Thursday, October 18, 2012

Spirited Away: A Hayao Miyazaki Masterpiece

Studioh Ghibli is one of the best animation studios in the world.  They have released and produced several outstanding films, including My Neighborhood Tottoro, Grave of the Fireflies, Castle in the Sky, and Ponyo.  But the best film studio Ghibli ever created is Spirited Away.  This animation film was made by none other than Hayao Miyazaki himself.  He is indeed a master storyteller and this amazing film proves it.  I hope to also show you the elements of the story and reveal what makes this a literary and storytelling masterpiece. 
The movie is about a little girl named Chihiro who's moving to another town.  She starts as a whiny child setting the stage for the character growth.  Her father takes a wrong turn and they find themselves in front of an old dilapidated building.  They explore and find food Kiosks.  Chihiro looks around and finds a mysterious boy known as Haku, who tells her to leave.  When she finds her parents, they've been turned into pigs.  Chihiro begins to dissapear and Haku saves her by making her eat food from this world.  He promises to help her free her parents from the witch Yubaba.  In order to save her parents, she must get a job at Yubaba's bath house.  Chihro confronts Yubaba and continuously asks for a job.  Yubaba tries to turn her away, but Chihiro persists relentlessly.  Yubaba gives her a job and steals Chihiro's name, renaming her Sen.  If she forgets her name, she belongs to Yubaba forever.  Sen proceeds to work hard and actually helps a river spirit who gives her medicine.  Chihro soon saves Haku, who turns out to be a Japanese Eastern Dragon, from Zeniba.  Haku stole her golden seal and if she does not get it back, he will die.  The two escape from Zeniba and Sen gives Haku some of the medicine.  He spits out the seal and a black slug, Sen eventually stepping on it.  It turns out later that the slug was how Yubaba controled Haku, and that Zeniba's spell could only be broken by true love.  Sen also faces a demon called No-Face, who througout the movies continues to offer her more than what she needs.  When he offers her gold, she declines showing her innocence compared to the other bathhouse workers.  She then gives the remainder of the medicine to No-Face saving him from his disgusted self.  Sen goes to Zeniba to return the seal and apologize for Haku.  Haku appears and takes her back to Yubaba.  Sen then remembers Haku's real name as the Kohaku river.  Haku is now completely free and now can leave Yubaba.  Sen faces Yubaba with one final challenge and succeeds again.  Haku then tells her to go and hopefully someday they will meet again.  Her parents are alright and they head back to the car.  To their shock, the car is covered with leaves suggesting that all that happened really did happen. 

I love this movie because the story has a great artistic design.  Every scene has exquisite detail in the scenery and in the action.  The music also is very lovely.  Each music piece fits the mood of the story perfectly.  I love the story most of all because of all the story elements that are found in fantasy and in children's literature.  Facing an evil witch, parents being turned into pigs, someone that looks around their age wants to help them, a child's innocence versus and adult's greed.  I love how Chihiro grows as a character, from a whiny girl to a mature girl who can handle moving on.  I especially love the dragon, Haku.  This is a unique romance in that no direct feelings of love are expressed.  It is the actions of the characters and the feelings they share that make their love unique.  I think that's what Hayao Miyazaki was after when he wrote this story.  Love comes in all forms.  As for me, this is one of the best love stories in the world.  It's suttle and heart warming. 
This is my favorite Hayao Miyazaki movie.  I hope all of you get a chance to watch it.  I rate this movie a 100% and give it five stars.  I hope I have encouraged you to watch this masterpiece. 
,Starvix Draxon

Monday, October 15, 2012

Night on Bald Mountain

It's Halloween when goblins, ghosts, and gouls prevail, where witches boil malevolent potions and werewolves howl to the bright full moon.  Sketletons dance clatter, clatter.  Demons, devils, and evil spirits whirl about dancing dark and seductive.  Halloween is coming up soon.  Be sure to dress up.  This is a tribute to our name sake, Fantasia.  The movie Fantasia had a special tribute at the end, something that fits the mood of Halloween.  We have here the musical piece of Night On Bald Mountain written by the Russian Composer Mussorgsky, followed by Frans Shubert's Ave Maria.  In the film Fantasia, the host tells the audience about the two contrasting pieces how one depicts Satan while the other shows the sacred nature of good.  In actuallity, the demon is not Satan but heathen slavic god, called Chernobog.  In slavic mythology, one set of the mythology believes in dualism between two gods, the white god, Byelobog, and the black god, Chernobog.  I find it very interesting how they use mythology for Mussorgsky's music.  It fits perfectly giving an appreciation of the culture.  It's the 15th of October, so I might as well share it now.  Ladies and gentlemen I give to you, Night On Bald Mountain!!!!!

 ,Starvix Draxon