A JOY TO BEHOLD
5 JOYOUS STUDIO GHIBLI MOMENTS
PUBLISHED 12 AUG 2016
HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE
Hayao Miyazaki / 2004
“I think we ought to live happily ever after.”
In what is considered one of Hayao Miyazaki’s most beautiful animated features, the moment that Howl’s Moving Castle is first spotted briefly in the distance through a blanket of fog is exhilarating. Even more so is its complete revelation when it roars over the hill and looms dramatically over Sophie (Chieko Baisho), exposing its garishness in all its glory.
Hayao Miyazaki / 2008
“I made hands! I made feet, too! Ha!”
Young Ponyo’s (Yuria Nara) desires and wishes are continually rejected and opposed by her overprotective father, Fujimoto (George Tokoro). She decides to dramatically defy him by using her magic to transform into a human and make her great escape to the ocean surface, causing a huge tsunami in the process. However, the chaos of this “natural” disaster is overshadowed by Ponyo’s glee and euphoria at her new-found freedom, and further obscured by the bright colours and adrenaline-packed action building up to the moment she breaks through the ocean surface.
GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES
Isao Takahata / 1988
"Now, let's see a firefly show!"
From the outset, we are made aware of the tragic fate of orphaned brother and sister, Setsuko (Ayano Shiraishi) and Seita (Tsutomu Tatsumi). So when we see them venture into the garden one evening to catch fireflies together, there are no heartstrings left un-tugged. Watching the siblings smile and excite themselves sheds light on the gravity of their situation, making this moonlit moment even more precious.
Hayao Miyazaki / 2001
"So, you’re the one who carried me back to shallow water, you saved me…
I knew you were good!"
During her first shift at the bath house, Chihiro (Rumi Hiiragi) is made to deal with a particularly pungent patron. However, her dedication and efforts are not in vain and her cackling co-workers are left stunned when it becomes apparent that this guest is actually a coveted River Spirit, who rewards her generously. After watching Chihiro’s parents being taken away from her and being looked down upon by the other spirits, it is a truly fulfilling moment to watch her get rewarded for her efforts.
MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO
Hayao Miyazaki / 1988
"Everybody, try laughing. Then whatever scares you will go away!”
With a sleeping Mei (Chika Sakamoto) on her back, Satsuki (Noriko Hidaka) waits in the pouring rain at the bus stop. Moments later, Totoro (Hitoshi Takagi) joins them with only a leaf on his head to keep himself dry. An awed Satsuki offers him an umbrella, much to his delight and excitement as he toys with this exciting new discovery. The childlike innocence of this moment distracts from Satsuki’s present concern for her parents’ health and welfare, creating a rare and magical moment for her to enjoy.