent most of his life trapped beneath a vast and mysterious Tower, with only his close friend, Rachel, to keep him company. When Rachel enters the Tower, Bam manages to open the door into it as well, and faces challenges at each floor of this tower as he tries to find his closest companion.

As the story progresses, the reader gradually explores the lore, history, and motivations of important characters and factions that drive or try to change the fate of the tower, for more than 10,000 years. Mysteries are gradually unveiled and added, as the readers learn about the struggles and triumphs of the inhabitants of the tower.”


It has action, comedy, adventure, and it feels like a video game because there are quests and side-quests, leveling up, weapon choices, different races.

It was sort of a hidden gem that was quite popular, but nobody was really speaking about because they wanted to keep it a secret.

If you don’t mind catching up on a few hundred chapters, which contain some really beautiful artwork, then you definitely need to check out Tower of God.

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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10 Anime I Can’t Wait To Watch!

Hello my dear anime lovers, today’s post has you in mind. My love for anime comes and goes in its strength, but at the end of the day, anime will always be a medium I love to enjoy.

There’s so much to pick from, and there are hundreds of stories to tell, I don’t think I could ever get bored.

Some anime I have been watching for years, some I just discovered recently. I’m not sure if you’re an anime fan, but I could go on for hours on the beauty of it.

This list will have some anime that are brand new, some that have been going on for a while and a new season is coming out, and some will have been coming out for a few decades already, and a few that have been out for a while, but I just haven’t found the time to watch yet

One Piece

A series that have been going on for almost as ling as I have been alive. With the current arc that is being adapted into the anime medium, I am excited to see things come into action.

Fight scenes, beautiful country landscapes, and samurai. I’m excited to catch up on the Wane arc.


Haikyuu!! Riku vs. Kuu

I rushed through Haikyuu!! in just a few weeks, so I know I will enjoy this spin-off show. It won’t be long, but I love the characters involved.

This was the first sports anime I watched, and being a volleyball player, I know the reality behind the whole show.


Made in Abyss

I recently found this one because of an anime Youtube channel I follow, and I was disappointed to find out I caught up so quickly.

There’s a new movie that supposedly continues the story came out in January, and I heard rumors of a new season too, so I will be watching it the instant it comes out.


Gleipnir

So I recently read the entirety of the Pygmalion manga, which is about mascots coming to life and killing hundreds of people. Gleipnir follows a similar presence, and from what I have seen, it looks like something I will enjoy.

I’ve begun to appreciate horror recently, so I’m excited to get through the first season of Gleipnir.


The Promised Neverland

Honestly I have stopped myself from looking up this show. I’ve heard very minimal spoilers, but a lot of praise for The Promised Neverland, so I added it to the list on blind trust.


Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma

I read a bit of the manga, but I quickly couldn’t keep up in the midst of reading other manga. I really enjoyed the story’s premise, and thought hey, let’s watch the anime!

It looks really good, and I think this is an anime that will look better on video than it does on the page!


Vinland Saga

Anime and vikings. Is there anything else to enjoy? Two worlds thrown together that make a perfect match. Another show I don’t know a lot of, and has been going on for a while that I just haven’t found the time for yet.

Attack on Titan Season 4

DAMN AM I EXCITED FOR SEASON 4 OF ATTACK ON TITAN. This show got better and better with each season, and with the final season coming out in October, I can’t wait!

It’s not just action packed, but full of mystery and deception. I know this show might be over-hyped to some people, but I really enjoy watching it.


Tower of God

I found this little-known manwa many years ago, and thought it was my own precious gem. I always wanted it to be adapted to an anime, and now that it is here, I can’t tell you how excited I am!

Just a few more weeks, and Bam will be climbing the tower on a screen near you.


What anime are you excited about, new or old? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
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My Top 10 Anime

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Hello my tireless readers and anime watchers, welcome to yet another Top 10 Tuesday. This week I came up with my own topic, and I thought I would share my top 10 anime…which will be ranked in proper order.

Make sure to share your favourite anime, because my list of ones I want to watch isn’t long enough yet.

10. Future Diary

One I discovered recently, but I really enjoy the strategy behind it all. Has a few slower moments, but overall its very interesting.


9. Dragon Ball Series

A classic series of all anime lovers. I have been watching the series since I was a kid and I love how simple it is. Just gotta get stronger and stronger.


8. Fairy Tail

Though I have a lot of issues with this one, I love it at the same time. I love how connected I feel to all the main characters.


7. Tengen Toppa Gurren Laggan

A short action anime with mechs the size of planets. It was one of my first anime and I love rewatching it every now and then.


6. Attack on Titan

Since the release of the newer seasons, I have been so engrossed in the story. Season 4 can’t come soon enough.


5. Naruto Series (Minus Boruto)

One of the first anime I watched, and one I followed right until the end. Though Naruto has some issues, I love him as a character and will watch some fight scenes over again.


4. My Hero Academia

A controversial choice for many, but I love the depth it goes to to give depth to each character.


3. One Piece

If you need to wonder why this anime is good, then we need to have a talk. One Piece has been the anime I have watched over and over, and the sheer scale of it is amazing.


2. Haikyuu!!

A newer anime on my watched list, I’m surprised it took me this long to watch a volleyball anime when I am a volleyball player. The accuracy to some of the player’s internal dialogues is what has kept me interested, but it keeps getting better.


1. Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Need I say more? It’s got everything you could want in an anime; action, suspense, romance, humor, mystery. I mean what else could you ask for?


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What are your top 10 anime? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
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