Friday, December 3, 2010

Jones and Miyazaki...

I've found that the best way to get something done is to stop whining about how it isn't done yet and actually do it. The hard part is convincing myself that the truth of this is truly truthful.
In the wake of NaNo, I've been spending some of my newly-freed-up time rereading Howl's Moving Castle and its sequels and I just have to say... I love them. I mean, they're confusing as all get out sometimes and the end always involves every character even briefly mentioned in the book being thrown together into mass chaos and the endings are always saccharinely happy, but I really, really like them.

And, due to the way my exposure to both turned out, Howl's Moving Castle the book will forever bring Howl's Moving Castle the movie to mind and that leads me into my love affair with Studio Ghibli.

They make great films. The animation is lovely, the characters are heartfelt, and all in all, they just have a simple "feel good" feeling about them. Even Princess Mononoke, one of the darker, bloodier films, makes you just plain feel good. (I'll admit to not having seen Grave of the Fireflies, which I understand is mindblowingly sad and depressing.)

And, because they are on my mind, I felt like going through a timeline of how I discovered the wonderfulness that is both Diana Wynne Jones and Studio Ghibli.

(I have a feeling this may be long and rambly. Beware.)
I have my library to thank for it all. I have my library to thank for a lot of things, but to list all of them would take too long, so I'm just going to restrict myself to this one particular thing.

Summer reading recommendations. My library does them. I'm sure your library does them. Up popped Howl's Moving Castle the book, mentioning that it was also made into a movie. Don't ask me why I put the movie on hold before the book, but that was how it went.

I watched the movie. This was one of my early introductions to anime and my first to Studio Ghibli. I fell in love. The atmosphere, the characters, the music. All lovely. It was a sort of whimsy, filled with hope despite any darkness that loom.

It took me a long time to get to the book itself. I'd actually read Diana Wynne Jones before (Year of the Griffin, I think...) and I'd always found her a little off-putting. She does have a style that sort of zooms along in the strangest way, details that will be immensely important sort of being skimmed over and requiring the reader to think about what they're reading as they read it in order to make sense of it. That hadn't been my thing at the young and tender age of maybe twelve or thirteen (I think?) and so I'd sort of skipped over her. But the movie made me want to read the book and so I did. I liked it a bit, but my love for it has grown over the years with each rereading (and the fact that I keep rereading it says something) and today it is probably in  my favorites list.

Anyway, I watched Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind next. Again, I have the library to thank for that. I was browsing the shelves and came across the manga for Nausicaa (which, by the way, I highly recommend) and picked it up, recognizing the name "Miyazaki". I read, I think, the first three volumes before I watched the movie. Loved it. Loved the movie. Was deeply in cinematic love with Studio Ghibli.

I think it was Castle in the Sky that was next, then the others after that sort of run together into a blur. I watched them all one right after the other, but I'm not sure of the order anymore. All of them were marvelous. Even the weaker ones were still fantastic. Castle in the Sky and Nausicaa are some of my most favorite movies of all time.

Diana Wynne Jones is still a taste I'm acquiring, I think. I know that there are some people out there who love anything by a particular writer, but I'm much more of an individual book person. Not that I don't get excited to see a new book by a particular author, but I try to take each new thing in stride. Of course, I'm a complete and total hypocrite in that I will instantly buy, borrow or steal my way into a Pixar or Studio Ghibli movie (though I do have my doubts about Cars 2), but I am testing the waters of her other books again and seeing what comes of it.

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