December 1, 2021

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Netflix: our top ranking of the entire Studio Ghibli catalog

On the occasion of showing all the films in the Studio Ghibli catalog on Netflix, the Journal du Geek criticized them and classified them from less good to more stratospheric.

The seventh thirty years of pure art and animation (not counting the six years since the release of the last). Since Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, but released before the studio claiming the legacy was created, in 1984, Japanese animation studio Ghibli has earned a reputation for unrivaled excellence.

The catalog, which may seem flimsy compared to Walt Disney Pictures or the Pixar studios, is full of masterpieces of various styles and themes. However, all shone with the same flame of passion… Well, more or less. The broadcast of all Studio Ghibli films on Netflix last April provided the perfect opportunity to rediscover them – and for some, to discover them – in new ways. Also, while waiting for the Miyazaki father and son to finish their current film project, let’s take the opportunity to launch this great challenge: criticize (with as few spoilers as possible) and classify all the titles in this catalog, each one more amazing than the other!

The annotation “can do better” can summarize the audience’s feelings at the end of this first film by Goro Miyazaki. The latter, the son of the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, did indeed seem to fail to reread the copy one last time before returning it. The latter won’t hesitate to tell him, very coolly, after the preview – as told in a recent documentary on the Japanese animation mogul.

But the core material – Ursula Le Guin’s eponymous novel, chronicling an imaginary world where magic is based on the knowledge of words – has the richness and subtle structure necessary for a successful first attempt. Unfortunately, young Goro seems to actually hang around on several occasions in a very awkward overall story. Beautiful turns, however natural and crucial, do not exist. On several occasions, the behavior of the main characters raises questions. The many borrowings from Nausicaä from the Valley of the Wind, either in the universe or through characters like Sparrowhawk, also don’t help to consider it other than the clumsy takeover of the father’s legacy.

The tacit promise that accompanies studio Ghibli films is to offer a source of magic, intense emotion, or striking reflection on one of life’s universal themes. Despite the beauty of its animation (for once, the studio’s craftsmen never fail at this task) and its calm and relaxing atmosphere, I Can Hear the Ocean doesn’t have any of these in store.

A slice of life revolving around a love triangle between three teenagers on their journey to becoming young adults fails to rise to the sadly (in a sense) very high standards of Studio Ghibli works. There is nothing in the character construction to distract or mark. However it will suit viewers who, perhaps, are looking for a little break or a simple Zen break in this cruel world.

Naturally, the film is a “spin-off” (perhaps the only film that connects openly to another film in Ghibli’s filmography) and therefore loses some of the charm of the work it takes on: Situ treats the ears. If this one were simpler, Cat Kingdom truly explores the fantasy and storytelling genre, bringing parties to life to bring what, in the original film, only remained on an inert or even fantastical scale.

As a result, the adventure remains incredibly cute and elegant benefitting from the studio’s graphic expertise but never getting over it. In the end, it just ends up being a sweet tale, devoid of gravity – as even the antagonists sometimes seem weary and the heroines, to make room for Baron Humbert von Gikkingen, often seem too naive and absent-minded to leave studio Ghibli – rather than a truly original tale. and interesting.

Memories dripping sound like I can hear the ocean, because that too is a hard to remember and universal part of life. However, unlike the last, the film made by studio co-founder Isao Takahata shows more mastery and especially depth in exploring the psychology of its main character.

As a young adult, Taeko is still looking for himself in a life that, professionally, doesn’t suit him and which, sentimentally, comes to a halt. Resting in the countryside, a series of flashbacks to a childhood where uncertainty has not prevailed will allow him to find himself and gain the confidence he lacks. This storytelling mode allows Drip Memory to convey a message: to not get lost and mature more calmly, take a step back and revisityour childhood. Moreover,

When we said that Goro Miyazaki could “do better”. With La Colline aux Coquelicots signed features that are moving, energetic and even exciting in some places. It has nothing to do with the disappointment of Tales of Terremer. However, however wonderful this improvement may be on his part, his second film does not fulfill another story from the genre that studio Ghibli has produced over the years. The meeting and later love story between two high school students is well constructed and the mystery surrounding the suspected past is interesting. Nevertheless, the big revelation that audiences were hoping for seemed a bit too timid, even a little rushed, especially given the breadth of the student home renovation subplot. The fact remains that the music (and, in particular, the title track) gives goosebumps.

With My neighbours, the Yamadas, Isao Takahata has created a sketch film that completely clashes with the studio’s now established graphic and narrative style. Out of this field, in terms of animation, which he will repeat almost fifteen years later with his final film (to be found at number 7 in the ranking), fits perfectly into the chosen structure.

Not only, most of the situations posed in this film are downright hilarious and endearing, but it’s a great idea to focus all of them, however independent of each other, on the same family really doesn’t disappoint the audience. Admittedly, the vignette structure effect does not benefit the film throughout (as is the case with most genre films) but the audience appears positively refreshed by watching.

Hayao Miyazaki’s first work to rank and, perhaps, the first controversy surrounding this positioning. An opportunity to remember that these classifications and the criticisms that come with them are just opinions, pure and simple. Ponyo on the cliff, magical and technically impressive, just lacks the power of another feature film directed by a studio star. Worse, perhaps, he’s more like “Miyazaki fought to make Miyazaki”.

This feeling of observing forced labor is unfounded when one learns about its development through the famous documentary about its creator (link below). We also feel it in the sometimes overly surreal staging around the character Ponyo and the fantastical entities associated with her. Like the Cat Kingdom, the antagonist’s indolence (which in the end turns out not to be antagonistic, having actually left his post) doesn’t help to accentuate the dramatic tension either. Otherwise, the film still borrows from Miyazaki’s brilliance, in particular, in its fantastical flashes.

With this first film, we know why studio Ghibli pundits considered the young Yoshifumi Kondo their successor, before his tragic death just a few years later. If you strain your ears is a well-developed teen romance. His asset, above all else, was not putting aside what the studio was known for, the fantastic and the story, without burdening him with destroying the main plot. The fantasy of the imagination of the young aspiring writer really evokes magic but, moreover, is justified in the course of his intellectual initiative. Above all, the treatment of artistic creations, both literary and artisanal, is not only fair but inspiring.