I've long had an aversion to anime, but I don't know why, and Ghibli's really been the only anime I've gotten into, though lately I've started branching out into other directors. I think part of it was my perception was that anime was just kiddie action tv shows that held 0 interest to me.
I get Onderhond's frustration that Ghibli's success stifled the industry, but I don't think that the studio should be held accountable for that, but rather on the financiers who weren't willing to fund other ventures (I wasn't clear where you were placing the "blame").
Onderhond wrote: ↑February 9th, 2021, 10:41 am
Also interesting (and not touched upon) is that Grave of the Fireflies was intended as a critique on its main character, which hasn't been perceived by most people as such. The original story is (semi?)autobiographical, with the writer representing the brother in the story. He felt guilty that his pride and stubbornness cost the life of his little sister in the end. I think that's a much more interesting take then the usual "war is bad and oh those poor kids" take found in Western critiques of the film.
Thanks for bringing this up. The main reason why I don't think Grave of the Fireflies
is as amazing as everyone else seems to is that the kid is such a brat. I didn't realize that it was intended that way nor that there were autobiographical elements to the film - it just seemed like glorifying the selfishness of this kid, and all the "war is bad and oh those poor kids" reviews didn't jive with what I saw onscreen. Maybe I'll actually give this a revisit and see if my opinion improves.
And as to the OP questions....
What is the first Studio Ghibli film you saw, what do you remember and how did it impact you?
First one was Spirited Away
back in January '05. Didn't impact me; I thought it was pretty good, but nothing spectacular. I saw the English dub, and gave it a 7.8 (or at least that was the score I gave it when I updated my ratings a few years later).
Has your impression changed over the years?
They've done some great films, and some okay films. I've seen 15 Ghibli and Ghibli-adjacent films, with a low of 6.8 and a high of 8.8. The first 10 I saw were all dubbed in English, though, and since then I've only watched the original Japanese with subtitles. I plan to go back and rewatch them all in Japanese. I've read that Miyazaki prefers English audiences to see the English-language versions, but I find them a tad too juvenile and slightly off-kilter when compared to the Japanese versions (I've had a few where I've been able to compare scenes in both, and the English dialogue can be totally different from the subtitles). Plus, some of the stunt casting of famous voices throws me off and takes me out of the film's atmosphere, losing it's sense of wonder (I remember this especially with Mononoke
and Gillian Anderson).
Who do you prefer Miyazaki or Takahata? (and why?)
Miyazaki. Nothing special, I've simply rated his films higher, on average (7.98 vs 7.40).
What is your favourite Studio Ghibli film?
is an 8.8, but it's not technically Ghibli. So Howl's Moving Castle
would be it, at 8.4 Those are my only two favourites, for the time being.
Are any of the non-Miyazaki/Takahata films actually great?
From Up on Poppy Hill
Do you agree with Matthieu that they never wanted/needed an heir and it was all about Miyazaki and Takahata?
What do you think will happen to Ghibli in the future? Is there even a future after Hayao Miyazaki?
The studio will likely still exist as long as his son wants to continue, but they may not see the same critical/financial success that they've had in the past.
Will Miyazaki be able to stop? Can we expect more films?
I think he'll probably make another film or two.
What are your early impressions of Earwig and the Witch/the move to 3D?
I haven't seen anything about it yet, and am only barely aware of the project. No real opinion.
My Ghibli viewings, in chronological order.
Date - Rating - Title - Director
2005-01-07 - 7.8 - Spirited Away (dubbed) - Miyazaki
2005-04-04 - 8.2 - Princess Mononoke (dubbed) - Miyazaki
2005-12-27 - 8.8 - Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (dubbed) - Miyazaki
2007-08-16 - 6.8 - Pom Poko (dubbed) - Takahata
2009-08-18 - 8.4 - Howl's Moving Castle (dubbed) - Miyazaki
2009-12-17 - 7.2 - Castle in the Sky (dubbed) - Miyazaki - the only Miyazaki I was disappointed by
2010-06-28 - 7.8 - My Neighbour Totoro (dubbed) - Miyazaki
2010-09-10 - 7.8 - Kiki's Delivery Service (dubbed) - Miyazaki
2013-01-23 - 7.4 - Grave of the Fireflies (dubbed) - Takahata
2014-12-16 - 7.8 - Porco Rosso (dubbed) - Miyazaki
2015-07-18 - 7.8 - The Cat Returns - Morita
2016-01-23 - 8.0 - From Up on Poppy Hill - G. Miyazaki
2016-09-03 - 7.8 - Whisper of the Heart - Kondō
2018-03-03 - 8.0 - The Tale of the Princess Kaguya - Takahata
2018-03-13 - 8.2 - Spirited Away (rewatch) - Miyazaki
2020-12-03 - 7.6 - Ponyo - Miyazaki
When it comes to non-Ghibli anime, I've seen another 14 films, with mixed results (ranked):
8.4 - Tokyo Godfathers (Kon)
8.2 - The Boy and the Beast (Hosoda)
8.2 - Summer Wars (Hosoda)
8.2 - Your Name (Shinkai)
8.0 - Akira (Ōtomo)
8.0 - Perfect Blue (Kon)
8.0 - Wolf Children (Hosoda)
8.0 - Five Centimetres per Second (Shinkai)
7.4 - Children Who Chase Lost Voices (Shinkai)
7.4 - Garden of Words (Shinkai)
7.2 - Cowboy Bebop (Watanabe, dubbed)
6.8 - Vampire Hunter D: II (Kawajiri, dubbed)
6.6 - Vampire Hunter D: I (Ashida, dubbed)
4.8 - Angel's Egg (Oshii)
P.S. One of the mods may want to update the site header link - it still highlights the podcast from three months ago.