Tag Archives: Studio Ghibli

Anime and the Environment

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You ever just think about how are existence on this planet is becoming increasingly fragile and that human activity is largely contributing to our own demise? Yeah, me too. The amount of immediate world issues that are important tend to overshadow environmental policy, even during a time when these issues are too crucial to ignore. Luckily, the lineage of great anime directors seem to understand their importance. In my column for this week, I touch on Anime’s environmental messages. Enjoy!


If the quarantine regarding COVID-19 has revealed anything, it is that human impact on the environment is still at an all-time high. The empty roads, the parks littered with trash and gas stations are all a reminder that humans have, for the better but mostly for the worse, altered the planet to suit our needs, causing pollution and the rise of man-made climate change. 

While its oftentimes quirky and abundantly random nature may make it an odd choice for messages about the environment, directors like Hayao Miyazaki and Makoto Shinkai have already used anime as a way to warn people about the importance of environmental awareness.

Miyazaki’s work on this topic goes back to his earliest films working as a director. In “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind,” Nausicaa attempts to learn the secrets of an ancient forest that has been attempting to communicate with her. However, she has to do so before the kingdom of Tolmekia succeeds in wiping it out for good. The film subtly represents the idea that humans are not above nature, but rather a part of it.

A similar concept appears in Ghibli and Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke,” where a young prince named Ashitaka must find a cure for a disease given to him by a demon. After journeying to a place called Irontown, he finds out that the mining and crafting of iron products have polluted the nearby area and made the spirits of the surrounding forest angry. Again the film shows a conflict between humans who wish to alter the environment for selfish gain and nature itself. 

Rising star and director of the 2016 hit film “Your Name” has also contributed to environmental consciousness. His latest film “Weathering with You” features a story about a girl named Hina who gains the power to control the weather. However, after using her powers in order to make money, she is forced to join the sky with the weather spirits, although not before being rescued by Hodoka, a boy who recently moved to Tokyo. 

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As a result of not paying the price for her powers, Tokyo becomes cursed with constant rain, leaving much of the city underwater. These depictions of a new dystopian world reflect the director’s concern for climate change, not just as a threat to nature but as a threat to human existence. 

However, these depictions of human impact on the environment in anime are not surprising given the cultural context of Japan. Ever since Japan’s emergence as a world leader on environmental policy in the late 1980s, its government has continued to emphasize reducing citizen impact on the environment.

Much of this has been done by introducing recycling in major metropolitan areas, such as Tokyo, as well as across the country. Japan has also asked private businesses to consider the environmental impact of their day-to-day operations. They have even gone as far as to introduce a number of voluntary programs and campaigns encouraging citizens to participate.

While it is true that younger people are increasingly skeptical of the government’s efforts, many in Japan are of the opinion that environmental regulations should be stronger, not weaker. 

It seems common knowledge at this point, but the media people consume can affect their positions on political issues. Even though environmental issues can seem far removed from people’s everyday lives, they are an ever-looming presence that is inescapable. Both Miyazaki’s and Shinkai’s films are not only great entertainment but emphasize one of the defining issues of this generation.   


How do you all feel about these issues? Are you fans of Ghibli and Shinkai? Let me know in the comments below.

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The Top Five Best Studio Ghibli Movies

Welcome, weebs and authors alike, to The Aniwriter

Studio Ghibli is a company that needs no introduction, but that I am going to give one anyone just for the sake of understanding. Founded in 1985, the studio has continued to make incredible animated films for over 30 years. The studio is also famous for one of its founding members, Hayao Miyazaki, who has directed many of the studios most iconic films. Today, I thought I would talk about what I see as the five best Studio Ghibli films. There will not be a particular order to these films, because, at the end of the day, all of them are incredible.

Castle in the Sky

Castle in the sky

Director: Hiyao Miyazaki

One of the oldest and still one of the most interesting, Castle in the sky tells the story of a young boy trying to discover the mysteries of a strange castle named Laputa that supposedly floats through the sky. Along the way, he meets a girl named Sheeta who helps him in his quest to find the castle. The movie arguably has a much faster pace than many of its Ghibli contemporaries, and that’s what makes it interesting. Pazu meets Sheeta, and then very quickly the story accelerates, and before you know it they have found the castle. Even though I have already seen it a few times, It is one of those films that I would never mind watching again.

Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Arguably the most famous Studio Ghibli film, aside from Spirited Away, Mononoke is a story that brings environmentalism to the forefront in one of the most awesome ways possible. Ashitaka is a warrior from a small village who, despite killing an attacking demon, gets cursed, and will die if the curse is not lifted. After a long adventure and a giant, angry forest rampaging around, all of the characters, including Ashitaka, learn just how important nature really is. Miyazaki has long been a promoter of the environment in his films, and it absolutely works. The message is always a result of a well-told story combined with great animation, and never feels forced. Princess Mononoke is a great example of this in action.

Grave of the Fireflies

Grave-of-the-Fireflies.jpg

Director: Isao Takahata

Isao Takahata, Studio Ghibli’s other directorial half, is an often overlooked director, and Grave of the Fireflies is a great example. The movie tells the story of a brother and sister trying to survive a wartorn Japan in the final months of World War 2. To say this movie is emotional would be an understatement. Seita and Setsuko, the movie’s main leads, are not especially interesting by themselves, but their strong relationship during the war makes sense in the context of the story. It is also a story that still resonates strongly with the events of today. Be it the Syrian Civil War, the War in Yemen, or the dozens of conflicts happening around the world, it is important to remember those affected by these events.

Only Yesterday

Only Yesterday

Director: Isao Takahata

Funny enough, it was Only Yesterday when I had not seen this movie whatsoever. Having not heard anything about it before watching it, I did not have any expectations going into it, and I can honestly say that I came out amazed. Only Yesterday is not a particularly complex story, or one that tries to be incredibly deep. But, it does hit on a truth that affects all people: that eventually we all have to decide what our life means, and what we really want to do with it, and in that I can find much Solace.

The Wind Rises

The Wind Rises

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Of all the films on this list, The Wind Rises is one that I am surprised was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Being moreso a historical drama about the life of Jiro Horikoshi, who designed some of Japan’s most famous fighter planes, which does not sound like he would direct, it initially came across as being something I would not enjoy. But, in this case I was more than happy to be wrong. The Wind Rises is a wonderful film that uses its animation to express all of the different parts of Jiro’s life: His love for design, his work ethic, and his eventual relationship with Naoko. Since we know this is not going to be Miyazaki’s last film now, I won’t say much about his legacy here, but if this were his last film, that would be ok with me.


What are your Top 5 Best Studio Ghibli Films? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

This Week in Anime: Studio Ghibli, Anime Films Head to U.S. Theaters and More…

Well, after being on another week-long Hiatus, sorry about that by the way, I am back and ready to talk about the news for this week, and addressing some of the stories I missed from last week. Believe me, there are some things that need addressing. With that being said, let’s get started.

Studio Ghibli Theme Park will Fully Open in 2022

Originally announced back in June of 2017, a Studio Ghibli theme park is now set to open in 2022. The park was supposed to be open by 2020, but it now is slated for a later date to setbacks in construction.

The park, when opened, will consist of 5 different main areas. The first, called Youth Hill, will feature scenery from Howl’s Moving Castle and Whisper of the Heart. The second part of the park will be an indoor area open year round, complete with a swimming pool and screening area. The third area will be inspired by Princess Mononoke and will include statues of the films most famous characters, such as the Tatari-gami. The last two areas include one with scenery from Howl’s Moving Castle and Kiki’s Delivery Service and the other will be exclusively inspired by My Neighbor Totoro.

There really is not a lot to say about this other than that if I go to Japan after its done, I will certainly be planning a day or two around coming here. It looks like it could be a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see pictures of it.

“Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel” and “Fireworks” Films Receive U.S. Release Date

Heaven's Feel
Source: Japantimes.com

Fireworks
Source: Fireworksmovieusa.com

As of this week, the latest creation from J.C. Staff “Fireworks,” as well as the first of the newest trilogy of Fate movies Heaven’s Feel, have been confirmed for a theatrical release in the United States. The company GKIDS announced that they will be collaborating with Fathom Events in order to bring the film to theatres in July on the third, fifth, and seventh of the month. As well, Fathom Events and Aniplex of America are looking to bring the newest addition to the Fate franchise to the big screen on June fifth and seventh.

I’ll be honest with you guys, I am really excited for one of these films, and only slightly interested in the other. I’ve been a fan of the Fate/ franchise for quite some time and considering how well the full-length TV anime adaption of Unlimited Blade Works was, I have every reason to believe the last of the visual novel’s storylines, Heaven’s Feel, is going to be just as good.

Fireworks, on the other hand, seems to be riding on the popularity of Your Name at this point, and, based on the setup and the fact that the guy producing it was also the head producer for Your Name, seems to be a bit of a copycat. Either way, I’ll probably end up seeing both of them because I like seeing anime in theatres whenever I can, so hopefully, Fireworks is not as bad as many have been saying it is.

Producer of “Darling in the Franxx” Receives Death Threats After the Release of Episode 14

Darling in the Franxx
Source: Funimation.com

As many of you may know already, because of the contents of episode fourteen of Darling in the Franxx, specifically events surrounding one of the more pivotal characters Ichigo, many of the members of the cast received hateful messages and even death threats. The largest target of the show’s staff is its producer, Yuichi Fukushima.

Fukushima and others received the threats after the episode aired, with some messages they received suggesting that it would be better if they killed themselves.

Honestly, I do not think I am really going to be saying anything original, but this story was so Heinous that I needed to talk about it.

Let’s just start off with a few things 1) anime is not real, 2) the person receiving the most threats for what happened in the story is not even the person they should be mad at. Fukushima is the animation producer. 3) Most importantly, a character in a show not doing what you want them to is not a reason to threaten someone’s life or suggest that they kill themselves.

Not a single bit of what happened last week was even remotely ok, and anyone who sent messages in that vain to any of the staff should be ashamed of themselves.


What do you guys think of this week’s anime related news? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!