This post is pretty much a discussion about Ghibli movies:
What was the first Ghibli project that you ever saw? Do you have favorites / least favorites? What stands out about them to you that makes them so attractive? Do you see other studios that create a similar effect? How do you feel about Miyazaki's comments about how modern anime is moving away from realism?
For me, I love the detail. There are MANY stories that take place in other worlds, anime and otherwise. However, many Ghibli movies have a way of making the worlds look real by adding tiny details. It makes you believe that the protagonists aren't the only real characters in the world, that when the protagonist leaves the screen, life continues on.
Examples: Homes and buildings that Look like they're actually inhabited.
(click spoiler for reference images)
Examples: Realistic Touches of Nature
The field isn't just grass, it has tiny flowers in it. The lamp draws moths and beetles. The sounds of cicadas and wildlife. The wind randomly moving something gently in the background. Imperfect / realistic layout (like old barn fences falling down and being covered by shrubs)
(click spoiler for references)
Example: Knick-knacks / personal touches and belongings laying about in a way as though someone actually put them there. They're not minamalistic or overly stylized as if fake.
Examples: Down Time. It's impossible to always 100% be dedicated to your goal. Your mind wanders, you need food, you need to earn money, you get bored, you need a break, or you whatever. It helps us see what the world is actually like during non-major plot points. Plus, this helps us get to know the characters true (non crisis-mode) personalities a little bit better, if utilized properly. After all, doesn't a nice relaxing meal really look more tasty after a moment of chaos. You can enjoy it more.
Add that to a great plot, and it feels like the world is almost real.
That's something that many fantasy / fictions stories don't have. In most stories, it feels like the only people living and thinking are the protagonists while the rest of the world is flat and fades into oblivion when the protagonist leaves it behind. So, it makes me really sad to know that this is becoming more rare.
So, your turn. How about you? What draws you to a Ghibili movie? Even though Ghibili has closed down, are you expectant, excited for other up-and-coming studios that exhibit the same stuff?
I adore the focus on character and growth, with an emphasis on adventure rather merely aiming to teach complex or "deep" themes. The reason I mention the latter is that many narrative in japanese animation seek to cover and convey ideas that many would consider a mark of maturity, yet the same focus is criticism for being too juvenile in how it handle and discusses these matters, with a black and white oversimplification that should not honestly be endorsed.
For this reason, Ghibli deserves commendation for being humble and simple for its approach. These themes are considered an inherent part of the world and story that is crafted, a integral struggle set before the heroes we see undertake these journeys. They're not considered anymore of an ends than characters, which is an important distinction. Every facet is consider an end of itself, and by placing such a focus on character, it makes it easier to understand and be enthralled in their struggles whose themes have great bearing on our comparatively banal lives.
Characters aren't merely reduced to roles in a tragedy. They are the tragedy, the comedy, the horror. This is emphasize in their dynamism, the juxtaposition of their previous selves to the ones we see off at the end.
Essentially, it doesn't delude itself by treating its subject matter as something "special" and "highbrow", but something to be discuss in part due to its ubiquity, and the people who undergo them.
That, and a breathtaking adventure is always my favorite genre. Ghibli movies feel so free.
Introvert in the streets, Extraperverted in the sheets!