Viewing the Autumn Colours in 2018



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It won’t surprise anyone that I’m heading back to Japan in November to view the Autumn colours. I really enjoyed travelling with Inside Japan last year so I’m touring with them again, plus a tiny bit of self-guided touring at the end.

I’ve already organised a couple of meetups with online friends in Japan, and I’m happy to meet others. A summary of the trip is after the jump if you’re interested in catching up. Continue reading

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)


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Japanese Theatrical Poster (Source: Wikipedia)

The charming tale of a boy and his sister starving to death, as narrated by his ghost.

There really is no way to characterise Grave of the Fireflies[1] except as unremittingly bleak. Whilst there are moments of beauty, even joy, as Seita and his sister Setsuko live the last of their lives in the dying days of World War II, there is always the reminder that this ends badly.

That many of the beautiful moments are bound up in the oh-so-ephemeral fireflies only drives the point home. Continue reading

Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)


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Theatrical Poster (Source: Wikipedia)

Laputa: Castle in the Sky was the first film to be produced by Studio Ghibli[1], and was an auspicious start for the studio.

The film opens with air pirates attacking a luxury airship liner to steal an amulet from a girl named Sheeta. Sheeta has previously been kidnapped by secret police and uses the confusion to try and escape, only to lose her grip and plummet from the sky.

Or does she? Cut to the credits with some fascinating imagery of a civilisation in the sky falling to earth in an unexplained disaster. Continue reading

Toji no Miko (2018): Final Thoughts



Source: Crunchyroll

Well, that finished I guess. Toji no Miko (aka Katana Maidens) basically survived on the watch list by being streaming on Saturday’s when I was recovering from a personal training session[1].

Despite my snark during my midseason update, the second arc of Toji no Miko did work better than the first. I think that this was due to greater familiarity with the characters, plus some actual depth of characterisation, that allowed the charm of the show to carry a bit more weight. Continue reading