耳をすませば: Take me home

[Screenshot]Yay! More Miyazaki! Lots of the usual hallmarks of Miyazaki films here, of course (he even manages to sneak in a flying girl, despite the surprisingly nonsupernatural setting); amazingly, in spite of an awful lot of common features among his films, each one feels like a unique polished gem. This one’s more character-driven than most, which is nice, because Miyazaki does absolutely wonderful things with young girls. His protagonists are frequently imperfect—Shizuku, like Chihiro, has her moments of infuriating fretfulness—but they’re so warmly drawn and so empathic that you can’t help but love them. And, er, not in that way (y’know, it’s Japanese, so I have to make that clear). His boys aren’t half-bad either, although I wouldn’t exactly call them lovable.

Anyways, to this story in particular: as I said, it’s unusually realistic for Miyazaki, and extremely sentimental as well— tonally it reminds me less of the usual Miyazaki fare, and a far more of Takahata, and in particular of おもひでぽろぽろ minus the nostalgia. Even this atypical story is delivered well and warmly, although ultimately Takahata doing sentimental realism and Miyazaki doing fantastic exploraitons of the supernatural is probably the best stylistic division. Thematically it’s a bit busy, with a handful of love plots and a self-determination and self-confidence character-development going on. Between those and the tonal irregularity, this movie (like Shizuku’s story) seems a bit rough to my mind, but even so it beats the hell out of most other animated films.

[Edit] Apparently it’s not actually directed by Hayao Miyazaki, but by Yoshifumi Kondo, which may explain some of the tonal unusualities. Miyazaki produced, though, which is why I got confused; it looks a lot like his work.

See also: Nausicaa.net, IMDB, Wikipedia, Anime News Network, AniDB.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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