Spirited Away

The summer of Miyazaki’s Spirited Away podcast is finally here. Camping, sickness, and work all conspired to make this podcast extra late. Sorry about that. We dig into Ghibli’s big American debut and talk about how this blew our minds when we first saw it fifteen years ago, even though for some people the animation style was off-putting. We also discuss what an interesting heroine Chihiro is for an adventure fantasy and how creepy things get for a children’s film.

Whisper of the Heart

This time on the Summer of Miyazaki we discuss a film written, storyboarded but not directed by Hayao Miyazaki: Whisper of the Heart. So maybe, technically, it shouldn’t be here but it’s such a great film, we couldn’t resist. In this episode we talk about love, romance, developing your gifts and end with a rant against the current state of young adult novels. And, of course, we get in a few digs against Disney.

Proco Rosso

On this podcast we continue the Summer of Miyazaki by discussing one of his more personal, adult and idiosyncratic films: Porco Rosso. It’s the classic story of a dashing hero, an innocent young damsel, and a brute-headed villain. Except this is Miyazaki so everything is turned on its head starting with the hero being a fat man with a pig head. The animation and story has all of Miyazaki’s typical amazing qualities but Levi and Rosalyn seem to be divided on if this is a great film or not.

Kiki’s Delivery Service

On this Culturezoo we talk about the 1989 Miyazaki film, Kiki’s Delivery Service. We spend some time comparing the ideas and details of this film to other magical stories like Harry Potter and spend some time discussing the importance of vocations and finding and enjoying our place in the community we are in. Not exactly stuff that you often come across in a kid’s cartoon.

As a special bonus, 13-year-old geek intern Jack joins us for a quick graphic-novel recommendation at the beginning of the podcast.

My Neighbor Totoro

We’re back with the Summer of Miyazaki and this time we’re talking about the 1988 classic “My Neighbor Totoro”. Roger Ebert called this one his Great Films and we’re incline to agree. This film is a uniquely beautiful, subtle gem that comes with our highest recommendation. In this episode we talk about animation, childhood, and we can’t help but compare Disney and Ghibli again.

Next week we tackle Kiki’s Delivery Service.

Castle in the Sky

The summer of Miyazaki continues with his second full-length feature and first with Studio Ghibli: Castle in the Sky. In addition to discussing the film, Levi and Rosalyn get existential and end up spending a lot of time talking about the world’s problems and who’s to blame: technology or human nature? We also compare the difference between Disney animation and Miyazaki’s style.

Next week: My Neighbor Totro!