In a previous post, I mentioned that I was kind of a Hayao Miyazaki aficionado. By that I mean that I’ve been watching his films ever since I was little.
My dad works in japan and back in the days of VHS, we had quite the collection.
But then the tapes developed the inevitable fungus and got unusable and around that time, VHS became outdated so that beautiful little collection disappeared.
Until about two years back when my Dad bought those same films in original DVD format along with their special feature sets.
So I occasionally pop one into my laptop and watch it cause no matter how many times I’ve watched them, I never get tired of them.
There’s one I particularly like: Mimi o Subaseba. Released in 1995 and written by Hayao Miyazaki, it is one of his more realistic stories, lacking the fantasy elements present in other better known works such as My Neighbor Totoro and Laputa: Castle in the Sky.
This story is YA story of a girl struggling to find her calling in a world where everyone else around her has already started moving on their own journeys. Afraid of being left behind, she embarks on an imaginary adventure and writes a novel and at the end, reunites with her ‘special’ friend after six months of agonizing separation.
I know that description is confusing but there’s no other way to describe it. Her almost comical ineptitude at matters of the heart is as equally important to the story as her heroic attempts to face her fast approaching future and prove herself to those around her. And this story takes place in modern and ordinary Japan.
Shizuku, the protagonist finds love and courage in the midst of the concrete jungle of Tokyo and it’s so fascinating to see a small niche of realistic life in japan somehow interspersed with almost fantastical plot elements.
But like I said before, Mimi O Subaseba is one Miyazaki’s most realistic works.
Serious, playful, comic, a little dark, realistic and at times whimsical, this film is amazing.
Also, if any of you are lucky to find a copy, or want to watch it, I recommend that you watch it in Japanese. With subtitles. I know that the concept of subtitles is cringe worthy to most people but anime sounds terrible in English. No question about it.
1. Old films are awesome. Old Miyazaki films even more so.
2. Anime should always be watched in Japanese. Even if one hates even the concept of subtitles.