The Miyazaki Ghibli Film Festival

If you have the time, the Hawaii Theatre Center is presenting some of Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli’s best works from July 8-10.  There are some tickets available for The Miyazaki Ghibli Film Festival, so feel free to visit their website at

This will be a family friendly event, general admission is $12, youths aged 4-17 will be $7 and children under the age of 4 will be free.  Just a word of warning, parking in this area is extremely limited and many surrounding parking structures have low clearances, so if you’re driving a lifted truck or a tall van, you’ll have to find open air parking which fills up quickly.

If you plant to stay in the area, partnering with this event, are Art & Flea, and the famous restaurant “The Pig and the Lady”  They are hosting Miyazaki related events consisting of food, music, and street vendors.  Also family friendly.  Please check out Art & Flea’s Miyazaki Film Festival Event at

The dates, times, addresses and directions are on their respective websites.

Now, on to the blog…

Some of you, in fact most of you, love cartoons.  Some of you like animation in general, including Japanese animation, better known as Anime (アニメ) which is the abbreviated Japanese pronounciation of Animation.  Those of you who do like Anime, certainly have your favorites.  I’m an old-school anime connoseur so I’ll be dating myself by listing my favorites…

The Macross Saga

  1.  超時空要塞マクロス (Chou Jikyu Yousai Makurosu, lit. “Super Space Time Fortress Macross”) better known as “Super Dimensional Fortress – Macross” or just “Macross” around the rest of the world.  It was shown as a animated 36-episode television series in Japan in 1982, and became extremely popular causing it to boom into a animated franchise consisting of animated movies, specials, and prequels.  It was adapted in the United States as, “Robotech” combining Macross, Mospaeda, and Southern Cross, three different Anime which became a popular animated and book series written by the authors known under the pen name, Jack McKinney.
  2. 超時空要塞マクロス 愛・おぼえていますか (Chou Jikyu Yousai Makurosu – Ai, Oboeteimasu ka?, lit. “Super Space Time Fortress Macross – Do You Remember Love?”), commonly known as Macross – Do You Remember Love?, or by the acronym, DYRL, is an alternate timeline of events that happened in the original Macross T.V. series.  An excellent animated movie to watch, especially if you like science fiction, transforming jets, epic space battles, and love triangles.
  3. 超時空要塞マクロスII -LOVERS AGAIN- or better known as Macross II – Lovers Again, or just Macross II, which kinda continues on the timeline of events from the movie, Macross – Do You Remember Love?  After having peace in the galaxy for 80 years, a new intergalactic enemy invades to threaten the United Nations Spacy.  After being complacent, they will have to eventually rally or face total annihilation by the invaders.  Again, just like the other movie, another love triangle will ensue amongst the chaos.
  4. マクロスプラス better known as Macross Plus, this movie returns to the timeline of events from the original 36-episode television series.  Events taking place on a long colonized planet called Eden, the story surrounds a cast of characters who are bound by a love triangle, tragic twist of fate, an unforgivable act, music, and the testing of two prototype super Valkyries.  Eventually, a battle will ensue on Earth, determining who will win the Valkyrie fighter project, and the love of a woman they mutually care for.

Bubblegum Crisis (バブルガムクライシス) is an animated series that takes place in the earthquake ravaged Japanese landscape of 2032.  A mega-corporation, marauding rouge cyborgs called “Boomers”, and ineffective police response to ever increasing chaos, cause the rise of four women to personally take on the ever growing threat and protect the citizens of Mega-Tokyo. 

The Wings of Honneamise (王立宇宙軍 オネアミスの翼 or Oritsu Uchugun Oneamisu no Tsubasa) takes place in an alternate Earth reality, or an Earth like planet, and follows the exploits of the hero, Shirotsugu Lhadatt, who is a lazy, unmotivated young man who eventually drifts into the Honneamise Royal Space Program.  After meeting a religious young woman and he shares about being trained to become an astronaut, she inspires him to pursue become the first man in space.  He will face many obstacles along the way, including the war between his country and “The Republic.”

Among my previously mentioned favorites, I also love the works of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.  The stories and animation are just some of the most superb that I’ve ever watched.  Now that I have a daughter, her uncle has introduced her to many different anime already, and I hope that I can introduce these works of Hayao Miyazaki to her.  I’ve already introduced, “My Neighbor Tottoro” to her with the anime and a big plush doll of Tottoro to her.  As she gets older, I’ll show the rest of them, eventually leading to Grave of the Fireflies when she’s mature enough to understand the sad and painful connotations of war.  My favorite Studio Ghibli works are listed here…

Grave of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓) is set in the ending days of World War II in Japan.  Clean up crews and janitors find the dead body of the main protagonist, a young boy named Seita who died of starvation.  His spirit  and the spirit of his dead younger sister appear and later are joined by fireflies.  Seita’s spirit then begins to narrate the story which takes place in Kobe.  As he and his younger sister are preparing to evacuate their home, firebombs dropped by American B-29’s destroy Kobe and set it on fire.  Though the two children are somewhat unhurt, the rest of the city is devastated and their mother was caught in the firebombing as she was evacuating to a bomb shelter, and eventually dies from her injuries.  As the story goes on, after being accosted by their Aunt who they sought shelter with, they leave to find shelter and slowly succumb to malnutrition.  Eventually they find a bomb shelter to seek refuge in, and bring in fireflies to light the interior.  To the young sister, Setsuko’s horror, all the fireflies have died and she buries them in a grave.  She then asks her brother, why did they die and why did their mother die.  As their food supply is depleted, they realize that their prospects are grim and succumb faster to the effects of malnutrition.  Then, as he’s withdrawing the last of his mother’s money from a bank to buy food, he finds out that Japan has lost the war, and that his father is most likely dead as he hears that most of the Japanese Navy has been destroyed.  He returns to the shelter to find his sister suffering from hallucinations brought on by malnutrition.  As Seita hurries to cook, his sister dies.  He cremates her body and puts her ashes into a candy tin (which is an important item in the movie) and carries her ashes, along with a picture of their father in the tin.  Later he eventually arrives at Sannomiya Station where he dies.  The movie ends showing the spirits of a happy and healthy Seita, Setsuko, and the fireflies, and pans out to a rebuilt and modern Kobe city.

Personal Opinion:  This by far is one of the most heart-wrenching films (animated or not) that I have ever watched.  One of a handful that brought me to tears and made me realize the devastating costs of war, and why leaders of nations should not use war as a means of continuing world politics.  War is an inevitable conclusion, as human beings by their nature want to destroy themselves, but it should not be done so haphazardly without realizing the connotations and ultimate consequences of their actions.  It is a powerful movie, that everyone should watch, and make them think about their trivial differences and petty arrogance, and wonder if that it is truly worth fighting and dying for.

My Neighbor Tottoro (となりのトトロ) is set in 1958, when a professor moves his ailing wife, and two daughters, Satsuki and Mei, to an old house to be nearer to a hospital.  As they occupy the house, the two children notice rabbit-like ears appearing in different places in the brush around their house.  Eventually they discover their “neighbor”, Tottoro.  Mei tries to show her father and fails to do so on many attempts, to which her father says that Tottoro is the spirit and guardian of the forest, and will appear only when he chooses to do so.  As it seems that Satsuki and Mei’s mothers condition takes a turn for the worst, Mei becomes distraught and eventually runs away.  Satsuki seeks the help of Tottoro and they look for and eventually find Mei.  With the help of Tottoro and the CatBus, Satsuki and Mei arrive at the hospital where their ailing mother has been admitted.  Eventually their mother is released from the hospital and returns home.  Tottoro and his friends happily watching as the family embrace each other.

Porco Rosso (紅の豚) or Kurenai no Buta as it’s known in Japan, centers around the protagonist, Marco Pagot (a.k.a. Marco Rossolini) or better known as Porco Rosso (Italian for Red Pig), who was a World War I Italian Ace.  Cursed with an anthropomorphic body of a pig, which he believes happened because he ran away from a dogfight and was a sole-survivor while his entire squadron was shot down and killed in a battle, for which he has extreme guilt for to the point of refusing the love of his long-time friend named Gina.  Now flying as a mercenary and keeping air pirates at bay, he eventually meets a young girl whom he helps throughout the film, and he must fly better than he ever has before, not only to live, but to regain his lost honor.

I can say, one of the reasons why I have such an eclectic mind, is due to anime.  Many may say that it’s a childish past-time enjoyed by someone who lacks emotional maturity.  You can say what you want, because inevitably, it is our personal preferences that make us who we are.  I choose to be a responsible adult who tries his best in not forgetting what it was like to be a carefree child… for the carefree children of the world are the ones who come up with the best and uncorrupted ideas of the world.  You must be an adult when you grow up, but you can choose to also be as carefree as a child when the time is right.  Keep that sparkle in your eye, choose to smile, and enjoy life only like a child can.  Be yourself, but also remember to be carefree once in awhile, not only for yourself, but most importantly for the ones you love as well.