Revisiting Ghibli, Genshiken, and Hosoda

Even when you’re in the work force and don’t get a three-month long break, summer still works differently from the rest of the year. It’s a time for vacations,...
Illustration by Robert Neito (syntetyc.com) | reprinted with permission

Even when you’re in the work force and don’t get a three-month long break, summer still works differently from the rest of the year. It’s a time for vacations, reflection, and though less-so than in years past, reruns. This summer, I’ve been churning through a number of anime series and shows that I’ve seen before. Almost every one has struck me differently – sometimes wildly so – than it did in the past. Perhaps my love of nostalgia has colored those shows, or I’d reinforced opinions about these pieces through the years. All the more reason for me to revisit some classic anime of the past!

Here are most of the anime I’ve rewatched this summer. We generally score series and movies on an A through F scale here, but I’m going with a five-star scale because I’m comparing them how I’ve rated these previously on Anime Planet, which uses that system. Red indicates a loss in score and blue an increase.

The Boy and the Beast

I watched this film for the first time last year, and immediately fell in love. Such a moving story, with wonderful art, music, and humor. When I first watched the film, it really got to me. I nearly shed a manly tear or two. The second time around was no different as I got choked up during the finale. Very, very moving.

Original score: 4.5 stars
New score: 4.5 stars

Genshiken

I’m nearly through Genshiken 2 (not to be confused with the second season of Genshiken), as you can probably tell by the number of articles on this site about the series lately. The first season is every bit as good as I remembered. It carries so much nostalgia for me and is so subtle in it’s plotting for a series about over-the-top characters. The OVA’s were alright, too, but the second cour isn’t as strong as I remember. I do remember it being graphic in its content (though I was thinking only of the yaoi episode – that’s not even the brunt of it), but I don’t remember how much that takes away from the story (including the weird musical interlude during some such scenes).

Original scores: season 1 (5 stars), OVAs (4 stars), season 2 (4.5 stars)
New scores: season 1 (5 stars), OVAs (4 stars), season 2 (4 stars)

Howl’s Moving Castle

I used to love Howl’s, but I never considered it quite on par with Spirited Away. Having not seen it for many years, I’d forgotten how good the movie really is. It’s so pretty and so inventive, though it’s quite easily the worst Disney dub of a Ghibli film. Emily Mortimer isn’t the only problem, but she’s the biggest in the movie, absolutely awful with her timing for Sophie’s voice.

Original score: 4 stars
New score: 4.5 stars

Ponyo

I hate Ponyo when I first watched it, not because it was bad, but because I thought, “This was what I’ve been waiting for this whole time?” Certainly one of Miyazaki’s lesser films, Ponyo is visually creative but the story is sometimes a bit lazy, though it’s not quite the retread of a film I thought it was when I first watched. It was far more enjoyable than I remember it being. Maybe I just needed to let the disappointment wear off over the years before I could really enjoy the movie.

Original score: 3.5 stars
New score: 4 stars

chidiro and haku dragon

art by anonamos | reprinted w/permission

Spirited Away

My first experience with Spirited Away was magical. It was the first anime I watched on the big screen, having snuck off from my group of friends who were all watching The Ring instead. It was marvelous then and it is marvelous now. I’m afraid I was starting to dull a bit on the movie, thinking that maybe it wasn’t as good as I remembered, but it is. Great, great film.

Original score: 5 stars
New score: 5 stars

Summer Wars

I was afraid to watch Summer Wars because I though the technological portions might be laughably bad. Instead, I found them nostalgic upon reviewing, as Summer Wars became a movie set in time, but one that still very forcefully and intentionally conveys a meaning about forgiveness, family, and restoration that is timeless.

Original score: 4.5 stars
New score: 4.5 stars

Whisper of the Heart

This is one that I think I’ve watched too many times. The beauty of Whisper of the Heart is in the innocence and, again, nostalgia of the film. The magic wore a bit during my rewatch this summer, though, – unfortunate, too, because until now, it was my favorite Studio Ghibli. Still lovely, though, and still wondrous.

Original score: 5 stars
New score: 4.5 stars

Otaku. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Meg Ryan movies. Self-anointed sushi chef. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Forever stuck in the 90's. Thinks the 80's was better than it was. Jesus is King.
2 Comments on this post.
  • Samuru
    17 August 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Watching reruns is something I honestly never do. I have to go back and re-watch some good classics (several of the ones you did!) myself. I tend to move on to the next experience, than go back and relive it. It’s a shame though, because I forget a lot of the “magic” of the movie/show.

    Got lots to watch now….

    • TWWK
      17 August 2017 at 4:59 pm

      We have so many new shows ready and available and waiting that I find it harder than ever to revisit past series, but I’m glad when I do!

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