Disney and Studio Ghibli

My meagre collection

Of course, when I was younger Disney was about the best thing there was. I had all the books that went along with the films in a blue Mickey Mouse book stand, I remember having a Mufasa toy alongside my Aladdin one and my collection of Toy Story toys and having the videos of Fox and the Hound, Beauty and the Beast and so much more.

However the fact that I just had to IMDB The Lion King to find out if Mufasa was definitely Simba’s dad just goes to show how much it means to me now.

That’s not to say I don’t like Disney  any more, I’ll always have a soft spot for the strange characters that so often frequent their films, but in terms of plot, story and sheer beauty I’ve moved onto Studio Ghibli.

While the studio has a certain fondness for silliness they don’t lack a serious side. Their themes usually focus around nature, environment or family. They don’t need to tell their story through talking animals that like to sing songs nor through computer animated worlds.

Instead they opt for proper animation, drawn with such ease and care. Over the years Disney has placed most of its focus on the Pixar branch of its company with the result that Princess and the Frog was the first properly Disney film to have been released in a good few years.

Studio Ghibli, however, have not been tempted by the lure of computer animation and have remained faithful to their passion. This year they released Arrietty marking their 34th (or something close to that number) release since the company was founded in 1985.

Unfortunately I own only four of their films, seen six and am desperate to see all the rest. There’s something  highly captivating about the charmingly rustic quality that comes with each of their films.

Plus I doubt very much that Disney will ever make something as poignant as Grave of the Fireflies or Princess Mononoke.

Of course, saying all this, Disney comes with its own messages, they’re just conveyed in a way that is more suitable for children which, in time, many of us will outgrow. It’s still nice to watch the fun, playful and buoyant figures flitting about on-screen.

Studio Ghibli like to be blunt with their messages, the devastating ending of Grave of the Fireflies is proof of this.

The two companies balance each other out and while I’ll always be fond of Disney and enjoy the stories that they tell, my fix for proper animation and deep stories will always be sated by Studio Ghibli.


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