Movie Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service

Hello dear Ghibli fans, I come to you this week with a review of Kiki’s Delivery Service.

If you don’t know by now, I am slowly making my way through the Studio Ghibli catalog and reviewing each of the movies. So far I’ve reviewed: Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo.

If you like this review, make sure to follow my blog and social channels!
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Title: Kiki’s Delivery Service
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: ★★★★☆
Buy it here

13-year-old Kiki moves to a seaside town with her talking cat, Jiji, to spend a year alone, in accordance with her village’s tradition for witches in training. After learning to control her broomstick, Kiki sets up a flying courier service and soon becomes a fixture in the community. But when the insecure young witch begins questioning herself and loses her magic abilities, she must overcome her self-doubt to get her powers back.

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Simple is Best

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a perfect example of why I love movies with a simple premise. Often it’s thriller movies with a simple but intriguing concept that I like the most, but Kiki follows the same principle.

Its premise is simple, but the storytelling possibilities are endless, and that’s what makes it beautiful. It could have been a much more confusing movie. With magic and technology working hand in hand, the world building could have been a lot more in-depth, but it didn’t need to be. It fit perfectly to the feel of the movie, and I wouldn’t ask for it to be any more in-depth than it is.


Coming of Age

This theme seems to be quite common for Ghibli movies, and its amazing to see it in so many different ways.

It’s quite a common theme in storytelling, but it’s effective. When done well it can get you to relate with the characters, and you see their growth.

Kiki’s Delivery Service tells a great coming of age story, despite some parts being a bit unbelievable. We see a strong, determined Kiki go through struggles and fears to push through them and become a strong young woman in her own right.


Soft Magic

Kiki’s Delivery Service, like many of the Studio Ghibli movies has magic involved, but we never really get any explanation of it. We don’t get the rules of who can do what sort of magic, all we get is that people can do magic.

Magic can often be used as a storytelling device, which it is in Kiki’s case, but it doesn’t grow with our characters. Our characters don’t get stronger the further into the story we get, they just embrace their powers and use them as a part of themselves.


Final Thoughts

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a great movie that is obviously family friendly. If you can get past the “old-school” animation style it’s a great movie to cuddle up on the couch with and enjoy one night.

It’s not only enjoyable and fun, but it teaches some great lessons for kids to learn.


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

Manga Review: Akame Ga Kill

Hello my dear manga readers, I feel sadness in my heart when I think back on this manga and anime.

I will be honest and admit that I did watch the anime of Akame Ga Kill before I read the manga, but I like them both for different reasons.

Akame Ga Kill is not a long manga at all, only 78 chapters long. That might seem long to some, but when I’m used to reading One Piece and Naruto that is in the hundreds, 78 is relatively short.

If you’ve read Akame Ga Kill, or have any suggestions for a manga I should read, let me know in the comments or send me a message on social media.
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Title: Akame Ga Kill
Author: Takahiro
Rating: ★★★★☆

The story focuses on Tatsumi, a young villager who travels to the Capital to raise money for his home only to discover strong corruption in the area. The assassin group known as Night Raid recruits the young man to help them in their fight against the corrupt Empire.


World-building is Key

I’m a sucker for a well-developed world that you can immerse yourself in. A lot of my favourite series are ones that build an entire world around the reading experience.

Akame Ga Kill does not do a lot of world-building, but it creates a wonderful world around it. We get an understanding of the way the world works in a narrow lens of it all. There is almost no mention of what goes on outside of our characters’ lives yet we know how the world works and the atrocities in it.

Our main focus is on a group of assassins trying to make this world a better place by killing the corrupt men and women of the capital.

We get a bit of history and lore as we discover new characters and new areas, but its shallow and only enough for the next little arc to make sense.

And that’s all we need. The story isn’t world focused, its character focused, and they drive the plot forward with their actions.


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Characters Make the Story

When a story is driven forward by its characters, there is a lot more emotional investment in what happens next. If we don’t fall in love with the characters, then we don’t get the emotional attachment to their actions and any potential conflicts they might need to face.

Akame Ga Kill does a brilliant job of making me fall in love with a group of characters, each so unique and lovable in their own way.

It doesn’t take long for you to love each of the main characters, and people all have a different favourite. No matter who their favourite is, it doesn’t take you long to feel like one of the team.

I wouldn’t say I have one favourite character, because it is often their interactions with others that make me like them so much. If I had to choose, I think I would pick Akame. There is a lot more to her than we get to see outright in the story. If we don’t pick up on subtle cues here and there, her character is a lot different.


Hits you in the Feels

I never thought I would be so emotionally involved in such a short time. You read the first few chapters, and before you know it, you’re already 10-15 chapters in and the story is really rolling. We get connected to these recent strangers with a brilliant plot of assassinating threats to a free world.

Since we mainly follow a new recruit named Tatsumi, we get to interact with each member of the team as they teach Tatsumi something new.

When each character has their important moments, you feel like you’re connected with them on a deeper level since you just went on a mission with them.

Though I didn’t cry at any point, I think a lot of readers will. My emotions were all over the place when I was reading this, so prepare yourself of you’re prone to tears.



Final Thoughts

If you enjoy action-based manga, Akame Ga Kill is a must read for you. It’s short, has some of the best manga fight scenes I have seen, and is character driven, giving the reader a real emotional connection as the story progresses.

Honestly the only reason that it didn’t get a 5 out of 5 star rating was because it did feel a bit repetitive at times, and the writer had a hard time coming up with ways to advance the plot forward smoothly.


What did you think of Akame Ga Kill, and who was your favourite character? Let’s chat about it in the comments or 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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