NOWO'S Studio Ghibli Cheat Sheet - Part Two: SOMETHING FOR THE KIDS
Updated: Apr 21
Something For The Kids
In Day 2 of our Ghibli Cheat Sheet Hope Eliza looks into the movies popular with the younger ones. That isn't exclusively however as there's still plenty to enjoy here for everyone, just less war and more mermaids.
As much as some people try to deny it, sometimes you get embarrassed watching animated films and need an excuse! That excuse; children. Not that NOWO’s Chris is an example of this but I know that he is slowly introducing Ghibli films to his 2 year old daughter in the hope of her gaining an interest as she grows older. So if you’re a parent looking to introduce your children into the world of Ghibli, these are the films to start with.
Ponyo (2008) – Japan’s answer to Disney’s The Little Mermaid so if your child is already a fan of The Little Mermaid, half of the job is done right there! Ponyo centres around well, Ponyo! A small fish girl that lives in the sea who washes up onto shore in a glass jar one day and is found by a small boy; Sosuke. Sosuke soon realises that there’s something special about this fish and the two become unlikely friends. The ever so impressionable Ponyo is now on a mission to become human in order to join her friend Sosuke up on the shore (sound familiar?) Ponyo uses magic to sprout arms and legs and races to join Sosuke. Ponyo then begins to live with Sosuke and his mother and the two become inseparable, mayhem ensues when Ponyo’s father realises what she’s done and attempts to bring her back to the sea, albeit in his own paranoid fish father way. Similar to Howl’s Moving Castle, this film too includes a recognisable cast including; Liam Neeson, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Tina Fey, Betty White and Miley Cyrus’ younger sister; Noah Cyrus as Ponyo. Although not important when contributing to the watchable factor, it is fun to play guess the celebrity voice actor in the later Ghibli films.
The Cat Returns (2002) – A sometimes forgotten about Ghibli film; The Cat Returns is a bit of a weird one - perfect for children, Especially children that like cats! Or just your average crazy cat lady. The Cat Returns follows the story of Haru, an average high school student who one day saves a cat from being hit by a truck. Haru gets the surprise of her life though when the cat stands up on his hind legs and speaks to her. The surprises don’t end there though as Haru is visited by hundreds of cats in the night claiming that the cat she saved was in fact the Cat Prince and that due to her actions, she now has to marry the Cat Prince and rule over cat kingdom! The rest of the films plays out as you’d expect; Haru is harassed by the neighbourhood cats until she agrees to go to the cat kingdom where she must escape from the Cat King. As I said at the start, this film can get a little strange however it was tested out on Chris’ daughter a few weeks back and she was interested! Well as interested as a 2 year old can be.
My Neighbor Totoro (1988) – Although it featured in the previous section, Totoro can take a spot here too as it’s a favourite among little ones.
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) – Kiki is loved by people of all ages, I’d say I’ve seen more Kiki cosplayers than any other Ghibli character in my entire life and that’s because she’s a fan favourite! Kiki’s Delivery Service is the story of Kiki – a 13 year old Witch who is leaving home for the first time for a sort of a gap year as part of her witch training. Kiki sets up shop in a small seaside village and starts her own flying delivery business! Kind of like a faster, slightly more reliable postal service. The film focuses on Kiki harnessing her powers and the friends and challenges she meets along the way. Again, I can’t say that too much happens in this film but the film is full of wonderful moments that kids seem to love! Perhaps it’s all the flying broomsticks, planes and cats that make this film so appealing.
Day 2 comes to a close and we'd love to know if you like what you've read here and we'd love to hear from you either way. If you're just plain impressed why not head over to Hope Eliza's own blog; hopeelizab.co.uk and let her know if you do watch any of her recommendations via twitter or Instagram which is @hopeelizab on both.
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