Tie Your Shoestrings Here

Fighting Normalcy One Post at a Time

Animation is Serious Stuff

We will now take a break from your regular barrage of wedding vomit blog posts to bring you something entirely different.

Please hold.

———- 20 % loaded ———— 60% loaded ———- 83% loaded——— 100% loaded——

Hello, it’s nice to see you back again (if you’re even reading this).
I realized that this wasn’t just a wedding blog. It’s also a lifestyle blog. My lifestyle.

I get obsessed easily. Show me a new television series and I’ll have to have everything associated with it. I’ll marathon the three season box set and I’ll jump immediately afterwards onto Tumblr to reblog whatever I can find about it. I’m a weak person who is dictated not by her mind but by her heart.

Still, considering what I like which is a very large and diverse pool of things that you could pick out, I’m mainly concentrated in the areas of film, weddings, food, books, music and FANDOM. Don’t even get me started on Fandom, we’ll be here until the apocalypse and I’d still be here chatty your pretty head off. So instead, for this post I’ve decided to tell you a few of my favourite asian animated films.

The thing with Asian animated films is that they are in a league completely on its own. Unlike Western animation films which generally are targeted at children, Asians take animation seriously. We have evolved animation in a craft, something that is entire unique to our specific heritage and that I suppose is the allure of it. It also helps that I am a very proud Asian. Not in the sense where I want Westerns to grovel before me, lick my pretty boots and fed me delicately crafted smoked salmon parcels although I honestly wouldn’t mind those smoked salmon parcels.

I love Asia and even though I am studying in Australia which I love so very much, there is no way I could ever leave the bright humidity of my homeland. Asia is special in the way that orientalism and reality crash together in one hot, heavy mix. It’s an explosion of the senses and although at times you are left with a bitter tang in your mouth you realize that you don’t want to be anywhere else but Asia. For how much I complain about Asia’s negativity (especially in regards to my native country) I truly do love it and I love the people.

Again, I’m drawing off track. So back to what I was trying to get at.
Animation is serious business. The industry is as cut throat as the fiercest business empire and one wrong move and you are blacklisted forever.
Don’t even think that it’s child’s play because darling, you are so naive. So terribly naive that I want to hold you in my bosom and tell you the world is made of cotton candy and has molten caramel rivers. If I did tell you that, it would be nothing more but a lie.

I’ll stop talking now and get right into it.

Here are my Top 3 favourite Animated Films (not in any particular hierarchy).

1. Summer Wars 

This movie was brilliantly styled and the art was so beautiful. Here’s the low down (shamelessly taken from IMDB):
A student tries to fix a problem he accidentally caused in OZ, a digital world, while pretending to be the fiancé of his friend in her grandmother’s 90th birthday.

There’s a certain charm about this film that I found very endearing but then again, my heart is a marshmallow conception that is easily moved. Perhaps it was the fact that the relationship between the characters were so loving and that through the challenges that they faced, people were willing to help out. Of course this is just idealism on my part and films usually take a optimistic point of view but then again, if you don’t look through things through rose-tinted glasses then your obviously going to become one very cynical person.

The fictional digital world, OZ that the directors created was so realistic. It’s not because with how the internet is constantly expanding but also how digital spheres and platforms are continually growing into these mega monsters and inserting themselves into our lives. The fact that a simple animation film shows how if one tiny detail is affect, the entire system might collapse and that it will halt our every day lives. The eventual digitalisation of our lives doesn’t particularly interest me because I don’t like social media and I don’t trust the internet but this film made me both fearful and optimistic about how the future might be like. And that is all the intellectual crap your going to get from me here.

The Fictional Digital World- OZ

The main character is a little wimpy but I will admit that I find strong hearted by slightly wimpy characters so endearing. My motherly instincts immediately come into play and it is all I can do to bundle them up in my arms and reassure them that ‘mommy’ loves them and that ‘she’ll’ protect them from the world. It also doesn’t help that generally when it comes to these sort of characters, I tend to imagine them as females so I can pair them up with everyone.

2.  Toki o Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time)

Oh my god. This film tore my tiny heart into a billion pieces and forgot to put it back together again. My neighbours who have since been associated with the random wailing that streams out of my room on a daily basis were most undeniably unhappy that late one night, there was the horrifying sniffles and panting gasps that signalled an onslaught of loud, piercing wails, accusations that went along the lines of  ‘how could you do this to me!” and the tell tale sign of the  wretched creature in the next door apartment crying and crying. If you were to step into my apartment, you would find that there is an alarming amount of tissue boxes stacked in the corner, like a tiny mountain hidden away in a large apartment block. For a normal person it would be enough to last an entire year but for me it’ll only last (if best) a month.

What was it that did me in? Was it the nostalgic and friendship sentiments? A little. The real tipping point was the romantic aspect of the film. As many people who come to know me might have realized early on, I’m a secret romantic for all the stuff I say against love. You see, I love the idea of love. Actually falling in love with an actual person doesn’t hold much allure for me. Fictional romances or other people’s love story is what interests me and that for the matter, is itself problematic. This film was beautifully crafted and it won several notable awards which currently escape me (I’m not going to bother listing it, you can look it up yourselves).

Another thing that attracted me to the movie was the idea of time travelling. I’m a big sci-fi/fantasy fan and time is sometime I have an incredible passion about. I enjoy seeing how people interpret time and how time could possibly work in their eyes. This film had that supernatural element but it also held a gravity to it that I find some of those who advocate time travelling do not quite grasp. It wasn’t so serious that I had to be bogged down in the small print (cough,Doctor Who,cough) and it wasn’t so silly as to just say: here, take this and you can travel in time to anything and anywhere.

So, yes, I sincerely think you should go and see it if you haven’t yet.

3. My Neighbour TOTORO

I have watched this movie at least 200+ times and counting. I was practically raised on this movie.

Anything that comes from Hayao Miyazaki-sama, the great god of animation of whom I posture myself and would gladly kiss his shoes should he wish me to, is perfection. Utter unquestionable perfection. I would have loved to talk about Spirited Away which is one of my greatest loves, it will also be buried alongside The Princess Bride when I die but Totoro. What can I say about Totoro?

Back when I was small and we still used VHS (you poor children who have no idea what VHS is) I watched the tape until the ribbon was all messed up. The person who introduced me to Totoro was my aunt who had previously lived in Japan for a while. She doted on the exceptionally cute me (so cute that I could have got away with murder) and gave me the tape as a present. From then on, everyone from family to relatives always compared to my sister and I to Satsuki and Mei, the main characters of the film. My mom and aunt always laughed about how much I resembled the character Mei, the younger sister.

Satsuki (brunette in yellow and orange), Mei (pink dress) and Totoro (a Totoro)

Okay, flashback over.

Totoro is a film that I associate strongly with my childhood and the charm of this film continues on today. Many people have watched this movie and connected  instantly to it. Almost like magic. I don’t know why it is so popular or why it holds an almost drug like affect to ensnare people’s heart but it does. The characters are sweet, lovely and endearing. Totoro and his smaller, blue and white versions are ridiculously cute. Everyone wants to ride in the cat bus and no one I know of has ever spoken badly about this film. If anyone did it would be pure blasphemy. This film is not only for children, it is for everyone. Older people who watch this will become young children. This directly speaks to your heart, your damn soul. It is so powerful that even the most cynical, the most cruel and the most twisted of people would be humbled by such whimsy and happiness.

Music has played an important role in making certain scenes stay in your head forever. Such as when the children and Totoro sit onto of the large tree and blow their acorn flutes. You cannot separate Joe Hisaishi from the iconic Ghibli films and Totoro is no exception. Keep in mind how much the music influences emotion when you watch the film, the delicate drawings and the visual beauty amounts to something that only animation can create. A certain surrealism that transports you directly into the waiting arms of the great grand god-father master of animation. You will be at peace and joyfully at bliss when you regal yourself to the greatness that is Studio Ghibli.

Word vomit. Blargh. You can obviously tell that my attempt at being intellectual and smart and introspective came as an epic fail.
I’m really just made of, 3 parts ‘squee’, 2 parts fan-girl, a pinch of humour, a dash of cynicism and a very light sprinkling of brain matter.
There your very own recipe to make your very own me.
Finished. You may now be released from your earthy bonds.
See you around alligator. We’ll talk wedding next time.

3 comments on “Animation is Serious Stuff

  1. firststepsfordad
    October 24, 2012

    Asian animation is pretty great. The backgrounds are always so detailed and really well drawn. Not to mention the quirky characters. Maybe it’s just the dubbed English versions of the movies, but I’m not sure that people really say “Huh?” that much in real life! Still, suspension of disbelief and all that…
    I went to the International Manga Museum in Kyoto a couple of years ago and there were some great real-life characters there. Also, I’m sure I saw The Witch of the Wastes from Howl’s Moving Castle in Camberwell once. With one of those tiny little dogs.

  2. 6amlive
    October 25, 2012

    I agree with what you said about the Asian anime industry. The amount of fans worldwide is mind blowing. While Asian anime is a multimillion dollar industry. Do you think that piracy has resulted in a decline in the industry? Perhaps this applies to other areas such as the film/tv/music industry. I reckon illegal anime downloads won’t affect the anime industry as much because they generate profit through merchandises and events.
    Other than that, I’m a huge fan of anime and I loved Howl’s Moving Castle. That is a definitel MUST WATCH.

  3. netcurious
    October 25, 2012

    Howls Moving Castle was a marvel. It never fails to blow me away. Even though I am a hard-core fanatic of the book, the film works well as a stand-alone. Am appalled that it didn’t make the list.

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