Kaguya-hime no monogatari (2013)
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Very good movie. The animation is mesmerizing when the main character takes off running with a whirlwind of mixed colors. really amazing. Nice style of animation.
Finally! It has been almost two years since I've seen an anime movie that moved me. A Ghibli production, I should've known. While The Wind Rises did almost nothing for me, Isao Takahata's swan song maybe even trumped his debut (Grave of the Fireflies). It's almost impossible not to compare Hayao Miyazaki's final film to the one of Takahata. Both are founding fathers of Studio Ghibli and both announced their retirement in the same year. But unlike Takahata, Miyazaki's last work was a bit too much history and a bit too little fantasy. Something I really adore in Ghibli productions. Over all I like Miyazaki better than Takahata exactly because of the fantasy aspect in their works. Now the rolls are reversed: Miyazaki showed us his take on the interbellum in Japan through the eyes of Jiro Horikoshi, while Takahata brought us a captivating vision of one of the oldest Japanese folktales: "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter" from the 10th century. His drawing is primitive and almost the antipode of Miyazaki's more refined style. Because of that I suppose some people will find this too childish or even amateuristic. I see it as an authentic and functional (an old tale requires not too sophisticated drawings) asset to this movie. For me it probably wouldn't have worked any other way. Last year I was a bit disappointed by the lack of truely majestic anime (referring to Wolf Children and A Letter to Momo) and after seeing The Wind Rises I gave up hope for this year too. Now that I've seen The Tale of Princess Kaguya, I again look forward to some new anime productions; Hiromasa Yonebayashi's When Marnie Was There in particular!
Isao Takahata's last film, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, is based on the legend of a tiny princess fallen from Heaven, found in a stalk of bamboo, raised by a kindly couple, and eventually brought to court to become a noblewoman. Utterly charming, it very much plays as myth or fairy tale. Its gorgeous distinctive look - a sketchbook filled with watercolors - is perfect for the subject matter too. Not only for its picture book quality, but because the beauty of nature is an important theme, and the film, like a nature artist, takes the time to sketch flora and fauna into its narrative. Nature must be at the center of the film because it's the reason a heavenly princess would want to experience earthly matters. Kaguya's happiness fades when she finds her way to the court. After all, isn't that what she in part escaped? Earth isn't the opposite of Heaven, but a middle ground, where the aristocracy, reaching for the celestial, becomes its mirror. Or near enough. All the while, losing sight of things that are more true and more beautiful. And given Isao Takahata's recent passing, there's something elegiac and more profoundly sad about the ending.
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In 5 official lists
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This movie ranks #38 in IMDb's Animation Top 50
This movie ranks #42 in IMDb's Family Top 50
This movie ranks #68 in Paste's The 100 Best Anime Movies of All Time
This movie ranks #82 in BFI's 100 Animated Feature Films
This movie ranks #569 in TSPDT's 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films