Miyazaki movies!

A number of films by Japanese animation master Miyazaki Hayao will be screened in Taipei next month.
These include My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, something I don’t know the name of* (maybe not really directed by Miyazaki, but at least put out by his studio), Laputa: Castle in the Sky (Tenku no shiro Rapyuta), and a new feature 8-). Tickets are NT$150 per film.

  • A girl meets boy story. Very, very little action, but you get to hear “County Roads” (as “Concrete Roads”) in Japanese a lot. Despite how it may sound, it’s well worth watching – just don’t expect much of anything to happen. The local DVD of this has no English. The Chinese dubbing, however, is excellent – not insufferably cute, like most dubbing here. (The cover of the DVD shows a girl leaning against a wall, talking with a boy leaning out a window. The back cover shows a statue of a fanciful cat.)

I love Miyazaki’s movies and strongly recommend them to everyone. Some of them aren’t much on action, but his trees! His clouds! His shadows! His imagined cities! His airships!

Here are some of Miyazaki’s movies I’ve seen in local video stores.
[ul][li]Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi). This one’s in all the video stores now. Look for the cover with an underwater close-up of a girl’s face. No English on the DVD – but watch it even if you don’t know Chinese or Japanese. I can’t say enough good things about this movie. I understand it finally opened in the United States last month. [/li]
[li]My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro). Everyone probably knows this one already. The best movie here for young children. DVD has English. [/li]
[li]Kiki’s Delivery Service (Majo no takkyubin). A young witch goes off to the city to do her year in training alone. Light but pleasant. The local DVD has English dubbing as well as subtitles. As much as I like Phil Hartman, though, I don’t think his voice works very well as the cat’s, so I recommend going with the Japanese original, esp. since the Chinese version isn’t so good. [/li]
[li]Crimson Pig (Kurenai no buta, also Porco Rosso). The story of an Italian flying ace … who happens to have been transformed into a pig. “A pig’s gotta fly.” (I love that line.) DVD has English. [/li]
[li]Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime). Girl raised by wolves battles the leader of the “iron town,” who is slowly destroying the forest and killing its “gods.” And there’s a boy, who sees both sides of the issue and tries to make peace. DVD has English. [/li][/ul]

The unnamed film above is called Whisper of the Heart (Mimi wo Sumaseba, also If You Listen Closely). It’s not directed by Miyazaki, though he produced it and helped write it.


Thanks for the information. You made a long, stupid day brighten up. Even at 2:45am.

I’m not a Japanese animation junkie but when I saw Spirited Away, I was blown away.

More info: When? Where?

Ah, but have you seen Rintaro’s Metropolis?

I rented Spirited Away for ‘er indoors, fully expecting a peaceful 90 minutes in which to read Porno (Irvine Welshs’ latest). I too was blown away by the animation. Wonderful stuff.

So Alien, is Metropolis worth a rent?

Get small first, Sandy…
Oh, and Metropolis is available at that dvd shop off Shida with the Area 1 dvds. Have you converted your player yet?

I’m trying to track down more information. I think the showtimes are spread across the month and not limited to one day or even one week.

As for Metropolis, it’s a fine movie. I don’t think it’s in the same league as Spirited Away; but I don’t think many films are. For Metropolis, be sure to check out the mini DVD, too. I love the explanation of the layered animation of the giant mechanism.

In my recent enthusiasm for Asian animation, I just rented A Chinese Ghost Story: The Tsui Hark animation. Although I could spot some things Spirited Away may have borrowed, the movie just isn’t any good. And the Chinese and English are both awful. A miss.

On the other hand, there’s Grave of the Fireflies, put out by Miyazaki’s studio. Wow. A tale of a Japanese boy and girl trying to make it on their own during World War II. Very fine. But not light going or something to stick the children in front of in lieu of a babysitter. (Spoilers follow.) A brief pastoral period decays into the wartime reality of starvation and death. And not just regular movie death, but the deaths of children. So don’t say I didn’t warn you. The final, surprising shot is both perfect and devastating.

Cranky, I’ve really been wanting to rent Grave of the Fireflies for ages, but can’t seem to see it at the DVD store these days, although I know I’ve seen it there in the past. Can you post the Hanyu for it in the way that even a dumb schmuck like myself can pronounce it?

Much obliged.

Yinghuochong zhi mu.

Here are the Chinese titles for those movies:

1986: Laputa – Castle in the Sky 天空之城
1988: My Neighbor Totoro 龍貓
1988: Grave of the Fireflies 螢火蟲之墓
1989: Kiki’s Delivery Service 魔女宅急便
1992: Porco Rosso (Crimson Pig) 紅豬
1995: Whisper of the Heart 心之谷
1997: Princess Mononoke 魔法公主
2001: Spirited Away 神隱少女

Get the DVDs! Those being sold now are made by Ghibli, so even the subtitles are correct and the english and chinese audio tracks (not necessarily both on every movie) are quite close to the japanese original - in both content and atmosphere. I can’t understand someone would want to rent a Ghibli movie to watch it once only…

I found the website (in Chinese only) for the Miyazaki festival:

The films are being shown not only in Taipei but also in Taizhong, Tainan, and Gaoxiong. In Taipei, they’ll be screened at three different theaters: Warner Village, Changchun (near the intersection of Songjiang and Changchun), and someplace in Ximending.

A rep at Disney, Taiwan, said that the bonus disk of the 2-DVD set has English Subtitles though the main title has no English.

Even though she gave me her name, I won’t buy it unless she swears that she will take it back if it doesn’t.
Does any have the two disk set? Is she correct?

By the way, the Bonus Disk of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is not in English. It’s in Chinese and Korean. Korean??? But even so, I enjoyed the DVD.

Anyway the reason she gave me is that they sometimes share the bonus disks with other regions depending on demand and other unknown stuff.

She says that the Spirited Away bonus disk is shared with Hong Kong.

Asked why there is no English on the main feature, she said they could not get the rights from Studio GHIBLI.

Great Movie though… My wife had to translate it line by line but it was still great.

Spinak, the different audio tracks are on the main disk, the bonus disk contains the movie in two different “angles” (or camera views) - at least the DVD player is handling it as such. The other “angle” contains the raw drawings made previously to the movie. Based on those, sound is recorded and then the real movie footage will be drawn - so by watching that “angle” you can catch a bit of the production process at an anime studio.
Of course I have the DVD, I’ll check for the audio tracks when I’m home. English subtitles should be no question - almost all of the newly issued Ghibli DVDs have japanese, english and chinese subtitles, it just might happen that they don’t contain an english audio track. (Though I’m quite sure “Spirited away” should have one.)

Hint: Try to track down the original DVDs, and not the ones released for western audiences. The soundtracks are completely different, and in the translated/dubbed versions completely ruin the movies in my opinion.

Joe Hisaishi composed some absolutely beautiful music for these films, and it’s a pity that anyone saw the need to recompose and create ‘American’ versions for ‘American’ audiences as they put it. :frowning:

LazyMF, you are not actually talking about the “DVDs” released without proper license by taiwanese companies? I wrote “DVDs”, because they had (at least some of them) the license and the footage to produce VCD and VHS, so they took the “liberty” to copy the whole footage onto a DVD. I have such DVDs (Yes, I am a Ghibli fan…): The footage was resized for DVD, subtitles are “burnt in” (so they can’t be switched off) and the whole movie is only divided into two “chapters”. On one of my DVDs, those chapters have even slightly strange numbers, the student editing the footage probably used the software for the first time…
The above DVDs are actually illegal, but those now available for a bit more than NT$500 are completely made by Ghibli themselves - which also includes subtitles and audio tracks in other languages. The subtitles are (in contrast to those on VCD and VHS, which were M.I.T.) finally correct and while I usually urge people do watch the movies in Japanese (even if they don’t understand much of the language), now I would even accept the english and chinese versions. There is a huge difference (in the Chinese used in subtitles and audio) between these DVDs and anything that was released earlier here in Taiwan, compare it!
Spinak: The Disney rep was correct, the english subtitles are on disk two, together with all the bonus material (which includes an introduction to the Ghibli museum). If you want an english soundtrack (and a movie where you can laugh quite a few times), get “Porco Rosso” (The Red Swine, Hong Zhu)!

The China Post’s page on movie listings gives that the Changchun and Warner theaters have Castle in the Sky this week. I think it should also be at another theater in Ximending.

I wouldn’t count on the films having English subtitles. :frowning: If anyone goes, please post subtitle status.

I went to Laputa: Castle in the Sky this evening at Spring Cinema (next to California Fitness in Ximending). The film was in Japanese with Chinese subtitles. Not surprisingly, there was no English.

The film was talky at times, so I often couldn’t read all the subtitles that were flashing by. But even someone who can’t read Chinese or understand Japanese could probably get the main ideas. Not Miyazaki’s best by a long shot, but worth a look.

Movie fans might want to note that Spring, like almost every other company in Taiwan now, is offering its own credit card. The bonus is one free movie ticket per month for a year, plus matinee prices for other showings. Better than a Pooh doll that dances to the “Macarena,” I say.

I’m looking for a DVD of Crimson Pig (Porco Rosso, Hong Zhu) that will play on a U.S. DVD player. So I need either region 1 or all-region. Does anyone know where I could find one? It also needs to have Italian or English available in subtitles or dubbing.

Me too, as well as some the other ones. I’ve so far been unsuccessful, but I have yet to try online.
Also, why is it so bloody difficult to find copies of Grave of the Fireflies? My local KPS has nearly all the Miyazaki films – but not GOTF.
The only copies I’ve seen have been cheap pirated VCDs, which I’m not interested in.
Cranky, if you have a copy, I sincerely believe you should donate it to me – you’ve seen it already, after all. :wink:

I rented it from the local video store. If only you lived in a culturally sophisticated area like Banqiao. :wink:

I’ve seen most of the Miyazaki-related movies for sale (for around NT$500), but in region-3 encoding, which won’t work for me, cuz I want to give the disc to someone in the States.