Wednesday, May 19, 2004

More Movies Your Kids Probably Haven't Seen

These animes are by the same director as My Neighbor Totoro. All are original stories and each is a treasure in its own right. {Note to anime fans: I am aware of Princess Mononoke but don't think it is in the same league as these.}

Kiki's Delivery Service is about a plucky 13-year-old girl who is spending her first year soloing as an apprentice witch. Kiki is still inexperienced but that is offset by her resourcefulness, imagination, and determination. With her trusty cat Jiji by her side she's ready to make her mark in the village she's chosen as her new home. This is sweet and charming in the same way that My Neighbor Totoro was.

The Castle of Cagliostro delivers plenty of adventure in this caper flick. The mysterious adventurer Lupin III and his faithful sidekick, Jigen encounter a runaway bride, a magical ring, an evil count with a dastardly plan, an inspector bent on catching Lupin, perilous rooftop chases, ninjas with superhuman powers, a counterfeiting scheme, and an ancient mystery. This is full of wise cracks and off handed wit in the same way as hard boiled mysteries of the 1930s were.

Spirited Away is my personal favorite. More complex than the other movies mentioned, it combines Japanese and Russian folklore in a fascinating fantasy. On the way to their new home, Chihiro and her parents find what they think is a deserted amusement park. Her parents stuff themselves until they turn into pigs, and Chihiro discovers they're trapped in a resort for traditional Japanese gods and spirits. Naturally Chihiro must save them and does so with pluck and determination.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh! We love Spirited Away, too. But this is the first that I've ever heard about the Russian influence. Have you watched My Neighbor Totoro? That's probably my favorite of all, or it's neck and neck with Spirited.