Hourou Musuko Wandering Son Anime Review

Hourou Musuko Anime Review

Wandering Son

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Title: Hourou Musuko

Other Titles: Wandering Son

Genre: Romance, Slice of Life, Drama, School

Studio: AIC Classic

Based on: The Hourou Musuko manga by Takako Shimura

Length: The show is made up of a single 12 episode season, with the story beginning partway through the plot of Takako’s source manga material. Each episode is roughly 23 minutes long. 

Release Dates: Aired January – April 2011

Where to watch: Crunchyroll has the entire season in its library, available for streaming 24/7.

Overall: 56 / 70

Geeky: 3 / 5 Gentle comedy and an entire plotline devoted to an instalment of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet make for a wonderfully animated literary experience – and all in Japanese, no less. We would say this is a moderately geeky show; settling into one’s own skin is a sentiment able to be appreciated by viewers of all introvert backgrounds, and the shared personal struggles of the middle school class are infinitely relatable. All kinds of content find themselves ported from the west to the east, from online slots on Bitcasino to stage plays. In this case, it’s awesome to see Shakespeare viewed through the lens of a new and distinct culture.  

Sweetie: 4 / 5 Hourou Musuko is deeply touching, regardless of one’s background or identity relative to its characters. I wouldn’t exactly call it cutesy so to speak, but the honesty of friendship and the raw moments of emotion peppered throughout result in a powerful experience nonetheless. Heartfelt, funny, beautiful – Hourou Musuko is realistic at its core, both in terms of life’s expectations and its results. The bond between protagonists Takatsuki and Nitori is a particular highlight.   

Overview: 8 /10 Its content and delicate handling of the subject would have many label Hourou Musuko as a simple ‘Queer,’ or ‘LGBT’ anime. Identity is the topic of its main themes, after all, and its popularity is largely due to its responsible confrontation of difficult character situations. All too often Japanese culture paints queer characters in a comedic or derogatory light, and its refreshing to see that dynamic turns on its head – Hourou Musuko takes gender non-conforming characters and gives them an honest life on screen. But there’s more to this show than just representation.

Wandering Son

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There’s laughter, there’s love, and there’s a host of experience and perspective all balanced amidst a dramatic beat in every episode. Anyone with a taste for slice of life anime should enjoy this show. Anyone looking to better understand queer adolescence should find it informative. Its introspective storytelling leaves little to be desired, and its subtle direction carries great emotional weight as the story follows our cast through their early years of young adulthood. Family, school and future all lie in the balance.     

Story: 8 /10 Shuichi Nitori is a relatively normal child – a good student, a good friend, quiet and reserved. With a slight build and feminine interests, they find themselves at odds with the world around them. You see, Nitori was assigned male at birth, but identifies as female. Yoshino Takatsuki, on the other hand is tall, a tomboy, with their own similar counterpart desires. They were assigned female, but wish to live as a man. After sharing such secrets between themselves upon meeting in the fifth grade, they quickly become firm friends. Commence queer transgender drama and teenage hijinks.

Hourou Musuko follows these two as they venture into adolescence, examining their friendships, exploring their secrets and watching from afar as they begin their first tentative romantic adventures – and many a romantic adventure is to be had! Towards the end of elementary school Nitori, Takatsuki and another girl, Saori, clash in an unsatisfactory love triangle that leaves all three-broken hearted. Because of this both Nitori and Takatsuki lose their support system and space for exploration, and Saori quickly becomes embittered to them both. Set the stage for episode one (as all of the above is told in flashbacks throughout the first half of the series).  

Junior High has begun, and Nitori is more isolated than ever before. They still harbour romantic feelings for Takatsuki, their sister (who shares a room with Nitori) is unsupportive and puberty is on its way. This is a child lacking information and affirmation, a child who dresses as the girl others do not see after school and struggles with a deep fear of the future. The spaces where they can be themselves are few and far between, to say the least. So Nitori falls back on their friends, rebuilding a platonic relationship with Takatsuki and meeting plenty of new ones along the way.

The show generally follows a slow, melancholy pace thereafter, with a key plotline in the latter half of the series involving a gender-bent performance of Romeo and Juliet. Takatsuki is Romeo – Nitori, sadly, is not Juliet. As the play enters rehearsals, Nitori begins to learn more and more about themselves, being the one to rewrite the play, and their family is soon made aware of their internal feelings. Beyond that there’s Anna – a friend of Nitori’s sister, she takes an interest in them, an interest which eventually develops into a relationship. We also meet Yuki, an adult woman who once found herself in Nitori’s position, as well as her boyfriend Shiina, who counsels the two in times of crisis and offers generally impartial advice. Yuki stands as a testament to Nitori’s possible future, and as a friend to the both of them.

As the show goes on family, friends, love and school begin to pressure both Takatsuki and Nitori, tension builds, and the future remains uncertain. Want to know more? Watch the show and find out! There’s plenty of detail hidden beyond the broad strokes and conflict mentioned here.

Characters: 8 / 10 While each episode of Hourou Musuko centres around the experiences of one Shuichi Nitori, a young teen in the midst of exploring their gender identity and place in the world, a vibrant cast of supporting character maintain a constant presence. There’s Makato, the childhood friend and son of a baker with a crush on the homeroom teacher. There’s Anna, the love interest, Chizuru the impulsive clown and Momo the shy voice of reason. There’s also Takatsuki, who’s less of a supporting cast member and more of a secondary lead in many ways. They share Nitori’s challenge, wishing they had been born a boy and muddling their way through a series of intensely complex emotions. Together the two embark on a journey of self-discovery, centre stage in a production full of life.

Wandering Son

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The amazing thing about HM is that it manages to coherently develop its characters all at once in such a short space of time. Over twelve episodes each and every cast member sees visible growth, change, loss and gain, with every curve in the road masterfully handled. It’s raw, it’s realistic, and things don’t always have a happy ending.

Art: 9 /10 From Nitori to her parents, from Takatsuki to random girl number five sitting quietly at the back of the classroom, each member of Hourou Musuko’s cast has a distinctive and recognisable character design. People move smoothly, physics play out naturally, and colours are sharp as can possibly be. What really makes the show for me is how it plays out on both a macro and micro scale – the small, human details of movement contrasted against a painstakingly animated environmental background. When Nitori steps across the road crossing and is knocked by a businessman, ruffling her outfit, the chaos of movement and bodies is representative of her personal struggle. When she adjusts her clothing, the flow of the material pays close attention to detail. Really good stuff. Also, the cherry blossoms are gorgeous. 

Music: 8 /10 Sound director Jin Aketagawa peppers this anime with music at all the right moments. Simultaneously uplifting and hollow, hopeful and lost (excuse the dramatic hyperbole), scenes are lifted into excellence by single notes and symphonies alike. The intro and outro tracks are also a highlight – Rie Fu’s For You is full of innocence.

Voice acting: 8 /10 With no English dub currently available, Hourou Musuko is best enjoyed by non-Japanese speakers in its original form, albeit with subtitles scrolling by along the bottom of the screen. This is a show that maintains a wide cast of characters, but it does so wonderfully, with each voice maintaining a distinct personality and tone. The lilt and inflection of each sentence translates across all language, strengthening the emotional integrity of painful scenes and lightening the comedy of their counterparts.

There are gentle beats, there are harsh beats. There are loud, explosive moments and periods of extraordinary stillness, and in each one, the voice actors respond accordingly. Nitori and Takatsuki’s roles are perhaps the most challenging that the show has to offer, but they also happen to be the highlight of its voice acting line-up. Angst is easily overdone, yet there’s nothing in either of these characters dialogue that oversteps the line. Rather, less is more. Pain is quiet.   

Hourou Musuko Wandering Son Anime Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

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Every Don Bluth Animated Film Ranked From Best to Worst. Top 10 Don Bluth Films. Best Don Bluth Films. Worst Don Bluth Films. Favorite Don Bluth Films

Every Don Bluth Animated Film Ranked Best to Worst

Don Bluth started out as a Disney Animator, but left to form his own studio. He also worked for awhile with Steven Spielberg. It seems that Don Bluth had a few hits, and then faded from the animation scene. But the hits he did have under his belt remain some of my favorite animated movies of all time. In fact, the first four movies on my list are all so fantastic I had a hard time deciding what order to rank them under.

What are your favorite Don Bluth films? Leave a comment to let us know!

Here are my faves:

All Dogs Go to Heaven

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Easily one of the top 5 movies from my childhood. Anyone that has ever loved and lost a pet will relate deeply to this story. It’s very emotional and sweet. It also teaches us morals and lessons, to be kind to others, to be less selfish, and to help and take care of each other. It shows us how to be a good friend and a good person. Dogs in real life have a lot to teach to humans about how to live a more simple, loving, and honest life. But the dogs in this film don’t start out as the typical “man’s best friend” – They’ve been bad dogs. Very bad dogs. Charlie, he’s the main german shepherd looking guy right there, loves to gamble and lives a fast paced life with little regard for others. Even his best friend Itchy is sometimes betrayed by Charlie’s greed and selfishness. Charlie’s antics have gotten him into some trouble with other dogs. This results in a conspiracy to murder Charlie, but Charlie isn’t ready to die just yet. Charlie loves life and all that it has to offer. Charlie sneaks out of heaven with a warning that he can never come back. “Ghost” Charlie rejoins his friend Itchy and the two set out on a new adventure to make lots of money and win back their place among the other dogs. Charlie thinks he has a fool proof plan when he meets a young orphan girl with an uncanny ability to correctly predict the right horses at the races. But as Charlie begins to spend time with the girl, his heart changes and softens. Sadly reluctantly in the end they must part ways, but Charlie is welcomed back into heaven because of his selfless actions near the end. And like the title states ALL dogs go to heaven, even (previously) bad dogs like Charlie. The love between Charlie and the little girl is so heart warming and then so heart breaking at the end. I love stories that are full of emotion. The film also has great music “You can’t keep a good dog down” is super catchy and cute.

A Bit of Trivia – although the screenplay is uniquely original, the title of this film was inspired by Bluth’s love for a book of the same name, which he remembered having read in 4th grade. I believe that book to be All Dogs Go to Heaven by Beth Brown, published in 1944. Although out of print, you can find it on Amazon. – The stories are not related in any way – but it still sounds like an amazing book for anyone who has ever lost a pet. There’s also one by the same author called All Cats Go to Heaven

All Dogs Go to Heaven by Beth Brown https://www.amazon.com/All-dogs-heaven-Beth-Brown/dp/B0007HRA72

All Cats Go to Heaven by Beth Brown https://www.amazon.com/all-cats-heaven-beth-brown/dp/B000SZVLW8


The Land Before Time

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Next in line for Best Don Bluth Animated Film of All Time, we have The Land Before Time. I loved this movie as a kid. I even had a stuffed plush Little Foot. I love Little Foot so much!! Very cute film, also, very heart breaking – Are you seeing a trend here? Darn you Bluth, lol. Your films are so sad – and so touching – I just can’t stop crying when I watch these.

Anyways as I’m sure you know by now, the Land Before Time is about the Dinosaurs migrating to find food and water. There are rumors of a great valley with lots of water and lush vegetation. And you know if the grass eaters starve to death, the meat eaters will starve to death too, circle of life and all… so they agree as a herd to set out and seek a new home.

It is a difficult journey, and not everyone makes it. As the journey goes on, their faith in each other is tested. We also witness the innocence of the baby dinosaurs as they grow up at first seemingly oblivious to the threats and dangerous and then maturing through their journey and experiences.

After writing this I was suddenly inspired to want to rewatch the original Land Before Time. I also wondered just how many sequels were there… I can’t believe there’s 13 sequels… Though if I recall none of the sequels I saw are that great. But I found all 14 films in a DVD collection on Amazon for $34. That’s less than $2.50 per each film. It will make a great addition to my collection. I want to start to rebuild my DVD / Movie collection, and Board Game collection but that’s a topic for another day lol. Having all 14 films in one DVD set at such a low price is a great place to start. I’m somewhat concerned by the reviews which state that the cases arrive broken/damaged, DVDs are missing, the audio and video quality is poor, etc. But these negative reviews are few and far in between and most of the reviews have been positive. So here’s hoping! lol.

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The Secret of NIMH

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The Secret of NIMH is one of the most memorable standout films from my childhood. I still love this film. It is based on the book MRS Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – I vaguely recall reading the book once when I was younger, and I found it dull. I don’t know if it’s because it lacked the elements of fantasy and magic which were written only for the movie version, or because it lacked the drama and suspense and darkness and almost horror like qualities of the cartoon. I love the Secret of NIMH because of the highly emotional and suspenseful story. A mother who has a sick child, plus other children, and must keep them all safe. NIMH is also portrayed much more gravely in the movie than the book. The cruelty of animal testing and the horrors the rats suffered were much more apparent and helped make the film darker too. This movie was dark AF – maybe it’s because it was Bluth’s first project after leaving Disney and he wanted to do something so different that it would stand out as being non-disney-ish in any way. The darkness of this film may scare small kids – but it will also help endear the film to older kids, teens, and adults.


Fieval An American Tail

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Fieval kinda reminds me of the movie “Home Alone” in some ways. Fieval gets separated from his family and finds himself all alone in a strange city. The thing that stands out most to me in the film is the song “Somewhere Out There” – It’s a duet by Fieval and I think it was his sister? Although it sounds more like a love song lol for someone looking for love / unrequited love / loneliness – but Fieval was looking for his family. “Somewhere out there, if love can see us through, then we’ll be together, somewhere out there, out where dreams come true.” I remember liking the film a lot as a kid, and I had a large stuffed Fieval doll too. But my memories of Fieval are a lot less clear than my memories of Land Before Time or All Dogs Go to Heaven.


Anastasia

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There are many people who consider this film to be a failure (despite that it performed quite well in the box office). I rather liked it though. It felt like a very mature story with a very strong female lead and since it is based on history (although only loosely) it offers the opportunity to become interested in the events surrounding the real anastasia and do your own research and learn new things. The animation style was beautiful and the music in the film was also amazing. Some people feel the film is too Disney-ish, but ultimately, that direction helped this become a blockbuster hit.


The Pebble and the Penguin

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I remember this film being cute – but I don’t really remember much else about it. I know it’s based on real penguin behaviors, and that the basic plot involves a shy and awkward penguin in puberty who has a crazy crush on another penguin who also likes him, but they’re too shy to express their feelings. I remember the main character gets bullied a lot, but ultimately prevails in the end. It ranks lower on my list just for not being as memorable as Bluth’s other films.


Thumbelina

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This cartoon and the fairy tale that it is based on is very cute. This is another film with that Disney princess feel that feels a little cliche. I think it’s because it’s not terribly unique (from other animated films / fairy tales) that it ranks lower. I do like the idea of a miniature civilization of tiny human/fairy things – I also like Arietty, the Borrowers, the Littles, and The Indian in the Cupboard which all share a similar theme to Thumbelina.


Rock-A-Doodle

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I remember this film quite well but I don’t really love it. I watched it probably 20 times or more in my childhood, when it’d come on TV or etc… but I dunno it’s “OK” I don’t really hate it. Parts of it are humorous, but it feels WAY more “kiddie” than ANY of Bluth’s other films which are all decidedly dark and dramatic. This is just a humorous fun tale about a Rooster who thinks he’s Elvis.


Titan A.E.

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I watched this once, I should probably rewatch it some day to see if I like it better as an adult. I didn’t like the characters, both the animation technique and concept design of them, and just their development within the story. Many other people also dislike this film, so much so that it bankrupted the animation studio and to date has been Bluth’s last feature length animated film. I haven’t watched the film since it’s theatrical release in 2000. That was almost 20 years ago. I need to rewatch it to form a stronger opinion on it. But from my foggy memory, I’d definitely rank it as my least favorite Don Bluth film.


Don Bluth Animated Films I have not seen:

  • A Troll in Central Park
  • Bartok the Magnificent

Don Bluth also directed the video games Dragon Lair, Dragon Lair 2, and Space Ace. (all of which I have found memories of playing back in the 90s)

Also Banjo the Woodpile Cat looks very cute – it was a short film by Bluth which I have not watched yet.

Creating this list got me thinking, whatever happened to Don Bluth? I mean at least half of those films were a huge success, rivaling that of even the golden age of Disney – but then the other (more recent) half of those films were pretty much huge failures at the box office… So just what went wrong, and will we ever see another Don Bluth animated film? Was Don Bluth even still alive?

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The answer is yes. Currently they are working on an animated movie version of Dragon Lair. – I love Dragon Lair, but I sit here wondering to myself – why would I want to watch the movie, when I could play the game? A game is more of an interactive and engaging medium than a movie. And yes, the movie may bring Dragon Lair to a new audience (younger people who have never played the game, or just “non-gamers” in general regardless of age) – but still it’s kind of a head scratcher. – Good for them though. I look forward to seeing the movie when it’s released.

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Here is the very active kickstarter – the last update 13 days ago states that they are almost sold out of some of the rewards: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dragon-s-lair-returns-movie-cartoon#/updates/all

He’s also apparently opened his own “online school” for animation that will begin accepting students next year: http://www.donbluthuniversity.com/  – Unlike a lot of other schools – Don Bluth University will focus on teaching hand drawn animation, as opposed to computer generated animation.

Every Don Bluth Animated Film Ranked From Best to Worst. Top 10 Don Bluth Films. Best Don Bluth Films. Worst Don Bluth Films. Favorite Don Bluth Films was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Every Studio Ghibli Film Ranked From Best to Worst – Top 10 Studio Ghibli Films – The Best Studio Ghibli Films – The Worst Studio Ghibli Films

Much like our recent list of the best and worst Disney films, here is a list of the best and worst Studio Ghibli films. Disney owned distribution rights for awhile for several Studio Ghibli films, but I think that has since changed hands to Gkids. Many people who love Disney films also love Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli Films; after all, they have a lot in common with each other. Both studios rely mostly on making films from well known children’s literature and fairytales. Both studios have a very recognizable animation style. And both studios excel at creating stories that the whole family can enjoy together, cartoons that appeal to young and old alike.

I was surprised there’s not as many Studio Ghibli films as I would think. If you’re wondering why Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is not on this list, that’s because it’s not actually made by Studio Ghibli. This actually gives me an idea for another blog post maybe something along the lines of “10 Anime Movies You Mistake for Studio Ghibli Films.” I can think of 3 or 4 right away without much effort. Nausicaa being the biggest “WTF, Really?!” moment of the bunch. There’s also Wolf Children, My Summer with Coo, Nadia The Secret of Blue Water, and a Letter to Momo which all seem to share Studio Ghibli’s art and story styles. More recently there’s Mary and the Witch’s Flower which I’ve yet to watch but am really looking forward to because of the “Ghibli Vibe”.  Although different in style, you might also mistake other recently successful anime films such as Ko no Katachi and Kimi no Nawa as Ghibli films because when most people think of successful feature length anime films, they immediately think of Studio Ghibli.  I’m also surprised there’s still quite a few legit Studio Ghibli films which I have yet to watch – I will include those at the end of this article. As there’s only a handful of them, I plan to try to watch them and come back and edit my rankings asap.

Here are my picks for best and worst Studio Ghibli films – what are some of your favorite and least favorite Ghibli films? Leave a comment below!


Best and Worst Studio Ghibli Films:

Ponyo

Ponyo is sorta Ghibli’s Take on the whole Little Mermaid thing. It’s a very original and creative take on it, with a lot of imagination and charm. Its charm and originality are what lands it at first place on my list of favorite Ghibli films. Ponyo is a fish like creature who gets caught by a young boy, Souske, who keeps her as a pet. She begins to fall in love with her new master, and as she grows, she becomes more and more human-like. Her transformation causes an inbalance in the sea which creates a Tsunami. Ponyo and Souske must work together to save their village from the Tsunami, which also tests their love for one another, If they can find unconditional love, Ponyo will be able to remain a human with Souske, or else she must return back to the sea. – If you also love Ponyo, check out Lu over the Wall which I reviewed here. It’s very similar and also very cute!

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Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki’s Delivery Service is definitely high on my list of favorite Studio Ghibli movies. It features a strong female lead, Kiki, a young witch who is leaving home for the first time, as is customary for young witches when they “come of age” (which is at just 13 years old). Each town can only have 1 witch, and Kiki must strike out to find her own place in the world – quite literally. Taking only her father’s radio, Mother’s Broomstick, and Jiji, her black cat, she sets out on a grand adventure. She struggles at first, an allegory to how we all must struggle to find OUR place in the world. This makes the film so relateable, and the characters are so likeable, that who can’t help but to just love Kiki’s Delivery Service? – Did you know that Kiki’s Delivery Service is actually based on a book by the same name? You can grab the book over on Amazon. It’s out of print and expensive now sadly. https://www.amazon.com/Kikis-Delivery-Service-Eiko-Kadono/dp/1550377884

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Spirited Away

This is one of Studio Ghibli’s best known, and most well loved, featured films. It was the first anime to ever win an Academy Award for Best animated Feature Film. I believe to date, it’s the only Japanese anime to have ever won this award. It beat out numerous other animated films that same year including Disney and Dreamworks. It’s the highest grossing film of all time in Japan, and even beat out Titanic. In 2016 it was voted as the 4th best film of the 21st century which made it the highest animated film on the list as chosen from more than 170 film critics from around the world.

Just because something wins lots of awards though does not necessarily make it a great film — but Spirited Away does indeed fall into the category of greatness. I feel that the success of Spirited Away is due largely in part to the emotional attachment the audience develops towards the young pure hearted characters, as well as the fantasy setting, which is set in a realm of spirits that’s mysterious enough to be edgy/creepy for older kids/adults, while not terrifying like Mononoke, and attention to detail through story writing, the excellent music score, animation, and voice acting.

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When Marnie Was There

When Marnie Was There is also based on a book by the same name. https://www.amazon.com/Marnie-There-Essential-Modern-Classics-ebook/dp/B00KA11ZI0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=&dpID=51FrFUXIjEL&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=detail This Studio Ghibli adaptation rates higher for me than it does for most other people because I love my grandma so much, which made the bond that the main character shares with her own grandma overwhelmingly sweet and sentimental to me. Everyone loves their grandmas right? But mine is literally like my favorite person in the whole world. So this film really hit me right in the heart. I could watch it over and over and probably still cry each time. Love the song at the end of the credits too. I related a lot to the main character too who is always alone / lonely as I was similar to that growing up. She’s also interested in art like myself, and has a great imagination. Really, just on a personal level, out of all Ghibli films, this one is by far the most relatable to me, even though it’s still a fantasy movie about a ghost :).

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Howl’s Moving Castle

Obviously, Howl’s Moving Castle is based on the very well known series of books by the same name https://www.amazon.com/Howls-Moving-Castle-Diana-Wynne/dp/1442008431 – Though only very, very, very loosely based on this source material… In the original book, Sophie is very sarcastic and independent – She literally doesn’t give a flip about anyone or anything. In both versions they are pessimistic and feel they have no control over their fate, but in the book that quickly changes, and we witness Sophie become more responsible for her own actions and feelings. Sophie in the book also discovers pretty early on that she has magic powers. Howl in the book is a total playboy. There’s no war in the book. The villains are different too. In the book the main villain is the Witch of the Waste who is scorned by Howl rejecting her romantically and is looking to create her ideal mate by piecing together several different men, including the missing prince and Howl’s pretty face. Some find the book to be very funny, while others find it to be dry, because British humor is often very dry indeed. The idealistic love between Sophie and Howl in the film is quite different in the book. The two argue and break up and make up over and over throughout the story. The biggest difference is definitely in the titular character of Howl. In the book we see much more of Howl. Early on in the book it is difficult to like or sympathize for him as he is so vain and breaks so many hearts. But as the story unfolds, we learn the truth is that he is afraid of letting others close to him because he is in fact very sensitive and fragile and a very warm and loving person as well, and instantly we learn to not judge others, Everyone is going through their own struggles in life, and both Howl and Sophie have a lot of demons inside of themselves that they must face, which sadly is a lesson that the film doesn’t care to impart to the audience. In the film Howl instead is scarcely seen as he flies off to fight wars that don’t exist in the book. In the book, he is from modern day Wales, and has found a door to Sophie’s time and world where he has chosen to stay to study magic. This time traveling is completely omitted from the film, just as is equally omitted Sophie’s magical abilities. Instead, in Miyazaki’s version, it is Sophie who we see “time traveling” as she learns about Howl’s past. Miyazaki’s goal was to create a film that shows how love makes life worth living, while the original author’s goal was to create a story about a strong willed female mage which challenged gender and societal stereotypes. Both stories are equally charming in their own unique ways. Miyazaki’s interpretation of Howl’s Moving Castle is romantic and full of charm and innocence and still quite engaging in its storytelling and plot devices. There are some who complain that too many liberties were taken which deviated from the author’s original work, but one could also argue the same is true of Ponyo which is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid or any number of Ghibli or Disney works that are based on books before becoming films.

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Whisper of the Heart

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This is a lesser known Ghibli film based on manga of the same name about a young girl whose only passion is reading, and a young boy whose only passion is music. They are both outcasts and self isolated because they pour 100% of their time into their chosen hobbies. Both wish to drop out of school to pursue their passions full time. And neither one of them really get along with each other when the film first starts out. What I really enjoyed about this film is watching the characters change their thoughts and beliefs, about their passions, but also about how they perceive other people. They also discover they have a lot in common and both help to inspire one another to chase their dreams. Initially they view other people or other responsibilities as a hindrance, taking away time from their passions. But they learn that instead, other people add to your experiences and make life sweeter. Both characters yearn to grow up and become adults, but both are only grade/middle school students. They have a lot to learn. And as the film ends, we watch just how much they’ve matured over their summer. They learn to make time and space in their lives and hearts for other people while still each holding tightly to their dreams of their future. The original manga has not been licensed for US release. There is also a sequel manga that follows the characters as they prepare for their college entrance exams. https://mangarock.com/search?q=Mimi%20wo%20Sumaseba


Grave of the Fireflies

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This film is sad AF!!! There are some who will not like this film because of it being so sad. And also others who will not like this film simply because it portrays the real life events of the bombing of Hiroshima. Japan is the only country to have been nuked by an atomic bomb and the US the only country to have released an atomic bomb. Never again has such a weapon been used in combat because of the devastating long term and long range consequences that spring about from such frightening weaponry. This movie depicts the suffering and harsh realities of the war and subsequent bombing of Hiroshima. Obviously, war and decisions made by a country’s government, is a very politically charged issue. And many lives were lost on both sides of the war. So much suffering occurred that it’s still a tense and delicate subject to people on both sides of the war still today even in modern times. It is hard to watch this film, and even harder to see their suffering, and know that “we” (as a nation / group of nations) caused that suffering) even if it was perhaps necessary at the time of these events. It still doesn’t make you feel good realizing what you’ve unleashed. I’ve seen documentaries with actual real life footage of the victims, I’ve seen them peeling burnt flesh from survivors’ bodies using chopsticks, I’ve seen footage of their shadows burned into the walls, shadows of children playing at playgrounds, shadows of mothers trying to protect their children in their arms. But I’ve also seen movies on the other side of the issue too – Many US lives were lost in the bombing of pearl harbor; many other lives were lost around the entire world from Hitler’s atrocities, and so on. In war there is no clear cut good / bad decisions. You do what you feel you have to do to protect your country and its people, and in bombing Hiroshima, the US was trying to do just that, although it tragically resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Japanese civilians… such as the two depicted in this Studio Ghibli film… We watch them live fearfully, and with not enough food to eat, without any parents to take care of them, and we watch them suffer, fall ill, and struggle at every turn. We watch their own family and friends turn their backs on helping them and realize they have nowhere to go or turn to – an important – although equally political – message in our own modern times with issues with refugees and so on from our modern day wars. To quote the videogame Fallout “War Never Changes” – that’s why a film about a decades old war is still compelling and relevant and relatable in modern times. One of the interesting things about this film, is gaining a new perspective on the war and circumstances around the war. Sympathizing with our “enemy” and seeing just how similar we are, despite hundreds or thousands of cultural differences, at the end of the day, we each love our families, and would do anything to see to it that our families are happy, healthy, safe, and cared for. There is no way to watch this film without crying and forming an emotional connection with the characters. The ability to evoke such deep emotion is a testament to the quality of this film. It is an artful masterpiece with fantastic writing, character development, and storytelling.


Laputa Castle in the Sky

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I just watched this movie last year as part of Studio Ghibli’s and Gkids Ghibli Fest which brought many great Ghibli films to the theater – some for the first time in theaters within the US. I loved this movie. It had great action and a great love story. A lot of things in this film reminded me of my favorite Videogame, Lunar Eternal Blue which I reviewed here and cosplayed as here. Maybe it’s the girl and her pendant, her mysterious origins/past, her dramatic entrance, or the floating city in the sky, or maybe it’s the awesome epic love story. The lengths that both male characters go to in order to protect the person they love – and to help the girl they love complete her mission, or the way in which both film and game are so rich in lore and history and create a strange mashup of fantasy and technology creating a timeless story, that feels like it could take place equally conceivably in past, present, or future. Laputa Castle in the Sky is very action packed and fast moving, but yet, since it centers on these two characters and their love for one another, it can capture audiences of any age or gender.


The Cat Returns

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This is a sequel or Spin off based on Ghibli’s earlier film, Whisper of the Heart. I enjoyed Whisper of the Heart more than the Cat Returns, despite my huge massive never ending love for cats. Unlike the author’s own sequel to her manga, this story is not related to the two main characters of Whisper of the Heart, but instead focuses on the story that was inspired by the cat-like doll, nicknamed Baron as he searches for his lost love Louise, who was taken from him by Muto. Despite the name of the film, and it actually really being a sequel, the title is still slightly confusing. A better English title would have been something along the lines of “The Cat’s Reciprocation” or “The Cat Returns the Favor” but that doesn’t really have the same “ring” to it. Perhaps the perfect title should have been “The Cat’s Reply” which could not only mean to “return the favor” but also foreshadow Haru’s ability to speak with cats. Haru saves a cat one day, who wants to return the favor by offering her the prince’s hand – err paw — in marriage. Haru is flustered both by the cat’s proposal and his ability to talk. Cats around her begin acting strangely, bringing her gifts and tokens of the prince’s affection. Haru is cat-napped and taken to the world of cats where she is pampered and treated like a queen. She is given feasts and entertainment and more lavish gifts. As she begins to enjoy her time in the cat world, she begins to turn into a cat. The Baron warns Haru that she will become a real cat, and forget her human self if she does not immediately leave the cat world. The king and prince orchestrate obstacles and distractions to lengthen Haru’s stay in the cat kingdom, knowing that once she is fully a cat, she will become the Prince’s Bride. Will Haru forget her true self and live happily among the cats? Or will she escape and reclaim her place among the humans? Many people think this film is based on the Manga by the same author of Whisper of the Heart, but actually the Ghibli film came first, and the author enjoyed it so much that she made a manga based on the film – kinda neat, right? 🙂 Usually it’s the other way around.


The Secret World of Arietty

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Studio Ghibli’s “The Secret World of Arietty” is based on a popular children’s book, The Borrowers by Mary Norton. This book has entertained children for several generations. But it’s also a book (and film) that can be enjoyed by the whole family, young or old alike. My grandmother told me that it is her favorite book, she told me she first read it when my mother checked it out of the library. I too read the book when I was younger, and I also enjoyed many other film and tv adaptations and similar books and movies and tv series such as The Littles and The Indian in the Cupboard.

The Borrowers and The Secret World of Arietty give you a glimpse at a hidden world right under our noses. The Borrowers are a tiny race of miniature humans who live in our walls and gardens and live off of things we waste or take for granted. If you ever notice a button or a needle is missing, you can bet it’s been “Borrowed”. Of course the human world presents many dangers to Arietty, she must be careful to not be discovered by the humans who could capture her and keep her as a pet or science experiment. At the same time she must be aware of her surroundings at all times. She could get swept away by just a small trickle of water, or mistaken for a mouse and gobbled up by a cat, or crushed underfoot by a horse and carriage. Arietty is of course not afraid of the human world, and instead intrigued by it. She finds the human world fascinating and impossible to resist. Especially when she meets and falls in love with a human boy who is equally fascinated by Arietty’s world. The story teaches us that even though our lives may seem dull and mundane, that all it takes is a change of perspective to be reminded how wondrous life truly is.


The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Ghibli used an unusual art style in this anime, making it quite different from any of their other films. Their intention was to create an anime that looked like ancient Japanese calligraphy paintings and wall scrolls. The tale of Princess Kaguya was unfamiliar to me, but very familiar and loved in its home country of Japan where it is known as the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. This legend has been around for over 1,000 years! It is most famously presented and passed down through ancient Japanese paintings from the Edo period which is what influenced Ghibli’s character and art direction in this film.

I’m not a huge fan of the art style in the anime, and even some of the customs/traditions of the Edo period which the film accurately depicts like women painting their teeth black – SO eww. Interestingly, little has changed as I know even now it’s generally considered to be “unlady-like” for a woman or girl to smile widely thus showing her teeth. That’s why there’s two emoji’s ^.^ and ^_^ – the first one is a feminine emoji and the second is a masculine emoji. I learned that years ago when I used to chat with people all over the world and was told about my “improper” use of the “^_^” emoji. Although I still use ^_^ all the time, and I consider “^.^” to be more of a “playful” smile, sorta cattish or impish or mischievious, or maybe a smile that seems like it has a secret, a smirk or a giggle behind it, where as I feel ^_^ is just pure joy/happiness/amusement/laughter.

Anyways enough about Emoji’s – lol. The strange art style and questionable fashions/traditions of the Edo period are really the only reason this film doesn’t rank higher for me. I do agree that the film looks just like the historical paintings… but it’s just not my tastes personally… That said though, I am extremely fascinated by the story and legend behind this film.

The legend states that an old man unable to have children of his own, found Kaguya one day while cutting bamboo. When she first appeared she was only the size of his thumb, but she rapidly grew much faster than other children. The bamboo cutter took the baby to his wife, where they raised her lovingly as their own child. Ever since Kaguya appeared in their lives, every time the Bamboo cutter would go to work, he would find gold coins in the bamboo stalks and soon the family become very rich. Although initially the family wishes to protect Kaguya’s innocence and youth, it is not long before word spreads of the beautiful young woman and many princes appear to seek her hand in marriage. Kaguya tasks each prince with impossible tasks, knowing they cannot be achieved, because she wishes to remain with her family and maintain her independence. One by one each prince fails to win the hand of Kaguya. Time passes, and eventually the Emperor comes to see the beautiful Kaguya. He falls in love instantly, but Kaguya tells him they cannot be together because she is not from his country. They instead become friends and remain in correspondence. As time went on, Kaguya began acting strangely, especially on nights with a full moon. She would cry and cause her parents to worry. She later reveals to them that she is not from Earth and must return to her home on the moon. The Emperor, as well as her family, do everything they can to try to hide and protect Kaguya who does not wish to return to the Moon. Kaguya wants to remain on Earth. In the end, however, Kaguya must go back to the kingdom of the Moon and leave her beloved family and friends.

Studio Ghibli’s version of the tale differs in some areas – The Emperor in the Ghibli version is more obsessed with Kaguya and Kaguya wants absolutely none of it because she’s in love with a simple boy from her childhood whom her father deems is not of high enough rank for her hand (who never existed in the original legend). In fact she is so repulsed by the Emperor that she cries when he touches her and discovers she has a secret ability to disappear at will. These details were made up for the Ghibli version only. Also at the end of the Ghibli version, Kaguya looks back onto the earth with a longing and sad gaze, even though her robe of feathers was to strip her of all of her memories of her time spent on Earth, the look on her face implies that her feelings and attachments were so strong that she could not forget the people of Earth. – This also is made up in the Ghibli version. In the original legend, Kaguya does in fact forget everyone when she returns to the Moon. In the original legend, the Emperor is so saddened by Kaguya’s death (or disappearance whatever you want to call it) that he orders his army to climb to the top of the mountain “closest to heaven” – There he wishes to burn a letter from Kaguya in hopes that his love and feelings for her will rise with the smoke from the letter and reach her on the moon. He also wanted to burn the elixir of immortality that Kaguya left him because he did not want to live forever without Kaguya by his side. Wikipedia states that the Japanese word for immortality “Fushi” is what Mt. Fuji’s name was derived from. And that the kanji characters for the mountain mean “Mountain abounding with warriors” which is said to denote the Emperor’s army who burnt the letter. The legend also says that the smoke from the letter still rises today (when the legend was created, Mt Fuji was an active volcano and hence produced smoke). I think the original legend makes for a very beautiful unrequited love story, where in Ghibli’s version the Emperor is the main villain whose appearance is what drives Kaguya to pray to the moon for help, after which her people come to “rescue” her from the Emperor. Quite a different take on the tale. I know Japan’s long history and traditions with their Emperor’s being near godlike status, so it’s odd to see a film from Japan depict in Emperor as a villainous character, especially given that in the original tale he was so pure and chivalrous and so in platonic unrequited love / mutual friendship with Kaguya throughout much of their lives.

I can’t remember where I read it now, (I’ve tried searching) but I read a few years ago that there are many scholars who believe that the legend of the Swan Princess / the Swan Lake Ballet is derived from the much older Legend of Kaguya. The main themes are very similar. This wikipedia article gives you a glimpse at the “Legend” of the Swan Princess The “Legend” is apparently much older than the ballet itself.

Here are a few of the similarities:

In these “Swan Maiden” tales, an unmarried man steals a robe of swan feathers from a woman in order to keep her from “flying away” – The maiden then bears children by this man. At some point the children come across the robe their father has hidden, or they ask their mother why she is always crying and go find the robe for her. As soon as she is given her robe she ascends to heaven without any hesitation or thought or attachment for her family or life as a human. Regarding those she leaves behind, wikipedia says this: “Although the children may grieve her, she does not take them with her. If the husband is able to find her again, it is an arduous quest, and often the impossibility is clear enough so that he does not even try.”

Kaguya is pursued by many unmarried men. She is given her robe of feathers when she ascends to the moon, and thus this ascending into the sky, can also be like “flying away”

Kaguya begins crying “always” uncontrollably near the end of her tale and her family always asks her what’s wrong / show concern for her.

Kaguya is given a robe of feathers which allows her to forget her time with her human family and friends so that she has no attachment or regrets leaving them (obviously Ghibli changed this part with one final glance back to Earth from their version of Princess Kaguya)

Kaguya’s family does grieve her but she cannot take them with her.

Kaguya tasks her “would-be” husbands with impossible quests – Even the Emperor himself cannot win Kaguya’s hand. After her disappearance, he sets out on his own arduous quest in the legend which would become the legend and folklore around Mount Fuji. 

The wikipedia article also states that “The swan maiden has appeared in numerous items of fiction, including the ballet Swan Lake, in which a young princess, Odette and her maidens are under the spell of an evil sorcerer, Von Rothbart, transforming them into swans by day. By night, they regain their human forms and can only be rescued if a young man swears eternal love and faithfulness to the Princess. When Prince Siegfried swears his love for Odette, the spell can be broken, but Siegfried is tricked into declaring his love for Von Rothbart’s daughter, Odile, disguised by magic as Odette, and all seems lost. But the spell is finally broken when Siegfried and Odette drown themselves in a lake of tears, uniting them in death for all eternity. While the ballet’s revival of 1895 depicted the swan-maidens as mortal women cursed to turn into swans, the original libretto of 1877 depicted them as true swan-maidens: fairies who could transform into swans at will.”

Kaguya has a special relationship to the Moon (symbol of the night).

The Emperor loved Kaguya (not as apparent in the Ghibli film, but VERY apparent in the original legend where he burns the letter and the elixir of life.)

In burning the elixir of life, he gives up immortality so that he can (one day) rejoin Kaguya in death.  

The Lake of Tears could signify how the Emperor wept for Kaguya (or in Ghibli’s case how her parents wept for her). 

The ability to transform into swans at will could be inspired by Kaguya’s ability to disappear at will. 

There is another tale from Japan with themes similar to Princess Kaguya, Tsuru no Ongaeshi, or the Crane Wife, about a crane who is caught in a trap. She is set free by an elderly couple and to repay their kindness she arrives as a human child, claiming to be lost. She asks them if they would take care of her as their own daughter, and the elderly couple happily agrees. To repay them for their kindness she begins to weave beautiful fabrics which she makes by plucking her own feathers. The fabrics sell for a lot of money and make the family very wealthy. She warns them they must never look in the room as she weaves. But overtime, curiosity overcomes the couple and they steal a glimpse only to find a crane and not a human in the room. With her identity revealed, she tells the couple she had hoped to always  remain their daughter, but she must now return to being a crane. In other versions of this legend, it is not a couple, but a young man who saves the crane disguised as a human. The two soon fall in love. In some versions he is sick and so the crane plucks her own feathers to make the fabric to sell for money to get medicine to save her husband. In other versions the husband is alive and well, but the crane becomes increasingly ill as she continues to pluck her feathers. As she plucks her last feather she must return to being a crane and leave her husband behind as the husband vows he will never forget her.

(source: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsuru_no_Ongaeshi)

The legend of Kaguya predates the legend of Tsuru no Ongaeshi. You can already see how the folk lore was shifting but still similar to the original tale of Kaguya. From here, the similarities between Kaguya and Swan’s lake are even more apparent.

Obviously both Swan Lake and Tsuru no Ongaeshi feature a bird who has turned human.

Swan Lake’s maiden has lost a robe of feathers, while the Crane Wife has lost her feathers while making robes.

In relation to Kaguya, Once their true identities are uncovered they both must return to their former selves/worlds.

Also in relation to Kaguya, the main character is raised by or falls in love with humans – she then asks them to raise her as their own child. When she is leaving she tells them she never wanted to leave and always wanted to remain their child, but that she has no choice now. In the version with the husband, his vow of never forgetting her, could be similar to the Emperor’s love for Kaguya in the original legend and the lengths he went to even after her death or disappearance to prove his love and rejoin her in death.

As you can see, I had the most to say about Kaguya, despite it not being my favorite Ghibli film, but because of the interesting ancient legend on which it, and many other fairy tales, are based. The Legend of Kaguya predates all other tellings of similar nature which makes it even more interesting from a historical point of view.


Princess Mononoke

I dunno, Princess Mononoke honestly scares the hell out of me… Even looking at this gif scares the hell out of me… This movie is so unsettling… and it’s even “worse” dubbed – because then the lip syncing is all off and then it’s just even more eerie AF…. I think Princess Mononoke definitely has a good story… and it is no doubt beautiful…. and probably Ghibli’s most successful / well known film – I own it, I “like” it (even though it honestly gives me nightmares) – but damn son…. this movie just ain’t right lol…. Am I the only one that finds this movie just INHERENTLY creepy? It’s not even the infamously excessive amounts of blood and violence… it’s little things like this creepy-ass mother bugger right here….

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Only Yesterday

I thought this was a little bit of a bore. I generally love slice of life and romance films. I’m not sure why this one missed the mark for me. The story is told by a middle aged woman as she looks back on her childhood / early adulthood and reminisces about summers and her first love. Even though the majority of the film felt a little slow – I really really really really REALLY loved the later parts of the film — Especially the ending — One of the most memorable endings of any Ghibli film — or any film — ever. So good. I think overall though, the story suffers from some pacing issues and the constant back and forth from memories/present day. There are cute parts, sweet parts, dramatic parts, but in some ways it just felt like it dragged and droned on and on… That ending though… so emotional!! Loved it.

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My Neighbor Totoro

If you care to read more about My Neighbor Totoro – I did a review after attending the Gkids theatrical release last year. Read my Review of My Neighbor Totoro here.

As for how it ranks against other Ghibli films… Sorry Totoro – cute as you may be – and having owned the film as a kid, and seeing it again recently in theaters – I still love you for how cute you are, and the memorable characters – dust bunnies, cat bus, Totoro himself — but Totoro there’s just one problem, there’s just not much really happening in your film. One interesting theory suggests that the girls are actually dead, and that Totoro is a Shinigami (a spirit that only children can see which will guide them to the afeterlife. A sort of Grim Reaper that usually takes the form of animals or stuffed toys etc) – I think this theory could be plausible. And it would definitely make the movie a bit more interesting. Like Princess Mononoke, parts of Totoro are (perhaps unintentionally) Creepy AF!!… Also after seeing it in the theaters – Catbus has balls… just saying…. WTF? lol. XD Nothing like sitting in one of the front rows and seeing huge Catbus balls in my face as he leaps through the sky. – I have heard that Pompoko also features cute characters with huge balls lol. (though I haven’t seen it yet). Anyways, despite Totoro being the iconic mascot of Ghibli, basically equivalent to Mickey Mouse for Disney, the movie just isn’t that great. I love it for the heartwarming sweet characters, but yeah that’s about it. And the juxtaposition between the beginning and 2nd half of the film, is just kinda creepy. (although admittedly, that’s when things pick up rapidly and get more interesting.)

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From Up on Poppy Hill

This film is absolutely beautiful to look at (Just look at the ambience in the gif below, how it perfectly captures the glow of the street lights and sunset) — But that’s about the only nice thing I can say about this film. I found it to be the most boring Ghibli film of all time. — But actually after reading Wikipedia to refresh my memory of this film (I only watched it once, and years ago) — I dunno – the plot sounds interesting to me; I may give this one another watch. The only thing I remembered from the film was the children trying to save their school and club house – which I think took up 90% of the film – and this part was boring to me, watching them clean and repair the building – etc. It just felt dull. I never felt like I cared about any of the characters, and therefore also never cared about their school or club house… But after reading Wikipedia it seems I missed the point of the film, which is a complicated love story. The two below fall in love, but find out that they may be siblings. I won’t say if they actually are – Wikipedia can give you that answer if you’re curious – Anyways the two struggle – first avoiding each other, then trying to remain “just friends” because of their situation – and then deciding that even despite their situation that they will embrace their feelings for each other. Another wiki dedicated to all things Ghibli says that the two also learn the “full story of how their parents met, loved, and lived”. This piques my interest even though after reading wikipedia I now know all of the details and don’t really need to watch the film – I still may rewatch this – and if need be, adjust my rankings of it because the drama honestly sounds like it’d be right up my alley, and that animation is just so pretty.

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Ocean Waves

Well here is my least favorite Ghibli film… I hate it for one reason – The main girl is a total B-… She has NO redeeming qualities, NO remorse for her actions, and she does NOT change her ways or grow as a person at all. She remains this same horrible terrible crazy B– of a person…. But yet the main character falls in love with her and basically bends over backwards, throwing money and time and his emotions etc at this girl… and for what reason? But I know sometimes love and life are like this. Sometimes nice people get sucked in by people like this. Or sometimes love is just so unexplainable and inexplicable that we don’t really know WHY we love some one… Clearly she has no qualities that should make anyone love her. She is manipulative, cold, greedy, and just crazy. I can’t stand her… I want to scream and shake the main character’s shoulders like hey wake up, this girl is not good for you!!… But nope, in the end, they get their “happy ever after” – Man, way to romanticize abusive relationships. Domestic, Emotional, and Verbal abuse does not deserve to be twisted into some grand fantasy romance like this… I just can’t get on board with the characters in this film… They may be the most realistic and adult like of any Ghibli characters…. but I can’t believe how she treats him. Begging / Stealing money, Playing Victim all the Time, Dragging him and parading him like a trophy in front of your friends, Then turning your back on him, etc…. We do see that she is ostrichsized by her classmates too near the end for her behavior being called to light — and I get that the main character is Mr. Nice Guy and feels bad because suddenly she has no friends and everything… And he is also in a similar situation because of rumors that she and her friends started after their trip… but dang… I dunno he’s just TOO nice to her. She really doesn’t deserve someone as good as him. And it makes me mad. LOL. — I guess it’s still an interesting film… I definitely remember it and feel very very strongly about it… so there’s that at least… The movie and the characters are unique… and memorable… just not in a good way LOL.

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Studio Ghibli Films I have yet to watch – In no particular order:

  • Porco Rosso
  • Pom Poko
  • My Neighbors the Yamadas
  • Tales from Earthsea
  • The Wind Rises

Every Studio Ghibli Film Ranked From Best to Worst – Top 10 Studio Ghibli Films – The Best Studio Ghibli Films – The Worst Studio Ghibli Films was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Viz Neko Atsume Kitty Collector Haiku Seasons of the Kitty Book Review

I received this book for free in exchange for a review. Thoughts and Opinions are my own.

Neko Atsume is a popular idle clicker style mobile game where you leave food out and close the app, and open the app later to find different kitties have come to your garden to sample your food. The object of the game is to “collect” all the different kitties who will come and go in and out of your garden and do various cute things on your screen. The simplistic artwork and simplistic gameplay launched this mobile app to stardom levels with over 50 million users around the world having installed the app.

The success of the mobile game spawned a whole franchise of toys, home goods, pet products, even a live action movie. So it’s no surprise there are new activity books by Viz featuring the cute kitties! The first book I will review is Neko Atsume Kitty Collector Haiku Seasons of the Kitty. As the name suggests, it’s a cute collection of poems with illustrations featuring the collectible cats of the Neko Atsume mobile game. There’s also stickers in the book that let you keep track of your kitty collection and personalize it with names and other details. See the stickers below:

A Haiku is a type of Japanese Poem that features 3 “phrases” with a rhythm that’s defined by the syllables in each phrase. The first phrase will have 5 syllables, the next will have 7, and the final phrase will have 5 again. Thus creating a rhythm of 5, 7, 5. Many Haiku create a relationship between two objects and focus on observing everyday objects and occurrences. Many Haiku also focus on seasons, so it’s quite fitting that this book Neko Atsume Kitty Collector Haiku Seasons of the Kitty breaks the book into short chapters each featuring a collection of Haiku showing us what the kitties are doing in each of the four seasons. In spring we see them playing with flowers or napping in the sun, in winter we see them playing with Christmas decorations. There are also some Haiku in the book which don’t seem to reflect a season at all, such as kitties hiding in tunnels or playing with toys, kitties just being kitties, which they do year round. Neko Atsume Kitty Collector Haiku Season of the Kitty features over 100 full color pages sure to charm you and brighten your day.

Neko Atsume Haikus

Neko Atsume Haikus

My favorite Haiku in Neko Atsume Kitty Collector features a kitty begging for more meat treats. I love this one because my own kitties always beg for treats. I joke that my kitties need an intervention, they are like treat-addicts. So reading this haiku and seeing the simple illustration warmed my heart because I immediately thought of my own kitties in real life. In fact, at several points in the book I was thinking “That’s just like my cats!” This book is definitely for cat lovers! In fact, it’s so cute and would make a great gift for any cat lover — even if they’ve never played Neko Atsume.

It could also be a great book to teach young kids about Haikus. You can have fun showing young kids this book, counting together with them as you read each line of the Haiku, and enjoying the cute and funny artwork and seeing what the kitties are up to in each Haiku.

My only complaint with the book is that some of the Haiku feel a little forced to fit the rhyme scheme, with random “meows” thrown in it feels like at times just to match the syllable formula of the haiku. Regardless of this small complaint, the book is so cute and charming that I’ve already read it front to back and re-read my favorite Haikus again and again. Reading these little poems is so relaxing – just like the relaxing gameplay of the Neko Atsume mobile game that started it all.

Once anyone reads this cute collection of poetry, they won’t be able to resist catching Neko Atsume fever and delving into playing the game or collecting the toys and other related merchandise.

If you’re looking for a great gift for a cat lover, or just looking to feed your own collection of Neko Atsume Goodies, be sure to pick up a copy of Neko Atsume Kitty Collector Haiku Seasons of the Kitty today. For just $10.99, it would make the perfect gift for that cat lover in your life, or maybe that cat lover is you! 🙂 Curl up with a nice cup of tea and kitty in your lap and enjoy the cute illustrations and see what mischief the kitties in the book get up to each season.

You can bring the kitties home for yourself on March 13, 2018!

You can buy Neko Atsume Kitty Collector Haiku Seasons of the Kitty at any of the following retailers:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

Rightstuf

*It looks like Rightstuf is selling the book ahead of the other retailers, and for a bit cheaper too (currently “in stock” and just $8.24 at time of this posting)

Viz Neko Atsume Kitty Collector Haiku Seasons of the Kitty Book Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

62 Disney Animated Feature Length Films Ranked From Best to Worst – An Otaku’s Take On the Best and Worst Animated Disney Films – Disney Films Ranked From Best to Worst. Top 10 Disney Films

I’ve seen a lot of lists like this out there on the internet which try to rank from Best to Worst, or Worst to Best, the Best (and worst) Walt Disney Animated Films of all time. So here’s my take on the old classic “Top 10” (way more than 10 lol) Disney Films.

*For brevity’s sake, sequels and prequels are not included individually in this listing. When ranking for example “Cars”, I refer to the franchise as a whole, giving most focus to the first film but perhaps giving reference or mention to some of the sequels as well.*

Also for this review I have chosen to not include any of the Studio Ghibli films. I will create a similar list ranking those films in the near future. As well as seperate lists for Dreamworks, Don Bluth, and Warner Bros animated film.

Lastly, I have not seen every single Disney film (though I’ve seen probably over 80% of them). Any films I have not seen, will not be ranked, but instead included in an unranked list at the end of this article.

Collections of short films such as The Three Caballeros and Make Mine Music were not included in either of these lists. I’ve also omitted Disney films which combined animation with live action such as Bed Knobs and Broom Sticks, Mary Poppins, Pete’s Dragon, James and the Giant Peach, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, So Dear to My Heart, and Song of the South.

What are some of your favorite Disney Films? Leave a comment below.

Here’s how I would rank every Disney Film – I’ll start with the Best so you don’t have to scroll too much. ❤

62 Disney Animated Feature Length Films Ranked From Best to Worst:


1.) The Lion King

It is true (though Disney denies it) that this film completely ripped off an anime called Kimba the White Lion. Yes, they took everything from this film, the Lions, Zazu, the hyenas, even Simba and Kimba’s father speaking to them in the clouds, and even Scar! Complete with the scar over his eye and everything. — Yup, totally infringed on someone’s intellectual property rights… but still… The Lion King is my favorite Disney film… They took Kimba and made it about a million times better (that doesn’t make what they did “right” or “ok” Clearly, Kimba’s creators should have been paid some royalty fees). But Disney was able to take an already great family story and make it even better. Better animation, better acting, better music, and a better story, because they condensed down a TV series into a movie format, cutting out a lot of filler episodes, while hitting the emotional highlights.

If you want to learn more about what Disney did to Kimba, check out the videos below (not my videos, just sharing them with you):


2.) Beauty and the Beast

A tale as old as time, Beauty and the Beast is my 2nd favorite Disney film. It features a smart, bookworm heroine, who risks her life and freedom to save her father. It also is a great romance story, in which both the leading lady and leading male must learn to look past the surface to find true love. Don’t judge a book by the cover. If someone can love a beast, and the beast can finally learn to love someone for their mind/heart and not what’s on the outside, that love can do anything. It’s very romantic, and also parts of it are dark and frightening. Like all Disney films, it has great music, and the recent Live Action Musical adaptation is also fantastic! One of my favorite things about Beauty and the Beast is the imagery, all of the characters, and the beautiful setting. I just ordered a dress which has a beautiful stained glass print featuring the beauty and the beast.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01A0G0S14/


3.) The Little Mermaid

I will always prefer the 1975 anime version of Hans Christian Andersen’s the Little Mermaid, because at the end she turns to sea foam. There is no happy ending. But sometimes with a love story, that’s OK and it makes it more dramatic. Almost any film can make me laugh, but it takes a very special film to make me cry. The 1975 anime version is also a more faithful adaptation of the original story.  In the original fairy-tale, the mermaid is given one last chance for a happy ending. Her prince has already wed another woman, but the mermaid is told by her sisters that if she uses a magic poisoned dagger to kill the prince and his new wife, she can return back home to her father and sisters and live as a mermaid once again. Unable to bear the thought of hurting her true love, she chooses instead to wish him and his new wife a happy life together, and as the sun rises, she turns to sea foam, sacrificing her life and happiness in exchange for his.

Disney takes this sad tragic love story, and puts a cutesy Disney spin on it. Although the two films are very different, they are both great in their own rights. I love the side characters, music, and animation of the Disney version of the Little Mermaid. It’s also nice to imagine a happy ending once in awhile :).

If you have yet to see the anime version, Amazon is selling it for about $10. Click the image below to check it out. https://www.amazon.com/…

Image result for Toei Animation Little Mermaid


4.) The Good Dinosaur

Speaking of films that can make me cry… I balled like a baby (at several different scenes) in the theater when I went to see The Good Dinosaur. It’s a touching story about a dinosaur trying to get back home to his family. Similar in some ways to my childhood favorite, The Land before Time. Disney’s The Good Dinosaur is a heart touching film with beautiful and cute 3D animation. The scene with the fireflies is my favorite. The goofy looking characters, with their innocent designs, totally deceive you into thinking this is a funny or cute film. I was not prepared for how heart stirring it was going to be. It’s also very dramatic and full of suspense and twists and turns and surprises. That’s why it’s in my top 5 Disney films of all time.

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5.) Monster’s Inc.

Finishing out my top 5 favorite Disney Films is Monster’s Inc. This movie is full of charming and cute characters. It is equally funny and touching. A very heart warming movie. Boo, Mike, and Sully are some of the best original characters Disney has ever designed. Monsters Inc is quite possibly the cutest disney movie of all time. The sequels were also cute, though of course, not as good as the original.

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6.) Finding Nemo / Finding Dory

I actually saw Finding Dory first, before Finding Nemo, somehow I missed out on Nemo, even though it was very popular with millennials. According to this chart being born in 1981, I could consider myself a Millennial, or a Gen Y, or Gen Next (never even heard of that one). So Nemo seems to be THE Disney movie of my generation… but I actually didn’t see it when it premiered in 2003. I wouldn’t see it for over 12 years after that, but yet, this film proves to have held up to the tests of time. It was just as enjoyable, new, fresh, charming, and heart warming to me as it was to the millions of fans it earned at release. I loved Dory, especially baby Dory. She might be my favorite Disney character ever. So for that reason, I actually enjoyed Finding Dory more than Finding Nemo. Both films are funny and beautifully animated, and tell a heart warming story about the meaning of family.


7.) Up

Disney’s Up is such a sad, touching, beautiful film about true love and loss, and growing up, and growing old together, and a story of adventure and excitement, and to never ever give up on your dreams. It’s a remarkable story. Storywise alone, it’s probably my favorite story from any Disney film. There’s no way to watch this movie and not cry. Out of all of the Disney films in our list, this one feels the most mature and grown up. Its tone is darker and sadder and more thought provoking than most Disney films. And then there’s that Disney charm and humor, with Doug the talking dog and other minor characters. The message behind Disney’s Up is so “Up”lifting. This is a movie full of heart and emotion.


8.) Aladdin

Aladdin is one of the first Disney films I can remember seeing in theaters. Don’t get me wrong, I’d seen others, I know I saw 101 Dalmatians and Rescuers and other older films before this one. In fact one of the first movies I ever saw in a theater is Disney’s Snow White, and I am told it scared me until I cried lol. But my memories of seeing this one as opposed to the rest are crystal clear. And it may be that nostalgia that plays a part in how highly I rank Disney’s Aladdin on my list. I recall who I was with (my mom and best friend and her mom and brother), I can recall all of the characters, music, animation… Robin Williams as the genie, such a classic film. One of the great masterpieces of my childhood.


9.) The Nightmare Before Christmas

This is not just one of my favorite Disney films, but one of my favorite films from any studio, animated, or otherwise, of all time. I love the music, the characters, and I love Halloween. It has always been one of my favorite holidays. I also love other Tim burton films, such as beetle juice, the corpse bride, and Edward scissor hands to name a few. His stories are always so unique and I’m surprised and intrigued in how he can take a macabre subject and put a comic spin on it, and make it even a family film, such as the Nightmare Before Christmas.


10.) Frozen

This is another one of those Disney “fan favorites” that I missed at its initial release. I actually just watched Frozen for the first time a few months ago and even though I’m older than the majority of the Frozen fans, I totally agree that it is one of the best Disney films of all time. It finishes out in the final Top 10 spot on my list. I loved the story and the characters. My favorite thing was seeing how the characters changed and grew through the film. Initially Elsa is the more friendly outgoing bubbly type, but events occur which change her to isolated and aloof. Anna had been more shy, but as she grew with freedoms that Elsa lacked, she developed a natural curiosity for the world and a strong sense of adventure. Elsa struggles with the responsibilities placed on her young shoulders. Finally she can be free, and this is even highlighted in the lyrics to the very popular well known song, in which Elsa climbs the stairs of her ice castle barricading herself off from the outside world so that she can finally be her TRUE self. It’s a story about accepting and loving yourself, accepting and loving others, and having courage to be different or come to terms with those differences and individualizes. The film is often championed by the LGBT community and there are rumors that the sequel will feature a lesbian love interest for Elsa, marking the first time a Disney feature length animated film will have a gay or lesbian main character. This is controversial and a departure from the family values Disney has always tried to champion. However, in modern times, what makes a family is changing, and Disney too is changing to reflect more modern values. In this story, Elsa and Anna must rely on themselves and each other. The “prince” even betrays them and acts as the central villain in pushing the plot forward. This is a strong film featuring themes of independence and courage. It’s also charming and full of excitement as most Disney films are. The side characters such as sven and olaf are hilarious and cute. There are many people who love to hate on this film. But hating on something just because it’s popular is dumb. Sometimes that popularity is well deserved. While it’s not the best Disney film of all time, it still cinches the final spot on the “Top 10” list.

Disney’s frozen was supposedly loosely based on Han’s Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, though a number of liberties were taken.

If you’re interested in reading the original tale, you can read it for free here: http://hca.gilead.org.il/snow_que.html 

You can also find over 170 variations of this tale on Amazon.

Image result for hans christian andersen snow queen

This one has the best ratings and reviews because of its illustrations by an award winning Ukranian artist: http://amzn.to/2Fgq4kw

This one has the original illustrations from hundreds of years ago: http://amzn.to/2CvQHPA

There’s also an anime based on the Snow Queen from 2005 https://www.anime-planet.com/anime/snow-queen-the

In the original tale it was a boy and girl, who were friends, not siblings. The main plot centered around a magic mirror that broke and a shard went into one of their eyes distorting their view of the world and changing their outlook/personality. The other character sets off on a journey to try to remove the shard from her friend’s eye and restore his kind heart. At the end of her journey, about to give up, the gods tell her that she already has everything she needs to save the young boy, and that her true power has always already existed within herself.

The only similarity at all in the tales is that they are set in a snowy place, and at the end, the characters are glad to see that it is finally summer again.

Alternatively there have been 2 legal allegations raised that Disney has once again stolen this story from another creator.

The first of which is some incredibly obscure Peruvian author that almost no one has ever heard of, who says that Frozen is based on memoirs she had published about her own life. The memoirs,  “Living My Truth” and “Yearnings of the Heart”, by Isabella Tanikumi. The guardian reports that “Both the memoirs and Frozen feature loving sisters, one of whom causes the other to be injured and then hides herself away from public life through shame.” They go on to report that “One of the sisters has suitors named Hans and Cristoff in the memoirs; in Frozen Anna develops romantic attachments to men named Hans and Kristoff.”  That seems like more than just a coincidence to me… The judge however ruled that these claims were too “generic” – I don’t agree with that ruling because it even lists specific names and characters – that’s pretty “specific” right there – which is the very opposite of something being “generic”, but hey this is Disney, they can get out of almost anything – but then again who’s to say that this author isn’t just looking to make a grab at Disney’s money since this is the best selling Disney film of all time.

The other lawsuit alleges that Disney once again turned to Japan for inspiration and cites numerous similarities between Frozen and the 1980s anime Saint Seiya. The similarities here include similarities between Elsa and Anna and the 2 Saint Characters (who are also sisters), Hilda and Freya. In both cases, the younger sibling has no magical powers and wishes to save her older sister and her kingdom. The older sister wields magic powers that controls snow and ice. Both of the older sisters used to be kind, until their personalities suddenly change.

But you know what they say, every idea you will ever have, someone else has had that exact same idea already. It’s all about who can execute their ideas. And there are no original ideas left in the world, and so on… So meh, at the end of the day, we may never know if Disney blatantly copied anything from either of these 2 sources…


11.) Cars

Walt Disney’s Cars just barely misses a spot on our “list of the top 10 Disney movies”. I remember an old commercial (not related to CARS, I believe it was for Exxon Edit: It was actually for Chevron) where the cars all had happy faces and could talk, etc. It was something about how their fuel made your cars happy. I believe this came out well before the first CARS movie… But the concept was charming and cute. I don’t know if Pixar made these commercials, or has ever seen these commercials, or perhaps felt inspired by the commercials… but the similarities to the characters in Cars is quite apparent.

The story in CARS is as unique as its characters. It’s also one of the first Disney films to be marketed to young boys – no princesses here! *although there’s still love interests*. The charming and unique characters make this one of the most memorable Disney films of all time.


12.) Fluppy Dogs

Although never released in theaters, Disney’s Fluppy Dogs is a feature length animated film, and was a favorite of mine as a child. It was originally intended to be a pilot for a new TV series; however, the pilot was poorly received leading to the TV show’s cancellation before it ever began production. I’m unsure why it was so poorly received and had such low ratings. I friggin love this film. It is utterly adorable. The film is about a gang of alien dogs with sentient and super hero powers. The dogs travel between worlds with a magical key, until one day they arrive on Earth and are captured by animal control. One of the Fluppy Dogs is adopted by a young boy and they begin a journey together to rescue the others.


13.) Toy Story

This is another childhood favorite of mine. As a child, we’ve all day dreamed about our toys coming to life. And with the powers of every young child’s imagination, their toys come to life in their minds. But what happens when no one’s watching. These films depict the love children have for their toys, and suggests that that same love is returned to them in the hearts and minds of their toys. Such a classic movie with a sweet and innocent theme and memorable characters. Who did you like best? I preferred Buzz over Woody. I also loved Rex and Slinky and the potato heads. The claw machine scene and characters are also super cute. The bad toys are creepy AF though.


14.) Moana

One of the better “newer” Disney films, I loved the imagery of the tropical islands. I love the use of mythology and the strong female lead. Watching this fills me with a sense of excitement, wanderlust, and adventure, the same as Moana herself is so full of. The imagery inspires the viewer to want to go on a journey too with the stars, and ocean waves, the big boats, the volcanic monsters, and mother earth goddess, cute animal sidekicks and the prideful gods. At the heart of the story, for Moana it is a coming of age tale, finding and exerting her independence, sometimes when that means going against her overprotective parents and guardians. They have plans for Moana to take over her father’s position, but Moana longs to leave the island like her ancestors millions of years ago. From Maui’s perspective, the lesson is a warning against being prideful, and a lesson to not avoid your responsibilities, that you must face your challenges head on, and accept responsibility for the consequences. Although, Moana herself is very strong and independent, the film is criticized by the natives as lacking depiction of any of the strong female goddessess that Polynesian lore and culture are surrounded by. For example, there is a goddess named Hina who is companion to Maui, but Disney decided to not depict her in this film, or any of the other gods, except for the “mother earth” type figure at the very end. Disney claims they wanted Moana to be a film all about “girl power” but yet, Moana is the only girl we see much of. And the film almost had a very different ending, putting Maui as the main hero in the final act saving Moana and her village. Ouch. Glad they went with the ending they did, as it is one of the most memorable and touching endings of any Disney film to date. I also love the music. The song Moana sings about her destiny calling her is one of my fave Disney songs ever.


15.) Zootopia

I am not a furrie, though I sometimes play as one in various chat games. In fact, I met my first ever boyfriend in such a game when I was a teenager playing Furcadia back in the 90s. This is really only the 2nd feature length Disney Film that really targets furries; with the first film being Robin Hood. I know a little bit about Furrie culture and I think the artwork and fursuits are awesome. This Disney film was unique not only for the use of anthropomorphic animals, but also for how it dealt with very adult topics such as racial and social-political issues of our times. I agreed 100% with the political message it was sending, but I still felt it was too heavy handed and trying to cram those political beliefs down the audience’s throats, which I didn’t really enjoy. It was clear that the stereotypes and fear the other animals felt for the fox people was an allegory to the fear and stereotypes that the majority of the United States feels towards Muslims. Politics aside though, this is a super cute film. My favorite characters were the sloths! They were so cute/funny. It’s also a good movie for young girls, showing that if you work hard enough you can achieve your dreams, just like the bunny who finally became a real police officer, even though no one thought a small young girl from the country could handle being a tough city cop. She was an excellent role model for young girls. And it was far less predictable than most Disney films. I was surprised who the true villain ended up being in the end. This too goes to show you the importance of not judging others on outward appearances.


16.) Lady and the Tramp

This was one of my favorite Disney films from my early childhood. It’s such a classic. The cute doggies, the scene with the spaghetti, the naughty siamese cats, the whole thing is just adorable. That’s really all there is to say. A love story and an adventure story where cute dogs do cute things.

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17.) Wreck it Ralph

As my readers know by now, I am a gamer girl — and one who has probably played more games than most boys you know even. From Atari, NES, SNES, Genesis, Sega CD, 32X, N64, Saturn, Dreamcast, PS1, PS2, PS3, PS4, Gamecube, Wii, Wii U, Xbox, 360, Gamegear, Gameboy (various iterations), Virtual Boy, NDS, 3DS, PSP, Vita, PC and more… so a Disney film about gaming? Of course I loved it!! The gaming references, “level designs” that Ralph traveled to, and the cute interactions between the two main characters, this film really stood out to me. I recommend it to all gamers, especially retro gamers who will pick up most of the nostalgic references throughout the film.


18.) Brother Bear

This is another one of those movies that I missed when it was first released, but later watched on Netflix. I had not even heard of this film prior to then. I think it may be one of the most under-rated Disney films of all time. It’s about a native american tribe, especially focusing on 3 brothers. When one brother is killed by a bear, another brother seeks revenge by killing the bear who killed his brother. Ultimately, when it is time to discover their totem animals, this brother is transformed into a bear and flees from his village. He then encounters a young cub, who has no mother. The bears are migrating and meeting together. He helps the young cub make the difficult journey and learns about himself, as well as learns to respect nature and understand the balance between humans and animals.


19.) Brave

If you’re looking for a strong female lead, Brave should be the first Disney film that comes to mind. This little lady lives up to the title of this film. Her kingdom is cursed which causes her mother and brothers to turn into bears. The end of the film is definitely an emotional and suspenseful tear jerker.


20.) Mars Needs Moms

I saw this in theaters. I think not many people are familiar with this film. I loved it. I was very touched by how much the boy loved his mother. It’s so emotional and sweet. It got terrible reviews from fans and critics alike, but I really enjoyed it and found it both engaging and uplifting. A very heartwarming story. Financially, it is the worst performing Disney film of all time. The film cost $150 million to make, and only earned $39 million at the box office. I agree with the critic and audience movie goers who commented on the ugly / poor animation techniques – but I disagree 100% when they say this film lacks heart or that it neglected story telling. I completely connected with the characters and felt their love and fear and hope and strength as the story unfolded. It is based on a best-selling book by Berkely Breathed. You can get the book on amazon at http://amzn.to/2EQL1Vy


21.) Inside Out

This is a cute and emotionally powerful film. The story revolves around a happy “good girl” who is having trouble adjusting to her emotions as she grows up and moves to a new home. She has to leave her friends and old life behind and is struggling to make new friends and adjust to her new life in her new home. She is so overwhelmed that she completely shuts down. In her mind, her emotions go haywire. Her long term memories begin to fade away, and all that is left is an empty emotionless shell. Her emotions must work together inside her mind to recover her longterm memories. Some memories are lost forever, but new memories are also made. In this way, she grows up and finds new happiness and new balance in her life and emotions.


22.) Tangled

Tangled is a very unique twist on the classic story of Rapunzel. It is full of romance, adventure, charm, and humor. It also has some of the best Disney music ever. Check out this Acapella cover of I see the light by Peter and Evynne Hollens on youtube.

They also have another version with piano accompaniment here:


23.) Bolt

Bolt is a very cute adventure film about a dog that is in show business. He is confused and thinks that everything that happens on the TV show is actually really happening which has made him a bit narcissistic and has led him to believe he has real super powers. In the end, Bolt learns that you don’t need real super powers to be a hero.


24.) Lilo and Stitch

I had also missed this one in theaters and discovered it later. It is widely popular with 20-30 year old Disney fans, and even the creators of the film admit that Lilo and Stitch appeals to older audiences more effectively than previous attempts to do so, such as the Emperor’s New Groove, Treasure Planet, and Atlantis. Stitch was actually thought up in 1985, when its creator was trying to pitch an unsuccessful children’s story book. Originally Stitch was going to be set in Kansas, but the decision was made to move the setting to Hawaii. It was the first Disney film to be set in Hawaii, and it also features a strong ethnically diverse female lead who doesn’t need a Prince to save her. Stitch is cute and mischievous and sometimes even violent. The original film was much more violent, but due to both audience testing and also the terrorist attacks of 9/11, several changes were made to make the movie more comical and less edgy. Lilo and Stitch was nominated for several awards but lost out to Studio Ghibli’s Sprited Away. Speaking of anime, Lilo and Stitch is very popular in Japan and even had an anime called Stitch! that ran for multiple seasons.


25.) 101 Dalmatians

I only just recently learned that 101 Dalmatians is based on a book. I kinda want to read it now actually lol. The original book is from the 1950s by author Dodie Smith – http://amzn.to/2BDIEn9 – He also wrote a sequel called Starlight Barking http://amzn.to/2Cv9F9c (which may be the basis for 102 Dalmatians? I’m not sure.) Smith’s other works are also adapted to Disney films including The Midnight Kittens which would become the Aristocats. http://amzn.to/2C8Apkb

Did you know that Walt Disney hated Disney’s version of 101 Dalmatians? He hated how it looked because it was the first Disney film to use Xeroxography instead of hand-inking each cel. It was also Disney’s first film to be set in a contemporary instead of fantasy setting. Despite Walt’s dislike of the film, it became one of the most beloved classic Disney films of all time.


26.) The Aristocats

As I mentioned above, this too is based on a book by Dodie Smith, author of 101 Dalmatians. The book is The Midnight Kittens http://amzn.to/2C8Apkb I am a huge cat lover and enthusiast, so it’s somewhat surprising that I don’t rank this film higher on my list. However, the writing at times drags and at other times skips around. The script originally was going to be a 2 part mini cartoon, and a more emotional story, about a woman looking to find the right adopters for her unique cats before her death. The decision was made to change it to a feature length film, and to follow on the success of 101 Dalmatians by creating a similar European setting and adventure. From there, the film was to be mostly about the mother cat, hiding her kittens in various places to keep them safe; however, further cuts were made leaving us with what we have now.


27.) Bambi

Bambi is a Disney classic. The young buck grows up before your eyes and learns to protect his friends in the forest. He goes from innocent, sweet, shy, clumsy, and babyish, to a young adult. We witness him falling in love, taking his first steps, and even meeting the great stag who is his father. The other animals such as Flower and Thumper are equally adorable, and we watch them too evolve and grow up throughout the film.


28.) The Fox and the Hound

This is also based on a book – and the story is much sadder than the Disney version. Disney has taken a lot of liberties with this book, and taken something soul crushingly depressing and made it into a cutesy Disney film about 2 unlikely friends. Similar to Bambi, we watch the characters grow up in a forest setting. If you like sad stories, check out the original book here http://amzn.to/2sLB6fp

the fox and the hound 2 disney GIF


29.) Dumbo

Dumbo is a classic Disney film that depicts what it is like to be bullied. Dumbo has no friends, and when his mother gets locked up for trying to protect Dumbo, Dumbo has an even harder time with his peers. This story is very relateable for anyone who has been a victim of bullying. One of the most memorable scenes is when Dumbo’s mother reaches her trunk down to cradle Dumbo as she sings a lullaby to him. Sending a similar message to the audience as Rudolph, Dumbo teaches us that sometimes our weaknesses are actually our greatest strengths, and to take pride in our individuality, as Dumbo learns that he can fly by using his large ears as wings.


30.) WALL-E

Despite being a mostly silent film, WALL-E is able to connect with the audience through use of imaginative robots with very human-like personalities. WALL-E is full of charm, and also full of morals and warnings of what may one day befall our own humanity. WALL-E reminded me a lot of Johnny Five from Short Circuit, and I loved this film because of WALL-E’s ability to make me care about him. You feel sympathy for WALL-E, you feel his loneliness, you feel his fear, you feel his excitement, curiosity, innocence, and inquisitiveness as the story unfolds.


31.) Pocahontas

I had the opportunity to watch the animators working on this film on my one and only trip to Walt Disney World back in the 90s. Most Disney fans agree that Pocahontas is the weakest of all of the 90s animated Disney films. While it had beautiful music and lavish artwork, the story suffered and the bland, forgettable characters soon faded from memory. Pocahontas is also often criticized for white washing. While it is true that it was the first ever Disney film to feature a princess of color, much of the history and story of Pocahontas was sanitized to make it more family friendly (and to appeal to white kids (and their parents) as well). This in turn rightfully angered the native american people at the time of Pocahontas’ release. They are quick to point out that Pocahontas had no choice, and there was no romance between her and John Smith, and that the film seemed to show forgiveness/acceptance of both sides (natives and the settlers, with both being deemed “savages”) while seeming to neglect to explicitly spell out the tragedies that would soon befall the native american people. Despite these criticisms, the movie did quite well in the box office and received a number of awards. It was this success that helped set the trend and tone for a flush of future Disney films to have a strong independent female protagonist such as Mulan, Tangled, Brave, and Frozen. Prior to Pocahontas there had only been 6 Disney films to have a female protagonist, and most (though not all) of those were the classic princess types who needed saving by a Prince such as Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Cinderella, all of whom also happened to be white. Aladdin had Princess Jasmine 3 years prior to Pocahontas, who was also of ethnic decent and fiercely independent, but she was not the titular lead role, but instead a sidekick to the Prince.  So ultimately, while Pocahontas has its flaws and offends a lot of people, it still also has its merits as well.


32.) Hercules

Hercules and Hunchback are both often attributed with the downfall of the “Great 90s Disney Movies” or the Disney Renaissance era. Interestingly enough, Pocahontas is also attributed to the eventual downfall as well. I have ranked these three films all pretty closely to each other on my list here, that was before researching and learning others’ views on these films. I typed a numbered list, and later worked down through researching some of the films on my list to flesh out my commentary or refresh my memory of certain details.

I honestly really liked Hercules. I have always loved mythology and have studied it in both highschool and university. I know that they changed nearly everything about the mythology, to make it more Disneyish but that’s to be expected with Disney handling any source material. The most common complaint is that Hercules is not a god in mythology but a demigod instead, while Disney portrays him as a full fledged god in their movie. I liked the unusual art style and I also loved the music in Hercules. The only reason it finishes in sorta a middle of the list position, is that ultimately the story and characters are not as memorable as other 90s and 2000 Disney films. I think personally for me, it was too humorous and cutesy at times, and lacked the sort of mystique that mythology so often holds. Though I do enjoy the humorous blubbering villains in Hades and his henchmen, I feel the constant focus on this trio (plus Devito as Phil) really detract from the epic adventure / love story that takes place. While still a good movie, it falls short of greatness. It has some great parts, but far more mediocre parts that just weigh the whole thing down.

There are some who criticize the film as being overtly sexual, and also criticize Hercules for giving up his dream of living among the gods in order to stay with Meg… but honestly, the love between Herc and Meg is one of the best parts of this film. Learning to trust each other, and learning to love each other, and to rely on each other, that is an important message that kids should learn at an early age. However, they may miss this message lost within the other 80% of mediocrity of the film.

hercules kiss GIF


33.) A Goofy Movie

My favorite thing about A Goofy Movie is how heart warming and heart felt the story and characters are. Ultimately it’s a great family movie. It’s super relatable and charming. We’ve all been embarrassed by our family members at least once or twice. We’ve all hurt each others’ feelings once or twice, but always at the end of the day… We are family. No matter how old you get, where you go, or what you do in life. That’s the message of a Goofy Movie. It’s a classic tale of a father’s love for his son, a dad who is doing his best, and has good intentions, but ultimately still makes mistakes. That’s what makes the movie so likeable and the characters so human like in their interactions.


34.) The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, even after being sanitized and Disneyified to death, is still an incredibly dark film with deep religious overtones. It directly calls out the corruption in the catholic church, and deals with themes such as lust, temptation, and seduction. Even the dancing and singing gargoyles can’t really keep this story from crossing quickly over into adult themes. This is perhaps one of the first Disney films to really tackle a more adult story. And that may also be part of its undoing as well. It loses some of the innocence and charm we’ve come to expect and appreciate in other Disney films.


35.) The Jungle Book

As we approach the second half of our top Disney animated films, my opinions of the films become much less firm, and more fluid, perhaps it is my ability, or lack there of, to recall the details of the films, or just the fact that a majority of the films that fall in the second half of the list were not that memorable in the first place. The Jungle Book’s only saving grace were the cute animals and catchy music with themes like Bear Necessities. The animation style was dark and drab, despite being set in a lush jungle. I liked, but never really loved, the Jungle Book. I did grow up loving the numerous spin offs, especially Tale Spin which I watched faithfully after school and on weekends. Here the animals took even more of a center stage. I also enjoyed the live action retelling of the story, which I appreciated a lot more as an adult. Perhaps if I were to rewatch the animated version I may enjoy it more now. I distinctly recall having to memorize the Tyger by William Blake in highschool, and I initially thought after watching the new Jungle Book live action film that both it and the older animated version were based on this poem, but actually, they are both based on a book titled The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling which is a collection of short stories staring anthropomorphic animals to teach lessons to young children about finding and accepting their place in society and respecting the laws of the jungle. This is often criticized as being racist, but of course the Disney movie sanitizes all of this for a more mainstream audience.  Still, the books are worth checking out. Did you know one of the characters is a seal in the Jungle Book? Neither did I!.. You can get it fairly cheap now (under $5 on amazon) thanks to the modest hype and success of the 2016 live action adaptation. http://amzn.to/2Cwcy9E


36.) Oliver and Company

Disney had a lot of success by this point with other talking dog films such as 101 Dalmatians and Lady and the Tramp. They also had a lot of success with musicals. So it’s no surprise that Disney’s Oliver and Company combines both of these things. While the cast of dogs (and Oliver the stray kitten) are indeed super cute, they ultimately aren’t as memorable as previous and similar Disney films. Billy Joel plays the voice of Dodger and he and Bette Midler sing a number of songs in the film, but even that isn’t enough to make the film, or its music, very memorable. And personally, I like Midler in movies like Hocus Pocus, but I felt her voice was a poor fit for Georgette who should have sounded more charming / sexy. The most memorable part of the film for me was a “pepe le pew type” of character named Tito, a chihuahua who was crushing hard on a poodle (or was it afghan?) throughout the film (and constantly getting rejected). The other characters were far less funny. In fact, the movie’s namesake, was perhaps the most bland and boring of all of the characters, making me not care very much if he ever got adopted or not. The story of Oliver and Company is based on Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. The only reason it ranks higher than the next few films on my list is that dogs and kittens are cuter than mice, people, or llamas, and the next few films are also pretty forgettable.


37.) The Rescuers

I never realized that The Rescuers was based on a series of books by Margery Sharp. It’s also curious to note that Miss Bianca is the main character with a ton of backstory and character development in these books and Bernard is merely her sidekick. Check out all the books on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B00CKDIDRM/ref=dp_st_1590174607# I remember watching The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under as a kid. One of the most memorable scenes I can recall off hand is when Bianca and Bernard are preparing to take off on the back of the albatross and she tells him to button up, that it’s cold outside, and he gets nervous as she starts helping him dress warmer. The other slightly annoying scene I remember is Penny in the pit whining and complaining and crying about how she can’t reach the eye as the tide is coming in. The other thing Rescuers is well known for is a hidden porn clip in one of the windows on one of the buildings when they are flying by, which includes a shower scene.  (which yes it is messed up to include such things in a children’s cartoon. eww). But when I heard that, that little trivia factoid stuck with me more than most of the rest of the movie. The thing is, it just wasn’t that engaging or compelling. If I’m going to watch a cartoon about Mice I much rather watch “The Secret of Nymh” about a million times over the Rescuers or the Rescuers Down Under. On the live action side of things, I also enjoy Ralph the Motorcycle Mouse or The Witches way more than The Rescuers or The Rescuers Down Under. The Rescuers aren’t bad films, but just not great, either. I do want to read the Rescuer books though 🙂

The Rescuers Disney GIF


38.) Tarzan

Tarzan has great music and a lush vibrant setting that lends itself well to Disney’s animation style, but beyond that, it’s one of the least memorable Disney films to me. I don’t care about any of the characters, the story feels flat, and the pacing feels off too. Disney’s Tarzan just falls into the realms of mediocracy for me.


39.) Mulan

While I love that this film is set in Asia and based on a real historical figure and that it features a very strong female lead and role model, I ultimately don’t love it as much as a lot of other Disney films. I think the problem again is that it’s just not memorable. The characters are not interesting and the whole thing just feels very bland. If I want to watch a film about China, I rather watch Chinese Ghost Story, which was actually animated in China, or more recently, Big Fish and Begonia.


40.) The Emperor’s New Groove

This cartoon is very funny, and definitely an enjoyable and playful romp. It even aims to pass down a lesson in its storytelling. I loved “The Emperor’s New Clothes” which I’m pretty sure this film is based on. The moral is to not be vain, and to remain humble, even when you are in a position of power or prestige. I’d even say this film is far more “memorable” than the previous few films on our list here. – I’d say that from about item 32 through 42, the movies on this list are pretty interchangeable in terms of my likelihood to re-watch or recommend them. If I’m in a mood for a comedy and nothing more, The Emperor’s New Groove would probably be further up the list by a handful of places. But if I want a more fantasy and romantic type setting, which is typical Disney, ultimately the Emperor’s New Groove doesn’t quite deliver.


41.) The Incredibles

A fun superhero movie, a new adventure for Disney who has never really tackled the super hero / comic / geek type fare before. I loved the themes of family and the geeky superhero antics, but I still don’t find this as charming or memorable as other Disney/Pixar films such as UP, Toy Story, Monster’s Inc, or Finding Nemo/Dory. The Incredibles just falls short when compared to almost every other Pixar Film. In its own right, without comparing it to the rest, it’s probably not a bad film. It just lacks the heart and charm of the rest of the Pixar pictures.


42.) The Sword in the Stone

When I was younger, this was one of my most favorite Disney Films (because it was before most of the great 90-2ks Disney films that now take up most of the higher spots on the list.) I was always interested in the Legend of King Arthur. I read the book, watched various movies/mini series (my favorite of which is probably “Merlin”.) I’m still enamored with Renaissance faires, clothing, food, jousting, crafts, and everything medieval. I’d like to see Disney remake this, maybe a live action version since they seem to be doing a lot of those lately.

the sword in the stone GIF


43.) The Black Cauldron

This is probably the most underrated Disney film of all time. It’s also the darkest and best suited for young adults, as opposed to children. Despite my deep love for this movie, it is one of the worst performing Disney films of all time. It was the first Disney film to use computer animation, and the first Disney film to receive a PG rating. It came out in 1985, and at the time it was the most expensive animated film, costing almost 45 million dollars to create. It did terrible in the box offices, recouping less than half of those costs. None of this affects my rating of this movie. It just doesn’t stack up to other Disney films in terms of animation, music, and etc. The story and characters are actually pretty good, especially if you’re looking for something a little darker and scarier than most other light and fluffy Disney films. Ultimately though, the film suffered numerous cuts and edits and struggled to decide if it wanted to commit to the dark and emotionally moving books on which it was based. There’s also a sierra game similar to king’s quest. based on Disney’s version of The Black Cauldron. The game has primitive graphics but actually a lot of interesting gameplay concepts, including a branching plot and multiple endings based on choices you make within the game. This game is now freeware and can be downloaded here: http://allowe.com/downloads/games.html but you’ll probably need an emulator like Scummvm to run the games on newer PCs. According to wikipedia “On March 17, 2016, Variety confirmed that Walt Disney Pictures had re-acquired the film rights to The Chronicles of Prydain, with the intention to adapt the book series into an epic motion picture series, more attuned to Lloyd Alexander’s high fantasy world. The project is currently in early development at the Walt Disney Studios with no director, producer, or screenwriter attached yet” – I can’t wait for this!! It could be as epic as Lord of the Rings, Narnia, or Harry Potter. You can also read all 5 of the original books in omnibus format https://www.amazon.com/Prydain-Chronicles-Lloyd-Alexander/dp/B0006DBJOC However, it may be cheaper to just buy the boxset or kindle editions: https://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Prydain-Lloyd-Alexander/dp/1250000939 


43.) Gnomeo and Juliet

When World of Warcraft first came out, I was really really into Gnomes for awhile, because my main character was a gnome. So I loved this cute little 3d animation remake of Romeo and Juliet. It is funny and adorable, and holds its own, but ultimately its very different from the more fantastical and charming traditional Disney films.


44.) The Princess and the Frog

This film will forever be remembered as having the first black Disney princess, but beyond that, I’m afraid the story and characters are anything but memorable. The story just feels flat, and the characters lacked the charm of previous Disney films. Music also didn’t live up to the classic 90s Disney films. The problem was they brought back all the studio and staff from greats like The Lion King, Little Mermaid, etc, and still somehow, turned out a film that really lacked the heart and soul of their earlier works. All that said though, I do really like the twist on the classic fairy tale. In this version, the princess turns into a frog, instead of the frog turning into a prince, when kissed.

princess and the frog kiss GIF


45.) Treasure Planet

Disney’s attempt to capture a more mature audience failed and resulted in over $100 million in losses. This film looks beautiful, but that’s about it. It has no heart or soul. The whole thing feels lifeless and dull. I can’t bring myself to care about the characters or what’s happening around them. I do really like the animation techniques of using 2D characters atop 3D backgrounds though and wish they’d try that technique again sometime.


47.) Duck Tales the Movie

Another average, not great, Disney film. I enjoyed Duck Tales as a kid, but it works better as a series I think. It lacks a compelling storyline or overarching plot and continuity that makes most theatrical movies so engaging. – That said, there is much excitement about the new Duck Tales reboot that came out last year. I would have been more excited for a Dark Wing Duck movie myself.


48.) Atlantis: The Lost Empire

I feel like the subject matter of this film has a lot of potential – but that sadly, ultimately Disney wasted that potential and created a rather forgettable tale about the lost city. I love the “legend” behind Atlantis, and I like that Disney took a different approach than we typically think of by basing the city around Mayan culture instead of Greek culture that is so typically attributed to the legend of the sunken city. It’s also a timely tale and warning in an age when the internet and technology were beginning to advance and rapidly change our own cultures and interactions. The warning in both the original, and in Disney’s Atlantis, is that if we become too reliant on Technology, our civilization will deteriorate. It’s also a tale of greed, others want what we have, we want what others have, and sometimes if technology falls into the wrong hands, there can be deadly consequences. This is all very interesting stuff for an epic fantasy adventure — but an adventure is only as interesting as the characters experiencing it, and these characters are so flat and dull that this movie will put you to sleep before it even gets off the ground. It’s very action packed, but without a reason to care about what’s really happening to the characters at the heart of the conflict, that action ultimately goes to waste.


49.) Chicken Little

I thought this film was cute and funny, but overall a bit too juvenile and simplistic for my tastes. I have nothing bad to say about the film and have even watched it more than twice now.


50.) Frankenweenie

Growing up, I had watched, and even enjoyed the black and white live action version of Frakenweenie, a story about a boy who loves his dog so much he brings him back to life after a tragic accident. I still prefer the live action short film over this version. I feel like the story didn’t change much or gain anything meaningful, despite adding almost another hour of footage to the remake. It’s not necessarily bad, if I had never seen the short film, I’d probably be more inclined to rate this higher.


51.) Dinosaur

I like this film, but ultimately, The Land Before Time did it better. This film lacked originality and also suffered from some pacing issues with the story. It was heart warming and emotionally impactful, but then again, so was the Land Before Time. This film felt like a poor 3D knock off of The Land Before Time in almost every way, and its characters, while cute and likeable, were not nearly as memorable as the ones from Land Before Time.


52.) The Great Mouse Detective

These last ten movies on our list are some of the oldest Disney films, and therefore some of the most simplistic in character development and storytelling. Much like the Rescuers, this is a cute detective film feature hero mice as the stars. It’s even less memorable than the Rescuers however. I hear that the books are much better. You can check out Basil of Bakerstreet here: https://www.amazon.com/Eve-Titus/e/B001HCX2AU/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1  As well as another story series with mice by the same author, Anatolle.


53.) Robin Hood

Robin Hood’s only redeeming/memorable quality is the use of anthropomorphic animal characters or “furries” to tell this legend of well known bandit turned hero who “robbed from the rich and gave to the poor” along with his band of merry men and their story. Otherwise, there’s little to nothing of interest in this film for those already familiar with the original tale. The furrie thing alone though is enough to make it iconic and immensely popular among furrie culture. You can see a lot of resemblance between Nick in Zootopia and Robin. I also see Robin’s character design as a major source of influence for Rif the fox from Inherit the Earth, one of my favorite PC video games.

robin hood compliment GIF


54.) Sleeping Beauty

There’s nothing wrong with Sleeping Beauty, or any of the other early “princess movies” unless you’re a feminist, in which case there’s everything wrong with these movies. But I’m no feminist… So I’m fine with these early Disney princess films, but I find them less engaging, memorable, or exciting than the 90s fare of films such as Lion King, Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and so on…

My favorite version of Sleeping Beauty is a book called “Spindle’s End” – a retelling of Sleeping Beauty told from the animals of the forest. I feel like this book would have made a better Disney film than the Disney Sleeping Beauty. Of course, the Disney Sleeping Beauty is much older than Spindle’s End.  The author also has unique retellings of Beauty and the Beast and many other great fairy tales. https://www.amazon.com/Robin-McKinley/e/B000AQ1OUY/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1


55.) Alice in Wonderland

Alice is not a typical Disney princess. She is perhaps the first example of a strong female lead in a Disney film. She doesn’t need to rely on a prince to save her. She uses her logic and wits to outsmart the queen of hearts and her henchmen. The fantasy setting, although a bit too trippy / drug inspired for my tastes, is in fact memorable and exciting. The cheshire cat is my favorite character in this tale. In the live action remake, I also really liked the hatter’s character and a bit of suggested hints of romance between Alice and Hatter.


56.) Cinderella

Cinderelly, Cinderelly, night and day it’s Cinderelly. The mice sidekicks and Fairy Godmother and their songs are about the most memorable thing I can recall from this film. Did you know there’s also an anime series, and movie (which I believe is piece meal of the series edited into a much abridged movie version?) Check it on MAL: https://myanimelist.net/anime/2817/Cinderella_Monogatari 


57.) Snow White

I think this was the first film I saw in theaters – and from what I was told it scared me to death. Looking back now, really all I can remember is “hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go”. I much prefer more original / creative takes on classic fairy tales. Disney’s own series, Once Upon a Time, does a better job at this than their classic cartoons. In Once Upon a Time, we sympathize more with the villains – at least I did – while watching the stories unfold. We learn the back story and motivation for why Snow White’s stepmother hated her so much. And Snow White herself is much less of a mary jane and much less passive and more spunky and fun and quick witted, and a thief like character. – I mean you would have to be resourceful to take care of yourself in the forests, you can’t just be a kept princess. I also have not read, but hear good things about Neil Gaimman’s Snow, Glass, Apples – I mean, it must be good, because it’s almost $2,000 for the hard copy on Amazon lol… https://www.amazon.com/Snow-Glass-Apples-Neil-Gaiman/dp/B000P1OWWQ – Luckily it’s also included in this collection of short stories which you can pick up for about $4. https://www.amazon.com/Smoke-Mirrors-Short-Fictions-Illusions/dp/0380789027/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1519680106&sr=1-1&keywords=snow+glass+apples 


58.) A Bug’s Life

Better than Dreamworks’ Antz, but still this is by far Pixar’s weakest film. Not much else to say about this one.


59.) Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh was a big part of my childhood (I liked Tigger), but now as an adult, I have little desire to ever watch it again.

winnie the pooh GIF by Disney


60.) Peter Pan

I never really liked Peter Pan that much. There’s nothing really “wrong” with it, it just didn’t appeal to me much when I was little.


61.) Pinocchio

I hated Pinocchio, I dunno why. I have heard the book it is based on is dark and creepy AF. The stuff of nightmares.


62.) Fantasia

You either love it or you hate it. I hated it. I have nothing against classical music, or musicals even – Moulin Rouge is one of my all time favorite films which I’ve seen probably over a dozen times – but Disney’s Fantasia is just a bore, since it really has no overarching plot and feels too pieced together for my tastes.


Disney feature length animated films I have not watched – In no particular order:

  • Victory Through Air Power
  • Doug’s 1st Movie
  • Recess: School’s Out
  • Teacher’s Pet
  • Home on the Range
  • Valiant
  • The Wild
  • Meet the Robinsons
  • Ratatouille
  • Roadside Romeo
  • Arjun: The Warrior Prince
  • Planes
  • Big Hero 6
  • Strange Magic
  • Coco

62 Disney Animated Feature Length Films Ranked From Best to Worst – An Otaku’s Take On the Best and Worst Animated Disney Films – Disney Films Ranked From Best to Worst. Top 10 Disney Films was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Artbook Review: The Art of The Secret World of Arietty

I received this book for free in exchange for a review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

This large, beautiful hardcover artbook is a must have for any Hayao Miyazaki or Studio Ghibli fan. Within its pages lies a treasure trove of not only gorgeous artwork, but also a behind the scenes look at the work that went into creating The Secret World of Arietty. This book is very high quality. Its large oversize format makes it excellent for laying on your coffee table or bookshelf and its presentation is so inviting that your friends won’t be able to resist picking it up and scanning through the pages. Its an excellent conversation piece, as well as a great asset for a collector’s own private and personal collection.

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

With this review I struggled if I should include pictures, and if so how many, and which ones to include. I wanted you to see the beautiful artwork and the commentary from the artists at Studio Ghibli but I also wanted to not reveal too much as to avoid spoiling the surprise and excitement of reading the book for yourself. So I selected 3 or 4 images showing concept art and notes from the team. It’s also important to know there are many beautiful full color art pieces in the book as well, including some that spread across both pages. I just felt the concept art was far more interesting as we don’t get a glimpse of that by simply watching the film.

By far, my favorite part of the book is all of the commentary and interviews with the staff of Studio Ghibli. It’s easy enough to fill a picture book full of sketches and doodles, but what I really enjoyed was reading about how the film all came together, the various changes that were made to characters and settings within the anime, and getting a sense for what the artists feel about their finished creation. It was quite fascinating, especially reading it as someone working as a full time artist myself. I can really appreciate the team’s dedication and passion and I think that passion really shows through in the final product (both the film and this gorgeous artbook).

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

Studio Ghibli’s “The Secret World of Arietty” is based on a popular children’s book, The Borrowers by Mary Norton. This book has entertained children for several generations. But it’s also a book (and film) that can be enjoyed by the whole family, young or old alike. My grandmother told me that it is her favorite book, she told me she first read it when my mother checked it out of the library. I too read the book when I was younger, and I also enjoyed many other film and tv adaptations and similar books and movies and tv series such as The Littles and The Indian in the Cupboard.

The Borrowers and The Secret World of Arietty give you a glimpse at a hidden world right under our noses. The Borrowers are a tiny race of miniature humans who live in our walls and gardens and live off of things we waste or take for granted. If you ever notice a button or a needle is missing, you can bet it’s been “Borrowed”. Of course the human world presents many dangers to Arietty, she must be careful to not be discovered by the humans who could capture her and keep her as a pet or science experiment. At the same time she must be aware of her surroundings at all times. She could get swept away by just a small trickle of water, or mistaken for a mouse and gobbled up by a cat, or crushed underfoot by a horse and carriage. Arietty is of course not afraid of the human world, and instead intrigued by it. She finds the human world fascinating and impossible to resist. Especially when she meets and falls in love with a human boy who is equally fascinated by Arietty’s world. The story teaches us that even though our lives may seem dull and mundane, that all it takes is a change of perspective to be reminded how wondrous life truly is.

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

Just as life is wondrous and full of adventure, so too is the official artbook, “The Art of The Secret World of Arietty”.

You can buy “The Art of The Secret World of Arietty” Artbook here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/197470033X

Buy the Borrowers complete set of books here: https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Adventures-Borrowers-Mary-Norton/dp/0152049150/

Buy the DVD or Blu-Ray of the Secret World of Arietty here: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-World-Arrietty-Two-Disc-Blu-ray/dp/B005LAIGXM

Artbook Review: The Art of The Secret World of Arietty was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Campus Life™: Fashion Girl IOS Mobile Game Review

So today, while working on another project of mine, which I’m not quite ready to announce here just yet, I came across an old app I used to love and be so addicted to. That app is Campus Life by Pocket Gems. I was looking for a way to blog about the app on my new site, but hint: since the project only covers android apps, I couldn’t blog about Campus Life.

For some unknown reason, Pocket Gems removed Campus Life from the android store about 5 years ago. Meanwhile, the Itunes version is still going strong with new features, updates, special events, and content added frequently. I wonder why they would want to alienate a large percentage of their players and thus lose revenue. I have been an IOS user for about 3 years now. So I had no idea this app was no longer available in the Google Play store.

Anyways, Campus Life is a really great game!!! It allows you to customize your first character and move her into an empty sorority house. You have to get other girls to join your sorority by hosting events around campus and of course throwing parties. You can buy more land and expand and decorate your house. You can have pets, you can compete against other real players in fashion shows, and get limited time event rewards, including clothing, girls, and furnishings. There’s even boys you can date. You can also craft your own clothes too! Campus Life is jam packed full of features and content!

Campus Life™: Fashion Girl 12+

I haven’t played in about 6+ months now, but it’s still one of my favorite mobile games just because of the sheer amount of things you can do!

Score Card:

Title: Campus Life: Fashion Girl

Publisher: Pocket Gems

Platform: IOS

Click here to get the game on your Iphone or Ipad

Genre: Dressup Game with City Building and Dating Sim aspects

Geeky: 5/5 – With so many different things to do, from designing your campus, to recruiting girls, dressing up, dating, making your own clothes, throwing parties, completing quests and events, collecting limited exclusive rewards, studying and improving your girls’ careers, virtual pets, and online multiplayer fashion showdowns, this game has it all. It’s far more than “just” a dressup game. Probably one of the most feature rich dressup games on the market, still to this day, and with a history of 4+ years and counting now.

Sweetie: 5/5 – The dresses and accessories in the game are very cute. There’s a huge variety of content, so you can be sexy, sweet, a bookworm, a jock, a goth, or anything in between. You can dye your hair, put on makeup, even select your skin tone. New content is added constantly. The art style is more westernized and not as anime-ish as I like, but it makes up for it in gameplay features and amount of items.

Campus Life™: Fashion Girl 12+

Gameplay: 7/10 Throughout this review I keep praising the vast array of activities built into this app. But we’ll list them one more time here. When the game starts you’re given your first girl for free. You select from a few options for hair/eyes/skin and clothing. You’re then thrust into a proceduraly generated game world. I know it’s proceduraly generated because I used to play on both IOS and Android back in the day and had 2 different accounts and 2 very different game worlds. Proximity to beaches, animals, forests, and other features were completely random. You could rescue the animals if you reached them, or build your house on the beach, etc.

You start with a pretty empty house and are walked through a tutorial where you buy your first clothing, furnishings, and recruit your first girl. Recruiting girls lets you meet new girls who move into your house and you can dressup these new girls as well which adds to the dressup fun.

Campus Life™: Fashion Girl 12+

But as I’ve said, Campus Life is much more than a dressup game. Your girls all have their own likes and dislikes, and to recruit them you have to interact with them and discover and talk about those interests. Certain furnishings can help boost the likely hood that a girl will want to join your sorority as well. Afterall, who wouldn’t want to stay in a nice place?

Later in the game you unlock even more features. Guys start coming over and you can date them, pairing them off with one of the girls in your house.

But the funnest features are the fashion contests where you play with other players, or the ability to craft and wear clothing that you make from raw materials that you gather.

I do have to subtract a few points for the game’s performance. It is very very slow to load, especially once you have a lot of rooms in your house and/or a lot of girls or furniture, etc. Everything when you first import a saved game to a new device, is an hour glass for a very very long time, sometimes more than an hour, depending on your internet connection speed. This performance issue is a huge draw back because while items are hourglasses they cannot be equipped, worn, used, nor interacted with. Things aren’t quite as slow on subsequent plays because it keeps a lot of that information probably in the cache of your Iphone or Ipad.

If these performance issues were fixed, Gameplay would easily be a 10/10. As it stands right now though, the most I can offer it is a 7.

Story: 1/10 – There really is almost no story at all in this game. Sometimes the events or characters will try to present some type of story, but, meh, it’s not very good. There’s no overaching plot to drive the story forward. The lack of a story is probably why I go periods of months on end without wanting to play the game again.

Characters: 7/10 – While the characters have no value from a story perspective, it is interesting that there are many different styles of characters to recruit, and they each have their own personalities, such as sporty or geeky or girly, etc. After awhile though, many of the girls start to look alike, there aren’t enough variations or details to make the girls really unique.

Campus Life™: Fashion Girl 12+

Graphics: 10/10 – although it’s not anime, it is still bright and vivid with smooth animations and a fantastic style. While the girls are not very unique, they make up for it with a ton of unique furnishings, clothing items, and accessories that differentiate and define your unique sense of fashion.

Music: 5/10 – The music was just average. I would say it’s about what you could expect from a mobile game.

Overall: 40/60 67% D+ “Average Game for Girls”

Note: if you ignore the lack of story, it becomes a 49/60 which would make it an 82% or B- “Very Good Game for Girls”. So if you don’t mind games without a central story, please do check this one out. 🙂

 

Description

Run the most fashionable sorority on campus!Recruit fashion geniuses, party superstars and student celebs to build the most stylish sorority around! Throw amazing events for your members, from fun study sessions to dazzling sorority formals. Live the campus life you’ve always dreamed of!Collect […]

Campus Life™: Fashion Girl IOS Mobile Game Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Gree Animal Days Mobile Game Graveyard Review

Gree Animal Days was my all time favorite mobile game.

Be warned, before reading this review; the game was shut down several years ago.

There are lots of articles available online pointing to why the game failed. But largely, from what I read, the developers over promised and under estimated how difficult it would be to maintain their production schedules for new content and features which ultimately led to them shutting down the game as they could no longer maintain it.

There were not many games like Gree Animal Days at the time available in the android or IOS app stores.

It was kinda like animal crossing, but it also had breeding, city building, dating sim, and other aspects that made it, in my opinion, more fun than even the newly released Animal Crossing Pocket Camp game (which I also reviewed here).

It also shared lots in common with Happy Street which for quite some time filled the “need” for an animal crossing like game available on mobile devices.

But the ability to breed and recruit new animals to your town really set Gree Animal Days apart from the rest. And still to this day, I’ve not found any other games quite as fun as this.

Check out the trailer below:

Here’s a look at some of the features of Gree Animal Days:

Information taken from Game Faqs

Animal Days is recommended for anyone who:- Likes animals- Wants to raise animals- Likes games where you make your own town or village- Wants to try a game where you help raise villagers- Likes simulation games- Wants to try a game with romantic side

Make the most fantastic city in the world in a hidden forest with your animal friends!

Start romances with the animals in your friends town!

Animals fall in love, get married, and have cute animal children!

Get as many animals as you can, and make a bustling animal town!

Make a town in the forest with cute animal friends! In this game you will work together with cute animals to make a fantastic town. Find all types of animals and collect buildings to make a unique town with your cute animal friends!

Romance

Your animals and your friends’ animals will have romances and make children. Start romances with different animals to get new animals that will live in your town.

Buildings

In the middle of the forest near your town lies the Mysterious Pond. You can get free, cute Decorations and Houses from the Mysterious Pond every day! Decorate your town with your favorite buildings and develop your town into the best that it can be!

Animals

Build Houses and start romances to increase the number of animals that live in your town! There are over 100 animals, all with unique personalities! Your favorite animal is waiting for you! You will find Dogs, Cats, Rabbits, Penguins, Mice, and more!

Dilemmas

The animals experience all sorts of Dilemmas. If you help solve their Dilemmas, they will give you items and special buildings, so solve as many as you can and expand your town!


Score Card:

Title: Gree Animal Days

Publisher: Gree

Where to Get: No Longer Available

Platform: Formerly available on Android and IOS

Price: Free

Genre: Casual, City Building, Life Simulation, Dating Sim

Overall: 38/50 76% C – Good Game for Girls

Breakdown:

Geeky: 3/5 – with over 100 animals, and over 300 buildings available at launch, Gree Animal Days was a hugely ambitious project that offered hours of gameplay and innovative fun mechanics in a well polished package. However poor management eventually led to the downfall of this great game. The devs were not prepared to handle the success of this game.

Sweetie: 5/5 – The cute characters and interesting marriage and breeding aspects really set this game apart as a great game for girls.

Gameplay: 10/10 This app offered so much to do! with hundreds of buildings and animals to collect, as well as the ability to date and breed with your friends’ animals too. These features are severely missed as no other cute animal city building game has yet to replicate this unique gaming experience.

Story: 3/10 – There was a loose story about rebuilding a run down village, but it was not terribly interesting. Then again neither are the stories in Animal Crossing games, so it’s about on par with that series there.

Characters:  10/10 – The characters are so cute. Each one had unique personalities and appearances. With over 100 characters at launch and more added in updates, there were a lot of cute characters to collect!

Graphics: 5/5 – This game looked great for the time it was released. It looks similar to even newer apps such as Animal Crossing Pocket Camp and Happy Street. Each character and building was unique, which is part of the game’s downfall as they had to create so many assets in such short time.

Music: 2/5 – Like most mobile games, it’s cute/catchy at first, but lacks variation and will tend to annoy after your first few playthroughs.

Overall: 38/50 76% C – Good Game for Girls

 

Gree Animal Days Mobile Game Graveyard Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Pop in Q Anime Movie Review

Title: Pop in Q
Length: (approx) 1.5 hours, feature length film.
I hear there is a 2nd film in production as well that will finish telling the story. *hint: Keep watching after the credits of the first movie*
Genre: Shoujo, Magical Girl, Fantasy, Idol, Musical, Slice of Life, Drama
Studio: Toei Annimation
Release Date: December, 2016

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Score Card:

Geeky 1/5 – There is a bit of action later in the film, also some nostalgia to anyone who grew up watching shows like Digimon. But largely, this is pure shoujo aimed at very young girls. Afterall the girls themselves are middleschool students in this film.

Sweetie: 5/5 – This anime is utterly adorable!!! The Popin look like Sanrio characters. The girls are young and have round faces and big eyes. The music is catchy. Idol culture is always kawaii AF. The backgrounds have a nice painterly style. And the story actually has some depth to it, especially towards the end and the small preview of the next film.

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Story 9/10 The story is basically the same as nearly every shoujo series. Which isn’t a bad thing. A group of young girls who don’t believe in themselves (or other people), come together, find their own inner strength, and learn to trust each other and work together. The basic plot of Pop in Q surrounds 5 girls each with different regrets as they prepare to graduate from middle school. They escape to the magic world where they meet the Popins, loveable cute mascots who are responsible for the flow of time. The girls do not want to return to their own world until tragedy threatens both worlds and forces the girls to make some difficult decisions.

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Characters: 10/10 – 10 out of 10 just for how cute they are. Plus I like how every girl is given ample screen time and has a rich back story. This reminded me a lot of sailor moon or magic knights rayearth, or to a lesser degree card captor sakura. It also has a hint of love live or aikatsu stars because of the idol elements. But the cutest thing of all are the Poppins!

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Artwork: 4/5 I deducted 1 point because some of the 3D scenes are not animated that well. However, the character designs are so cute. The 2D parts are adorable, and the background environments have this lovely painterly style with heavy brush strokes. This creates a beautiful storybook like feeling.

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Voice Acting: 4/5 – The voice acting is cute and suits each of the girls. The poppins also have cute voices. Only reason I didn’t give it a 5 was that it wasn’t that memorable.

Music: 5/5 – There are tons of vocal tracks, obviously as music plays a central role to this story. Luckily all of the music is quite catchy. I also liked the instrumental tracks, especially highlighting some sad and touching moments.

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Overall: 38/45 84% B+ “Very Good Anime for Girls”

Pop in Q Anime Movie Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Imagine: Figure Skater Nintendo DS Retro Videogame Review

With the 2018 Winter Olympics well under way, I’ve been thinking a lot about games and anime (such as Yuri on Ice which I reviewed here) that showcases the dedication that a skater must possess. I remembered fondly an NDS game from “a few” years ago that I played that allowed you to take on the life of a professional skater, competing in various events, training, dating, and dealing with drama.

This game, as it turns out, was Imagine: Figure Skater for the Nintendo DS. The game first came out in 2008 (at least in North America), making it “retro” by my definition (I consider anything greater than 10 years old to be retro.)  I’m thinking about digging out my cartridge and playing it again this weekend. I’ve also been thinking about rewatching Yuri!! on Ice.

Imagine Figure Skater Nintendo DS Otome Olympic Ice Skating Game

Imagine Figure Skater Nintendo DS Otome Olympic Ice Skating Game

First, you might look at the box art for this game, and think it is for little girls. — Not true! The original boxart in Japan was much better – featuring anime style artwork. Why they went with a photograph of an iceskater on the US version, I dunno. They should have aimed it at anime/otome fans, but this was 10 years ago, before otome games had much foothold in the US.

Gamestop has the game in-stock for just $0.99 cents! – If you have a powerups reward card, Even better, you can grab it for just $0.79 cents!!! OMG… Go, go, go!! If you like anime, ice skating, dating sims, or otome games, it will be the best 99 (or 79) cents you could spend today. Click here to buy it before it’s gone.

There’s also apparently a sequel to this game, called Imagine: Ice Champions. I have not played the sequel yet, but Gamestop has it for just $1.59.

Imagine: Ice Champions Nintendo DS Olympic Ice Skating Otome Dating Game

Imagine: Ice Champions Nintendo DS Olympic Ice Skating Otome Dating Game

These games were perhaps too ahead of their times – with the relatively recent popularity of Yuri!! on Ice, and increased representation of Otome Games in the United States, I wonder how a sequel for Nintendo Switch would fare these days, if marketed properly. Why try to forcefully create an audience, when there already exists a large audience begging publishers for such games. Do your research and understand your target audience better.

Most of us are 20+ years old, otaku/anime fans, and would rather buy the original box art on the right, than that which was designed for the US on the left. This alienated most of your “built in audience” while trying to build a new audience with younger girls.

Thankfully the art in the actual game is fully done in an anime and kawaii style which could appeal to either audience.

Now on to the review!!

Scorecard:

Title: Imagine: Figure Skating

Developer: Spike

Publisher: Ubisoft

Platform: Nintendo DS

Genre: Career/Life Simulation Game with Dressup Game, Dating Sim and Otome Game aspects

Where to Buy: Gamestop has both of these for about $0.79 and $1.99. Check out the links above.

Geeky: 5/5 – Gameplay is solid, the graphics are a little bit pixelated, but that’s probably just limitations of the software of the time ten years ago. Gameplay using the stylus to perform ice skating moves is both fun and challenging. It offered high replay value too with different girls to play as and different events and dialogue options. It gave a good look at what skaters go thru when training. If you enjoy watching the Winter Olympics, or enjoy anime such as Yuri!! On Ice, then you will enjoy this game!

Sweetie: 5/5 – This game has a little bit of everything, all in one very cute package! Ice Skating is beautiful and elegant and as you compete you unlock new areas to explore, new outfits to wear, and you interact with friends, lovers, and rivals. It has a good dose of comedy, slice of life, drama, and surprise.

Overall: 59/70 84% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

Imagine: Figure Skater Nintendo DS Retro Game Review

Imagine: Figure Skater Nintendo DS Retro Game Review

Gameplay: 10/10 – Gameplay is where Imagine: Figure Skating really shines! When the game starts, you select one of three girls, each with her own strengths and weaknesses both on and off the ice. From there you’re whisked away to a tutorial where you get to try skating for the very first time.

Do well and advance through various qualifying rounds improving your skill and technique. You will earn money to buy new outfits and get to travel to compete in new arenas and unlock new events.

When not on the ice, you will go to school, work part time jobs, go on dates, or spend time with your friends. Rivals will show up both on and off the ice too which add to the story.

You skate by using the Nintendo DS stylus on the lower touch screen. You perform jumps and spins and get scored for each of your routines. As you play and complete your training, you will unlock more advanced moves to add to your routine.

You have complete control over designing your own ice skating routines. You select your outfits, music, and choreograph your routines to progress through the game and ultimately guide your character to the nationals.

Imagine: Figure Skating Nintendo DS Anime Games for Girls

Imagine: Figure Skating Nintendo DS Anime Games for Girls

Story: 7/10 This game, just like Yuri!! On Ice, does an excellent job portraying the struggles and triumphs of those training for life as a professional or Olympic figure skater. Just like Yuri!!! On Ice, Imagine: Figure skating has that tantalizing blend of romance and rivalry both on and off the ice. It also showcases themes such as platonic friendship, family, travel, adventure, and sportsmanship. Storywise though, this game comes no where close to generating the same emotions and reactions in its audience compared to the beloved Yuri!! On Ice, which has been countless praised by real figure skaters for its realistic portrayal of events and memorable characters.

Characters: 8/10 The characters are cute! I loved the dressup aspects and loved having multiple girls to choose from when starting the game. I loved how this game draws you into the life of the characters, showing you moments of their life both on and off the ice. I didn’t quite connect with them as emotionally and deeply as I had hoped to. This is also probably why the story felt a bit flat.

Graphics: 7/10 – The graphics are a bit outdated, but there’s so many options for costumes and the ability to pick different girls is great. The girls are all so cute.

Imagine: Figure Skater Dressup Game

Imagine: Figure Skater Dressup Game

Music: 7/10 – I feel like almost everything about this game, is about a solid 7, it’s good, but not great. The great gameplay though makes up for the rather “average” other details. I’d say the music is fine, but ultimately far from memorable.

Replay Value: 10/10 – With different girls and different outcomes along with the ability to customize just about everything, this game has very high replay value.

Overall: 59/70 84% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

If you enjoyed Imagine: Figure Skating and Imagine: Champions on Ice, you may also like the other Imagine Games which you can view here. You may also like Princess Debut, which I love and plan to review shortly. There’s also a game called Princess on Ice that you may enjoy – I have not played that one just yet myself.

Imagine: Figure Skater Nintendo DS Retro Videogame Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News