When Marnie Was There – Farewell to Studio Ghibli

When Marnie Was There / Omoide no Marnie anime movie posterWhen Marnie Was There (in Japanese, “Omoide no Marnie”, or “Memories of Marnie”) has the distinction of not only being Studio Ghibli’s latest film, but as current plans stand, of also being their last theatrical film. I’ve watched most of Studio Ghibli’s films, and bidding them farewell is not an easy thing, but should we bid them goodbye, or are they still there for us? I feel that this film deals with that very question.

Before I begin my thematic discussion and analysis of the film, because this write-up will contain numerous spoilers, I’ll cut to the chase and say that this film is my 2nd favourite Studio Ghibli film from the last two decades, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. The film is directed by Yonebayashi Hiromasa who directed The Secret World of Arrietty and is based on a novel by the same name by Joan G. Robinson, first published in 1967, which is set in England.

While it might not seem so at first glance, I hold that When Marnie Was There is a film about growing up. Growing up is also growing past, and beyond this film being about Anna’s journey of growing past her own pains, it is also a film about us growing to leave Studio Ghibli, or at least Studio Ghibli as it is in Miyazaki’s films (as Takahata’s are different in style), behind. And in order to do so, the film that seems much less about the “magical journey”, is anything but.

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that rose in my mind as a result of watching the show. There will be massive spoilers for the film.)

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Whisper of the Heart – The Dreary versus Fantasy (Worlds).

The kids, and the cat.

So I’ve watched Whisper of the Heart in a Hayao Miyazaki focused film festival of sorts last Friday (along with Porco Rosso, I’ve watched all the other films they had there previously), and I was bothered by something  in Whisper of the Heart, well, a couple of things.

There will be a certain amount of spoilers, be advised.

The first is that it had a “point”, a moral, a lesson it had tried to pass, when I think it’d have worked better as a “Slice of Life” story that just showcases something. Porco Rosso on the other hand was cute, but it was rambling and a bit directionless.

Whisper of the Heart follows Shizuku Tsukihima, a girl who loves reading books, at her senior year of junior high school. In a way, she lives in the world of imagination, reading books voraciously, and fantasizing about the boy whose name appears before hers in many of the books she loves.

By the by, she is a junior high school student, and while some aspects of her and her classmates seem a bit off in age, as in, some fit high schoolers better, and some actually fit elementary schoolers (and even 4th-5th graders at that), on the whole, it seemed fitting, the behaviour, which meant quite a bit. I hate it when films totally butcher how younger people behave for the sake of cliches.

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