Castle in the Sky

I just watched Castle in the Sky with my kids and Howard.  None of us had seen it before.  It was fantastic.  It is the only Anime movie that I’ve ever seen where I outright loved all of it.  Kiki’s Delivery Service is cute, but the pacing feels off and I didn’t get wrapped up in the story.  Ditto My Neighbor Totoro.  I’ve grown to love both, but didn’t love them right away.  The other anime that I’ve seen is beautifully drawn, but all of the stories failed to engage me.  It is entirely possible that I’ve just missed all of the good stuff.  (Feel free to recommend some, but be aware that I’m not keen on graphic violence or sex even animated.)

Castle in the Sky was an instant hit with all of us.  Gleek kept making delighted exclaimations throughout the movie. (“The robot is their friend!”)  Link and Kiki were enraptured.    All three kids wanted to watch the movie again right away.  After I refused to allow an imediate re-showing, the kids all engaged in a delightful discussions about whether it would be possible for a tree to grow up in the sky.  Kiki and Gleek both asserted that it was.  Kiki said the tree needed something floating to grow on.  Gleek said it only needed a blue diamond.  Link was doubtful about this, but agreed that it might work if there was magic involved.  They all went to bed happily musing on castles and crystals and trees and giant robots.

I suspect that the kind friend who loaned us the DVD won’t be getting it back for several weeks. 

21 thoughts on “Castle in the Sky”

  1. Um… yeah…

    Spirited Away is one of those ones that is “beautifully drawn, but failed to engage me.” I’m speaking mostly for me, but Sandra watched it WITH me, so I think I’ve got her viewpoint covered too.

    Ditto Princess Mononoke. And the Cowboy Bebop movie. Ghost in the Shell was okay, but neither of us is rushing out to rent it again.

  2. Re: Um… yeah…

    As I said, its gorgeous. I was talking about the animation/art itself.

    I personally liked it, but I’m a sucker for fairytales.

    Haven’t seen the Bebop movie.

  3. I think Castle in the Sky is my second-favorite Miyazaki film, after Nausicaa, which was originally scheduled to have been released yesterday, but got pushed back to who-knows-when.

    Some time when the kids aren’t around, try watching Castle with the Japanese soundtrack. I don’t care for some of the musical changes they made for the English track, particularly when Pazu is playing his trumpet for the birds.

    My favorite anime series of recent years has been Azumanga Daioh, but the humor in it is awfully Japanese, so it probably wouldn’t appeal as much to somebody not steeped in the culture.

    Hm, you might enjoy The Castle of Cagliostro — it’s not an original Miyazaki story, but you’ll see his influence.

  4. The trumpet scene really, really bugged me. He was accompanied?! That should have been SOLO trumpet, and they could have done a FINE job with it. Bleah.


  5. I think cultural differences are the main reason I haven’t enjoyed most Anime. I’ll be watching and I can tell that the film is beautiful and steeped in meaning, but I’m just not getting it because I don’t have the right set of cultural referents.

    It isn’t just Anime either. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon left me with a feeling of “Wow!” and “Huh?” at the same time.

  6. Precisely! Fortunately you can hear it properly if you switch to the Japanese soundtrack. When I heard the English soundtrack, I was aghast.

  7. It’s why such things are an acquired taste. I saw the same phenomenon as an undergraduate, lo these many years ago, when I went to an on-campus showing of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and I was the only one laughing at several of the jokes. But watch it among a group of Shakespeare aficionados and the house will ring with laughter.

  8. Castle in the Sky is my favorite Myazaki film (and yet I don’t own it). I haven’t seen Nausicaa, of course. What I have seen are Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Princess Mononoke.

    I *loved* Azumanga Daioh. In terms of series, that is my favorite (although I haven’t seen very many series, so I’m not a great judge). I will note that despite an interest in Japanese culture, I wouldn’t call myself “steeped” in it, and yet the series was still amazing. I also really liked Love Hina. .Hack//Legend of Twilight’s Bracelet was good (and .Hack//SIGN is good too but I’ve only seen the first few episodes of that), but those might not appeal to people not interested in gaming (or RPGs).

    Cowboy Bebop was also great, but very different than the others I’ve seen.

    Evangelion is a very… interesting series. I have yet to see the last 3 episodes (24-26), mostly because I didn’t like where episodes 22-23 were going. I’ve had the netflix disc for eps 24-26 sitting around for a couple months now as I debate watching it. I *want* to see the end, but I also don’t want to hate the ending.

    elthar, since you seen to be knowledgable, I would appreciate it if you could, say, email me with a list of suggested series? My address is kevin at sb dot org. Thanks.

  9. You will hate the end of Eva. Watch it, come to terms with it, then move on and watch RahXephon. 🙂 (Note to Taylers: neither Evangelion nor RahXephon is kid-friendly)

    Might as well just toss out a few suggestions here. I’ll prefix possibly-kid-okay shows with an asterisk, though as with anything, I’d recommend that parents check it out before showing it to their kids.

    *Angelic Layer
    Fruits Basket
    Scrapped Princess
    Last Exile
    *Tiny Snow Fairy Sugar (extremely cute)
    Revolutionary Girl Utena
    *Card Captor Sakura (the real one, not CardCaptors)
    *Ashita no Nadja (I don’t think this one’s available in the US yet)
    *Hikaru no Go (kid friendly but might be kid boring depending on kid)
    Gunslinger Girl

    Those are just a few out of the hundreds of recent series…

  10. Thanks. I will definitely try to hunt some of those down. Netflix has some of those, but not all, so hopefully I can find other sources.

  11. I personally can’t recommend Gunslinger Girl – it’s violent, a little on the dystopian/1984 side in how they manage some of the people in it.. and frankly, I wouldn’t want my kids watching that. Little girls who kill without any sense of conscience are NOT something I want to let young, impressionable children of the same age to watch.

    Azumanga Daioh, on the other hand, is a classic – just be warned that, if you don’t use subtitles or have notes on various quirks of Japanese culture, that some of the jokes will probably pass over your head. There are ones that ADV refused to translate (ukoncha, chinsuko), due to their nature, but for the most part it’s good, clean fun. I’ve heard it described as ‘Calvin and Hobbes meets Japanese anime’, and with the way it breaks each episode into several ‘skits’ makes for a show you can take one episode at a time.

    If you and Sandra are looking for something just for yourselves, which you won’t be exposing the kids to till they’re at least teenagers, I’d suggest “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” for something that has quite a bit of action, yet retains some thoughtfulness about it and reflections on the nature of life, humanity, and what defines a person. Granted, there are a few racier bits, but they’re kept to a minimum. However, due to the violence that does exist in it, I’d suggest keeping this away from Gleek and company.

    Cowboy Bebop, with its Western-styled setting, however, is also quite good.

  12. Another reason I can’t recommend Gunslinger Girl is, well.. it’s BORING after Ep 2, and continues to stay boring up till like Ep 10 or 11, maybe Ep 12 even. Even GitS:SAC only had a slow patch which lasted two or three eps, and is a 26-ep series.

  13. Another note: GitS:Stand Alone Complex easily beats out the movies, and you could consider it an ‘alternate reality’ to the movie setting – the animation’s as good, if not better, and the story’s improved somewhat. Though it too gets a little… odd… at points.

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