Archives for posts with tag: anime

Grade B +

Manny’s Movie Musings: One of the best animated movies of the 1990s, “Ghost In The Shell” has secret agent/cyborg Motoko searching for a hacker nicknamed Puppet Master who can hack into a cyborg’s “ghost,” or human essence.  Her investigation — often culminating in violence — will have her looking into her own government and make her ask questions about the definition of life and the basic principles of what makes a creature a human being.  My most memorable, movie moment of “Ghost In The Shell” (1995) is the scene when Motoko, armed with a submachine-gun and a few grenades, takes on a tank as she pursues the Puppet Master.  Every anime fan is aware of this movie and loves it; and that love is well deserved.  Watch the movie and you’ll see and hear for yourself.

— M

This movie affected me deeply.  “Grave of the Fireflies” is a Japanese animated movie that takes place during WWII.  The main characters are a teenaged boy and his little sister, who is about 4 years old.  The Japanese empire is nearing its end; American planes are bombing and strafing the country; and the two orphaned siblings fight to live every day.  Their two biggest enemies: hunger and the lack of compassion from most of the civilians they encounter.

There are no supernatural elements to this movie.   No vampires, werewolves, aliens, superhuman martial arts masters…just two little kids who only have each other during a time when the entire world was on fire.   And that is what adds to the realism of this movie.  You quickly forget that you’re watching an animated movie as you become more involved with the characters and you see the boy taking desperate measures to keep his sister safe and alive.

Setsuko, the little sister, is the most real element in “Grave of the Fireflies.”  I happen to have a 4-year-old niece living with me, and Setsuko’s actions and words are right on the money.  Watching Setsuko was like watching my niece, and that’s what made me connect to this movie more than I expected to.  To watch Setsuko go from having an abundance of energy that would usually end with fits of giggles and laughter to a quiet, sickly girl who could barely walk was upsetting.  And still she thought of her brother’s welfare, as he thought of hers as his main concern, risking his life over and over so that she can have the opportunity to heal.

Rather than choose memorable moments in this beautiful movie, I choose memorable feelings: love, loyalty, sacrifice, and loss.

The best movies go beyond entertainment, and help us to better ourselves.  I live in a house with three generations of my family.  I don’t have a wife and I don’t have kids — I never felt the need for them, preferring the simplicity of being single.   Life has a sense of humor — I know this for a fact — because as someone who doesn’t like children, I wound up living with 2 little cousins in my early adulthood; and now I live with 2 little nieces.  My interaction with them is minimal even though I know I should give more of my time to them to help ensure that they turn out to be the best adults they can be.  I’m greedy with my free time, I admit it.  But after watching this movie, my feelings changed a bit.  Their shrieks of laughter and loud playing are things I don’t find annoying anymore — instead I find them comforting as they are manifestations of energy and life that is filled with wondrous possibilities.  Their smiles from the simple joys of having a new toy or eating a sweet treat brings me back to when I was young, before cynicism and distrust crept into my life.  I guess I’ve learned to love these little rugrats.  Time to be a better uncle and spend a bit more quality time with them when I can.

Don’t get me wrong — I still don’t like children.   But I can make 2 exceptions.


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