Born a Bamboo Cutter’s Daughter: A Kaguya Review

Kaguya Monogatari PosterA little over two years ago, Ace and I started something we called “Ghibli Month” in which we watched all the movies in the Studio Ghibli library and reviewed them. I never planned on reviewing the final two movies in said library—if I watch them, and then review them, then I’m admitting to myself that there may be no more Ghibli movies, and I’m not ready for that. However, I finally sat down the other day and watched The Tale of Princess Kaguya, directed by Isao Takahata. Upon seeing the two hour timestamp, I was apprehensive that Takahata could really utilize all that time while keeping the film interesting. Looking back, I needn’t have worried.

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Trailer Tuesdays: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Just in time for the holidays—they’re coming up, all right? Give me a break—a new, longer trailer for the upcoming Ghibli movie The Tale of Princess Kaguya (輝夜姬物語) finally hit YouTube. To be completely honest, I think I’m more excited for this to get subtitled than The Wind Rises.

Yes, yes, I have respect for Miyazaki’s last work, but there’s just something special about the movies directed by Takahata–a difference that you may have picked up on if you’ve been keeping up with our Ghibli reviews. What it boils down to is that while Miyazaki goes after the fantastical settings and epic-quality plots, Takahata explores the more low-key aspects of life. Even Pom Poko, which was admittedly not realistic in the slightest, explores a general issue from a more narrowed lens. There are no countries at war, no devastation plaguing the earth. Instead there’s an issue or a story that affects a small portion of the world—a town, or even a family—which can be related to on a wider scale. In this way the two Ghibli directors complement each other perfectly, and will continue to complement each other until the very end: The Wind Rises deals with cross-continental relationships, both personal and professional, during World War II, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya deals with how a singular, momentary event changes the life of one family forever in ancient Japan.

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Ghibli in 2013: Returning to Their Roots

Christmas came early for me, it seems: yesterday while browsing Tumblr I discovered that Studio Ghibli has announced both of their movies for the 2013 season and both of them have so much potential. Both of them also hold the distinct trademarks of the two well-known directors that have presented us with such beautiful and thought-provoking films in the past.

From Isao Takahata’s branch we have Kaguya-hime no Monogatari (The Tale of Princess Kaguya). Perhaps better known under the title The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, the movie seems to be a traditional re-telling of the old tale. Takahata’s style definitely takes traditional Japanese notions and brings them to a modern audience in an act that always came off to me as a desire for his audience not to forget where they came from. In terms of people at Ghibli, Takahata is the one that I would trust most with a story like this since and if the art style on the movie poster is any indication on how the movie will be animated, this film is going to be just gorgeous.

From the other side of Ghibli, we have Hayao Miyazaki’s newest venture,

Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises). From what I’ve been able to find on this movie so far, it seems as though it’s based on the life of one Jiro Horikoshi, a fighter plane designer. Any fan of Ghilbi movies should recognize the resemblance to one of Miyazaki’s earlier films, Porco Rosso, and I can only hope that it will be just as charming.

Although there’s little information out on either right now, I’m excited to see the progress and reception of these films into the New Year.