Tag: My Neighbor Totoro

#TuesdayThoughts on the Miyazaki Effect

 

Conning wizards, building businesses, chopping arms off—the characters in Miyazaki movies are always getting so much done. This, in essence, is the Miyazaki effect – you see all these amazing characters taking control of their lives, and not only are you inspired, you’re mysteriously motivated. Before you @me, I love all kinds of Gibli movies, but gracious, isn’t there just something else about Miyazaki? The energy is quite distinct.

 

Image via Pinterest

 

I doubt it’s just me. You watch them run through the forest and scrub floors, and suddenly you want to clean your whole house and maybe bake something. I can’t claim credit for the term’s coinage—I’m referring to a post I saw some months ago, in which the poster outlines this ‘Miyazaki Effect’. The feeling of energy and organizational ability that comes out of seeing Howl’s or the bath house’s newly sparkling floors. There’s something there.

 

Gif via Giphy

 

Not to get too deep, but I do think a big part of it is the feeling the movies give you. No, they’re not really optimistic, as such—Nausicaa’s dress is that magical blue from the blood of the creatures she was trying to save. Calcifer is doused. A river will always be a river. I think this is better. The blind optimism of many things, especially much children’s media, makes it unconvincing. Miyazaki’s movies don’t fall prey to this flaw, and I think the reason is simple. They’re not optimistic, as such—they’re hopeful.

 

Gif via Giphy

 

When Kiki snatches a broom and runs through the street, trying to get airborne, you can feel it. It’s the way we’ve all been down and still fought our way into the sky. It’s how Satsuki runs after Mei, screaming, untiring. The magic in Miyazaki movies, the good, helpful magic, is all hope. Howl expands his home hoping his new family will stay. The cat bus arrives when the sisters want to see their mother, want her to get better.

 

Image via The Ink and Pixel Club

 

Nausicaa wants peace, thinks it’s worth nearly dying for, and her faith and conviction lead not only to peace, but healing—physical, yes, on the Ohmu’s glowing whiskers, but also peace for her people, the idea that the choice is not being crushed by empires or poison forests. The world seems like it’s already ended, like they’re counting down the days, but she falls through to a place where the air is clean, where it is healed. She tells us it’s never too late to start trying. To love the world.

 

Image via My Media Chops

Sure, the stakes in our lives might be lower. Or at least a little more surmountable. But it’s the same feeling that makes you leave the movie straining for the sky. Even if it’s just the energy you needed to do your dishes, its basis is the same—the hope that even though it’s hard work, life can be better. You can make it so much better.

 

 

Featured image via Pinterest

 

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The Top 10 Most Mouthwatering Foods in Children’s Fiction

We’ve all craved a magical food that doesn’t actually exist, or we’ve read about a real food that didn’t live up to the hype of our childhood imaginations. Here are some of the foods (in no particular order) that still seem to appear in my dreams.

 

1. Everlasting Gobstoppers (Charlie and The Chocolate Factory)

 

Willy Wonka with an Everlasting Gobstopper

Image via iCollector

 

There are what feels like hundreds of candies within the walls of Willy Wonka’s factory, all of which sound absolutely mouthwatering. However, everlasting gobstoppers stick out to me because they actually exist. You can go down to your local corner store and buy a box right now if you really wanted to.

But you don’t want to. Because the real everlasting gobstoppers are flavorless little balls of cement. And the fictional ones are, well, fictional.

#JusticeForEverlastingGobstoppers

 

 

2. Fruit From the Toffee Tree (The Chronicles of Narnia)

 

An illustration of the toffee tree

Image via Citizen of Anvard

 

C.S. Lewis doesn’t do the most creative job of describing this treat. The fruit falls from a tree, and it’s described as being “not exactly like toffee – softer for one thing, and juicy – but like fruit which reminds one of toffee.

The tree formed when a toffee candy was planted in the ground in the moment of Narnia’s creation, and it grew at an incredible rate because the song that brought Narnia to life was still clinging to the world.

Must taste pretty good, with an epic backstory like that.

 

3. ‘Eat Me’ Cookies (Alice in Wonderland)

 

'eat me' cookies from Alice in Wonderland

Image via Amino Apps

 

There are a couple of bad side effects when you snack on these magical cookies. In Alice in Wonderland, Alice takes a bite of one these and grows to be about the height of a one-story house.

Yet somehow, that just makes them more tempting. What’s life without a little risk of becoming gargantuan?

 

4. Pasta Puttanesca (a Series of Unfortunate Events)

 

Pasta Puttanesca inspired by 'A Series of Unfortunate Events'

Image via Fiction-Food Café

 

Pasta puttanesca is a very real dish, and something you can order at most Italian restaurants. However, sometimes the way something tastes in reality just can’t compare to the way it tastes in your imagination.

In A Series of Unfortunate Events, the pasta puttanesca serves as a small amount of comfort in the bleak world that the Baudelaire children have found themselves in after the death of their parents. Something about the warm, homey feeling that it provides makes it an absolutely crave worthy dish.

 

5. Green Eggs and Ham (Green Eggs and Ham, obviously)

 

The cover of 'Green Eggs and Ham'

Image via io9

 

Sam-I-Am was pretty insistent about this dish. If someone follows you from a house, to a box, to a tree, to a train, to the dark, to the rain, to a boat just to get you to try a bite of their food then they’re probably insane.

But they probably also have some pretty good eats.

 

 

6. Leek and POTATO sOUP (Coraline)

 

Potato and leek soup

Image via Food Network

 

Coraline isn’t particularly excited by this dish, choosing instead to stick with her frozen mini-pizzas. However, considering the themes of family and parental love in this novel, this soup dish gives off a cozy and homey sort of vibe.

And if someone hands you a warm pot of homemade soup, that someone must love you an awful lot! Certainly more than your eyeless, soul stealing, puppet mom.

 

7. Saffron Tea (Kiki’s Delivery Service)

 

A moment from 'My Neighbor Totoro,' another Studio Ghibli film

Image via Studio Ghibli

 

Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation studio, has a knack for animating foods in the most delicious looking way possible. This particular gif is from My Neighbor Totoro, as the saffron tea from Kiki’s Delivery Service didn’t make it’s way out of the book.

In the book the tea serves as a reminder of Kiki’s home while her travels become too much to handle. The smell and the warmth remind Kiki of her mother, and the memory helps keep her spirits high while she’s speeding around on her broom.

 

8. Unicorn Blood (Harry Potter Series)

 

A bleeding unicorn from 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'

Image via Sci-Fi Stack Exchange

 

This one is a bit macabre, but there’s something undeniably intriguing about the unicorn blood in the Harry Potter.

The golden trio (plus Draco) are serving detention in the Forbidden Forest with Hagrid, when they stumble upon a pool of shiny silver goo. When they see a shadowy figure knelt over the body of the unicorn, the kids all run away screaming, except for Harry who stumbles over a tree root.

He’s saved by a centaur, the story moves on, and no one even asks for a sip of that shiny, magic goop.

Maybe this is why I never got my Hogwarts letter.

 

9. Magic Beans (Jack and the Beanstalk)

 

Some perfect beans

Image via Tourism Currents

 

If a bag of beans is worth selling your family’s only source of income, they better be some damn good beans.

 

 

10. Giant Chocolate Cake (Matilda)

 

The moment where Bruce Bogtrotter must eat a whole cake in 'Matilda'

Image via Giphy

 

Bruce Bogtrotter is one of literature’s bravest heroes. He’s punished for his humanity (what child wouldn’t try to sneak a piece of cake?) and still emerges triumphant despite all odds.

While this scene can be a bit nauseating, there’s always something enticing about the thought of having a triple layered chocolate cake plopped down directly in front of you.

Plus, you get to dive straight into that sucker fork first.

Might not be such a punishment after all.

 

 

 

Featured image via Simplemost