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  • John D Rateliff
    Dec 2, 2005
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      I'd just like to add my voice to Ellen's, Walter's, and Amy's praise
      of Hayao Miyazaki's work: there's a reason he's widely viewed as the
      finest animated filmmaker in the world. I'd recommend KIKI'S DELIVERY
      SERVICE as perfect for that age group: it's the story of a thirteen-
      year-old girl setting out to make a place for herself in the world.
      MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO skews slightly younger, but it's the film he's
      most loved for in Japan. SPIRITED AWAY is a wonderful fairy tale that
      skews slightly older. THE CAT RETURNS, his studio's latest release
      but made by a different director (he and his partner are trying to
      groom a next generation of talent to take over after they're gone),
      is good lighthearted fun aimed squarely at that age group.
      The whole Studio Ghilbi film catalogue is worth checking out for
      anyone at all interested in animation or fantasy film, ranging from
      GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES (a truly heartbreaking tale about a brother
      and sister orphaned by Allied firebombing in WWII Japan*) to
      NAUSICAA: THE VALLEY OF THE WIND (a girl trying to stop a war and
      ecological devastation in a post-apocalyptic world; generally
      considered his masterpiece) to PORCO ROSSO (a WWI flier trying to
      make a living as a freelance pilot in the 1920s Adriatic after having
      been turned into a giant pig) to PRINCESS MONONOKI (a brutal fight
      between those defending the wilderness and those who want to
      modernize), and much more, from quiet slice-of-life tales of first
      love (WHISPERS OF THE HEART) to a dystopian little micro-film that
      tells its entire story in five minutes (ON YOUR MARK). Luckily, the
      huge anime boom of the last few years means that these films have
      finally all been released over here: for years Disney, which bought
      up the US rights, would neither release them nor allow anyone else to
      do so.


      *do NOT watch this one without a plentiful supply of kleenix in the
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