wDec 23, 2006

Our Christmas tree is pretty.

I am home with my family! Today was an intense day involving travel, buying of some last few presents, wrapping of presents, take-out Chinese for dinner with my mom and my sister and her family, and (of course) a trip to the library!

First things first: the library has vastly expanded its collection of both anime and manga, and for that I am gleeful. I have begun by checking out the entire Haibane Renmei series. It sounds like something Ryan might like, too, so hopefully we'll have time to watch it in the next 7 days. Dave, or anyone else who's home - if you're interested, let me know! I don't work at all this coming week, except for Saturday! The series sounds interesting, and lots of people conjecture that it takes place in Purgatory, which I find intriguing.

Movie Review
The highlight of this evening was watching the movie "My Neighbor Totoro" for the first time, along with my sister and her children. The movie was made by Studio Ghibli, which has been compared by many people as the "Japan's answer to Disney." I would have to disagree - I think that the movies made by Ghibli are much better. For example, the female heroines are pragmatic, strong, and compassionate, unlike Disney heroines who tend to flail around and wait for someone to save them (almost every Disney heroine ever), or act for selfish reasons only (Ariel). Anyway. Studio Ghibli movies are relatively famous the world over. In the United States, it is one of the rare instances in which good English voice actors are hired to perform the dubbed voices. Notable actors from various films include Lauren Bacall, Edward James Olmos, Uma Thurman, Billy Crystal, Christian Bale, Minnie Driver, and Claire Danes. In the re-release of this movie, which is what I watched, Dakota Fanning and her sister Elle give voice to two sisters: Satsuki and Mei, who have just moved to the country with their father; their mother is in a nearby hospital, recovering from tuberculosis and unable to currently live with her family.

Unlike other Studio Ghibli films such as Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, or Princess Mononoke, both environmentalism and magic/gods are given more subtle roles in this film. Granted, Totoro is a large cat-like being who is integral to resolving the plot, but the focus of the film is on the two sisters. Their relationship is playful and infused with fierce loyalty. I don't know how they do it, but Studio Ghibli succeeds in presenting fully formed, incredibly realistic little girls in this movie. The things they say and the ways in which they react to situations are so true to life.

I can't recommend this movie enough. It is heartwarming, the backgrounds are gorgeous in typical Studio Ghibli style, and it told its story well, even if only judging by "how many times did Jackie almost cry?" (4!). Plus, the movie is rated G, so you can watch it with small children! Olivia and Amelia also enjoyed the movie (the kids had 2 friends over, and Dylan was otherwise occupied for most of the duration of the film with epic lightsaber battles in his bedroom.

Current Music: Cider House Rules on TV....we jumped in at the middle and I'm confused.

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scribbled mystickeeper at 11:38 PM

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By Blogger Karin, at 5:38 AM, December 24, 2006  

Haibane Renmei is really good. Of course I've only watched the first DVD, but I plan to buy the rest some day when I feel rich and they have them in the store.

And of course: Merry Christmas!!

By Blogger Karin, at 5:40 AM, December 24, 2006  

I'm glad to hear that you liked it! Hopefully Ryan and I will, too!

I hope you have a Merry Christmas, too! Hopefully, unlike here, Sweden has some snow so that you can have a White Christmas!

By Blogger Jackie, at 11:49 AM, December 24, 2006  

Nope, we have no snow here either. It has been really warm and rainy all fall... At least it was sunny and clear yesterday.

By Blogger Karin, at 1:03 PM, December 25, 2006  

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