My Neighbour Totoro

If you’re not all warm inside after watching this – call an ambulance! In fact, I’d better do it for you, because you’re probably dead.

The films of Hayao Miyazaki are pure imagination painted on screen. Full of warmth and madness, they stay with you long after watching.

I honestly don’t know whether it’s because Japanese storytelling conventions are very different from ours, or whether it’s just cos they’re bonkers, but when wacky insanity happens in Japanese films, the characters tend to just accept it and get on with the story. Soot gremlins in the loft? Well of course there are. A big furry monster at the bottom of the garden? Mmm, lets snuggle on his tummy. It makes for a dreamlike experience, imagination unfettered by the need for logic or rationality. My kind of world.

Whenever I watch a Studio Ghibli film I feel like I’ve been hugged by a mad but beloved auntie with a nutty story to tell. (Apart from Grave of the Fireflies which will harsh your vibe for a week. Seriously.)

And of course, the animation is spectacular. I found this compilation of clips from Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Laputa, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle and Nausicaa. Ignore the music and feast your eyes on the visuals. Don’t you want to visit some of these places? Be aware it’s not just empty spectacle. You’ll be dazzled, but you’ll care.

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