I’m back again with another Ask Game!
If you’re wondering why I haven’t been posting book reviews, well, it’s because I’m in a massive book slump (I knew this Ask Game would come in handy). This is the longest I’ve gone without reading new material. The last time I read something new (to me at least) was back in early February with the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series. March is about to end and I have yet to pick up a new book. I still read everyday but only old favorites and I do try to read new stuff but nothing really interests me as of the moment. It sucks because I really want to be engrossed in a book again. I miss the feeling of falling in love with a good book and then raving about it and then making edits inspired by it..
Anyway, to keep my blog updated as I had intended to when I started these Ask Games, here is a different one—it’s not book related. If you’re not familiar with Studio Ghibli, it’s a Japanese animation studio that has released several animated shorts and films that were an international success. You might have seen Spirited Away and Kiki’s Delivery Service, two of the studio’s most popular works, both acquired by Disney for US and UK DVD releases that eventually aired on TV (on Disney Channel of course where I first stumbled upon it years ago).
Christian Bale, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Holland and Saoirse Ronan are just some of the big names that lent their voices to the English-dubbed films. The studio’s first film was released in 1984 and has since then followed it up with more. Sadly, they haven’t been able to release new work in five years (the last one being “When Marnie Was There” in 2014) due to Hayao Miyazaki’s (the Studio’s creator) failing health until his death last year. They’re slated to release a new one, however, but its date is yet to be confirmed.
Now that Studio Ghibli history lesson is done, let’s talk about the game. As stated earlier, the questions are based on Studio Ghibli movies, and as a courtesy, I have provided a short synopsis of each movie so you know what it’s about and if it sparks your interest, then maybe you’ll be compelled to watch them yourself. I’ve seen most of these movies and I guarantee you, they’re all worth the hype.
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: What type of apocalypse do you think you would have the best chance of surviving?
I feel like I won’t survive whichever kind because I am so hopelessly unskilled in areas that matter. I mean, what use does my reading/writing and Photoshop knowledge have when I’m battling aliens or zombies? But if I hazard a bet, it would be the the environmental kind ala 2012 or The 5th Wave. It’d be a lot more chill to just run from nature rather than from creepy monsters.
SYNOPSIS: Far in the future, after an apocalyptic conflict has devastated much of the world’s ecosystem, the few surviving humans live in scattered semi-hospitable environments within what has become a “toxic jungle.” Young Nausicaä lives in the arid Valley of the Wind and can communicate with the massive insects that populate the dangerous jungle. Under the guidance of the pensive veteran warrior, Lord Yupa, Nausicaä works to bring peace back to the ravaged planet. (source: IMDB)
Castle in the Sky: If you could live in any fictional place what would it be?
Heaven. I heard it’s problem free. That would be, well, heaven.
SYNOPSIS: A young girl in possession of a magical crystal necklace ventures out in search of the floating city of Laputa, together with the help of another young boy, while also being pursued by pirates.
Grave of the Fireflies: Top five sad songs?
SYNOPSIS: Grave of the Fireflies follows the story of two orphans during the World War II. What sets this apart from other war themed movies? It’s centered on civilian lives rather than military and it’s cleverly told through the wandering spirit of Seita, the lead character. (Prepare tissues!)
My Neighbor Totoro: Favourite mythical creature?
Fairies! I’ve always wanted to be one. Lol
SYNOPSIS: Heartwarming mystical tale of the beauty of life in the province and what it means to be a family.
Kiki’s Delivery Service: If you were a witch, what area of magic would you excel in? (flying, potions, divination, spells etc.)
Spells or flying, maybe. Potions is out (chemistry is not my strong suit), divination (what even is that?) as well.
SYNOPSIS: A young witch-in-training, making her way into the world, learning as she goes.
Only Yesterday: Favourite childhood memory?
My gramps tossing my fat-as* seven year old self in the air like I weigh nothing. His strength had always impressed me as a kid.
SYNOPSIS: Unmarried career woman Taeko Okajima (Miki Imai) takes her first extended trip outside her native Tokyo when she travels to rural Yamagata to visit her sister’s family during the annual safflower harvest. On the train, Taeko daydreams about her pre-adolescent self. As her vacation progresses, she has extended flashbacks about the frustrations and small pleasures of her childhood, and wonders if her stress-filled adult life is what the young Taeko would have wanted for herself. (fr: Google)
Porco Rosso: If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
Probably a bird, an eagle to be exact, for obvious reasons.
SYNOPSIS: A cursed World War I veteran pilot makes it his mission to protect cruise ships sailing the Adriatic Sea against pirates.
Ocean Waves: Tell me about your best friends from high school.
I’m still friends with all of them. They’re the sweetest and the funniest.
SYNOPSIS: As he journeys back from Tokyo to his high school for a reunion, Taku Morisaki recounts his memories of his school days, focussing in particular on a love triangle that developed between him and two of his friends. (fr Google)
Pom Poko: Favourite animal?
SYNOPSIS: Isao Takahata’s film uses the tanuki, creatures of myth, as his heroes. Beloved folk-tale characters, they are viewed as bringers of fortune with shape-changing abilities. In this film, their forest home is threatened by urban development and, to save it, they must use all their supernatural talents. (fr Google)
Whisper of the Heart: What are you most passionate about? Why?
Reading, of course.
SYNOPSIS: A high school student burning with passion to follow the path (sometimes literally) that leads to her destiny.
Princess Mononoke: What elemental sign are you? (fire, earth, air & water)
Air. I’m a Gemini.
SYNOPSIS: A tale of mythical creatures with kick-ass female characters and rare-bred understanding hero, this movie not only gives you one of the best classically animated action sequences in history but also teaches perhaps the most talked about topic today (which is ironic because this was released way back 1997): nature, or the earth; and what it means to kill it or to keep it alive.
Spirited Away: Tell me about a time you faced your fears.
Every time I go to the office. Kidding! I don’t really have one, bummer.
SYNOPSIS: Lost in a strange new world, young girl Chihiro would have to learn to brave it out if she wants to save her parents and come back to the real world. Not to worry, she has a motley crew of friends and a cute boy to help her along the way.
The Cat Returns: What is the coolest adventure you’ve ever been on?
Back in high school, we did our own “Amazing Race” and through that, I fully realized how much of a weakling I was (and still am) but I got to experience things I hadn’t (and wouldn’t have) done before like eat a whole chili pepper. It was freaking spicy, I literally cried while eating. LMAO (Also, how lame is it that my “coolest” adventure was back when I was 16 years old?! I’m 25 now. I should’ve done more “cool adventures.”)
SYNOPSIS: High school student Haru (Chizuru Ikewaki) rescues a cat that was about to be run over by a truck and discovers the cat is actually a prince named Lune. Out of gratitude, Lune’s father, the Cat King, asks her to marry Lune. Haru is brought to the Cat Kingdom, where she starts to develop feline features. When she is prevented from leaving, the Baron (Yoshihiko Hakamada) and Toto, two statues that have magically been given life, provide assistance in gaining her freedom. (fr Google)
Howl’s Moving Castle: Which movie adaption do you prefer to the book?
The Maze Runner series! As I have said in my reviews, the movies used better and less juvenile plot devices to keep the story going. Example, Teresa’s betrayal- in the book, jealousy was used (to make room for a Brenda love arc) but in the movie, Teresa just betrayed their location which resulted to Minho getting kidnapped which is frankly more high stakes than a petty love drama among Tomas, Teresa and Brenda.
SYNOPSIS: A vain magician, a pessimistic hatter, and one moving castle. A tale of adventure packed full of interesting characters and entertaining scenarios, sprinkled with the good old moral values.
Tales From Earthsea: Tell me about something that everyone else hates, but you love.
Probably Mal from Shadow and Bone trilogy. Everyone hated his guts but I still liked him (he reminded me of my high school crush ;HAHAHAHAHA; He was a star athlete, popular among the crowd, friendly like the way Mal was and unfortunately, a big flirt as well. The unrequited love was pretty spot on too, so yeah, in general, it’s a pathetic reason. I’d blame my teenage hormones but I can’t say I’ve changed my tastes much ;HEHEHE;
SYNOPSIS: In the land of Earthsea, a mysterious force threatens to plunge humanity into destruction and chaos. A powerful wizard named Sparrowhawk seeks the source of his world’s imbalance, and along the way rescues a runaway prince named Arren. When Sparrowhawk’s powers begin to weaken, he and Arren must join forces with a former priestess and her daughter to defeat an evil foe whose quest for immortality will destroy Earthsea. (fr Google)
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea: Favourite fairytale?
I’m a sucker for fairytales but for the life of me, I don’t have a favorite and I’ve never actually read one, just watched the Disney versions which we all know are tweaked to become more public friendly (with the HEA’s—which I love by the way), so these selections are based on the movies not the books. Some of my favorites include Sleeping Beauty (1959) which I love for its art direction alone. It’s undoubtedly one of Disney’s best animated work. Story wise, I enjoyed Tangled/Rapunzel because I related to Rapunzel’s wish for a different life.
SYNOPSIS: During a forbidden excursion to see the surface world, a goldfish princess encounters a human boy named Sosuke, who gives her the name Ponyo. Ponyo longs to become human, and as her friendship with Sosuke grows, she becomes more humanlike. Ponyo’s father brings her back to their ocean kingdom, but so strong is Ponyo’s wish to live on the surface that she breaks free, and in the process, spills a collection of magical elixirs that endanger Sosuke’s village. (fr Google)
Secret World of Arrietty: Tell me about the most beautiful place you have ever been.
My dreams because I haven’t been any real place so astoundingly beautiful.
SYNOPSIS: Arrietty, a tiny teenager, lives with her parents in the recesses of a suburban home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and housekeeper. Like others of her kind, Arrietty remains hidden from her human hosts, but occasionally ventures forth from beneath the floorboards to borrow sugar cubes and other supplies. A secret friendship forms when 12-year-old Shawn meets Arrietty, but their relationship could spell danger for Arrietty’s family. (fr Google)
From up on Poppy Hill: Tell me about an experience that changed your life or your worldview.
It wasn’t changing my worldview but more going back to my old principles from when I was a naive kid. Growing up, I’ve always been the idealist. I like to be the ‘goody two shoes.’ I was kind. As I matured, however, I gradually became cynical and sadly, indifferent to the people around me (which is the worst kind of change if you ask me). I no longer had a positive outlook on life and instead, thought the worst of people. But one random, cold night changed that.
I was outside waiting for a cab home. It was after work and I was tired. It was also the Christmas season so the wind was a little chilly and as per tradition, I’m feeling quite depressed — the holidays do that to me. I had just bought these treats from a bakeshop and was holding them in my hand. A young boy, a beggar to be exact, approached me and asked for the bag with the treats (in my country, this is pretty common. Street children asking for the food you’re holding even when you’re actually in the process of eating/drinking them).
So anyway, I didn’t think twice and gave it to him. He left to go to his friends on the way side and when he checked the bag, he found an unopened pack of candies inside. He was super excited that he jumped up and down while screaming at me, “Thank you so much lady!” I put my thumbs up in reply. (For context, in my country, take-outs of left over foods are common so the kid probably thought there were scraps in the bag and then was pleasantly surprised to find fresh and unopened goods instead).
I don’t know but that encounter lifted my spirits up. It had been a long time since someone showed me such utter gratitude. And then I realized that that was because I never did anything to warrant such a reaction. I’ve been a rotten person, to be frank. That was an eye-opening night for me and I promised myself that I would do better. If I can’t be kind then I’d be compassionate.
SYNOPSIS: A group of Yokohama teens look to save their school’s clubhouse from the wrecking ball in preparations for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. (IMDB)
The Tale of Princess Kaguya: What folktale/wives tale from your childhood stuck with you your whole life?
I used to live in a rural province with vast woodlands. The woods are considered to be guarded/protected by mythical creatures like dwarves and half-human, half horse creatures that would curse you if you happen to anger them, and the woods are where the children love to play.
So my mom and grandmother always remind me to utter an enchantment and to do this ‘spit action’ as a sign I mean no harm when I play in the area. The enchantment literally translates to, “Excuse me” (Oh my god, the translation sounds silly) and then after speaking them, you have to spit on the ground and smear it with your slippers. I don’t do the spit thing anymore but I still say the enchantment to this day. And I realize now how disrespectful the spitting actually is (how ironic is that!?). I know now I’m in more danger of snakes but never hurts to say the simple enchantment.
SYNOPSIS: Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her, but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime. (imdb)
The Wind Rises: Tell me about your greatest accomplishment.
Five years ago, it was finishing college and I’m ashamed to say that it still is my greatest accomplishment five years later.
SYNOPSIS: A look at the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II. (imdb)
When Marnie Was There: Who do you miss the most?
Not who but more,’what.’ I miss the old days when I was young and a student. All I had to do then was follow what my instructors told me. Life was so freaking easy. I always had a clear direction of where I was headed. Now, I’m lost.
SYNOPSIS: A young girl is sent to the country for health reasons, where she meets an unlikely friend in the form of Marnie, a young girl with flowing blonde hair. As the friendship unravels Marnie has closer ties to the protagonist than we might expect. (fr google)
Mary and the Witch’s Flower: What is the last movie you watched? What are your thoughts on it?
I recently rewatched, “Edge of Seventeen” and it made me cry. It was so spot on, so unrepentant on how it portrayed teenage angst, all its highs and lows. And can I just say, Hailee Steinfeld was outstanding in that one.
Side note: this is not a Ghibli film and is actually from Studio Ponoc. However, “When Marnie Was There” (Ghibli’s latest film) and “Mary and the Witch’s Flower” are directed by the same person.
SYNOPSIS: Based on “The Little Broomstick” by Mary Stewart, a strange flower grants a girl magic powers.
Hayao Miyazaki: Who is the person that you look up to most?
I don’t have one which I guess is bad. (Note: Miyazaki is Studio Ghibli’s co-founder)
Isao Takahata: Who is the person that helped you/is helping you achieve your dreams?
Not helping me but more supporting me, encouraging me which is in a way, ‘helping’ me- this one friend I have who always has the best words to say to me. (Note: Takahata is Studio Ghibli’s co-founder)
Studio Ponoc: Do you like change?
I don’t like change but I acknowledge its importance and necessity to living life. (Note: Studio Ponoc is founded by former Studio Ghibli lead film producer Yoshiaki Nishimura in April 2015; from: wiki).
Studio Ghibli: Top three Studio Ghibli movies?
1. Princess Mononoke
2. Spirited Away
3. Kiki’s Delivery Service
Whew, that was a long post. I just hope the synopsis were helpful in making you choose which film to watch. Til the next post! 🙂