Preview: Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the fireflies

What: Grave of the Fireflies (film)
Where: State Theater

When: Wednesday 5 November, 7pm
How Much: $8 students, $10 general admissions

Released by Studio Ghibli in 1988, ‘Grave of the Fireflies’ is based on a semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by Akiyuki Nosaka. Written and directed by Isao Takahata.

Set in the Japanese city of Kobe, this film follows two siblings, Seita and Setsuko, as they struggle through the last months of the Second World War.


Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service


Released in Japan in 1989, ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ was written, produced and directed by Hayao Miyazaki as an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Eiko Kadono. The film was brought to the US in 1997 by The Walt Disney Corporation.

The story follows Kiki, a young witch, who goes to town with her black cat, Jiji, to make a living on her mandatory year away from her family to train. Kiki makes friends with the villagers as she delivers packages around town. A young by named Tombo follows her around. He is an inventor of flying machines and admires her flying abilities.

Kiki has a crisis of identity as she momentarily loses an the ability to fly and has a harder time understanding her feline companion. Kiki regains self confidence after she saves Tombo and others from an airship accident. She remains in the town and resumes her delivery service in contentment.


The film is very much about coming of age, moving away from home and the familiar to grow from a child into a young adult.

There are noticeable differences in plot between the Japanese and American versions of this film. In the American version, Kiki reunites with Jiji which does not occur in the original Japanese. Cultural references are also changed to become more timeless and thus more relatable over time.


The next film in The State Theater Ghibli Series will show on Wednesday 5 November at 7pm, ‘Grave of the Fireflies.’

Preview: Castle in the Sky


What: Castle in the Sky

Where: The State Theater

When: Wednesday 22 October 2014 – 7pm

How Much: $8 students, $10 general admissions, $7.50 Michigan Theater Members


The third film in Michigan Theater’s ‘The Studio Ghibli Collection: A 30-Year-Retrospective,’ ‘Castle in the Sky’ is a masterpiece of creative genius.

Released in 1986, ‘Castle in the Sky,’ written and directed by Hayao Myiazaki, was the first film produced by Studio Ghibli.

The story takes place in a steam-punk world, where flying ships are common. Sheeta and Pazu, a young boy and girl, race to discover the fabled floating city of Laputa before a foreign army and pirates discover it and harness it’s great and terrible power as a war machine.

This wonderful film is one of my favorites of Myiazaki’s creations.

Review: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind – not as enthustastic as my colleague


‘Nausicaä of Valley of the Wind’ begins after the apocalyptic Seven Days of Fire war, in which human’s have basically destroyed the world. All that remains are a few small kingdoms and the ‘Toxic Jungle’ inhabited by gigantic mutant insects, where everything is deadly to humans.

Princess Nausicaä has managed to enter the toxic jungle and relate to it in a familiar and friendly way, learning from it and searching for a cure for the humans and the plight of the world.

The Tolmekian Kingdom seeks to destroy the toxic jungle with the weapon that began the Seven Days of Fire in the first place. Nausicaä works to prevent the use of this destructive weapon and discovers the symbiotic relationship between the toxic jungle and human civilization, as it exists. The plants of the jungle serve to purify the toxic water, tainted by centuries of human contamination and the war.

Nausicaä saves the jungle and her kingdom in the valley of the wind and befriends the monstrous insects from the toxic jungle.


‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’ was never one of my favorite Hayao Miyazaki films. However, his focus on a young female character as the savior of the planet is in keeping with many themes reverberating through Miyazaki’s films.

Released in 1984, ‘Nausicaä’ has themes of environmental preservation, the negative effects of human civilization on the planet and the dangers of nuclear warfare.

The box office success of this film lead to the establishment of Japanese anime company Studio Ghibli by Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki, the latter two were producer of many Miyazaki films.

The State Theater’s ‘Studio Ghibli’ series continues on Wednesday 23 October, 7pm with ‘Castle in the Sky.’

REVIEW: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Hayao Miyazaki is someone that never ceases to amaze me.  This maverick in the anime film industry has one of the largest filmographies out there, and all of his movies are worthy of praise. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is no exception.

Even Nausicaa agrees.  Source:

I walked into the State Theater with a sense of expectation. My first experiences with Studio Ghibli movies were when I was about nine years old. Toonami, a special weekend block on the old Cartoon Network, showed preview segments for what they called a “Month of Miyazaki.” If I remember well, the movies they showed over the course of that month were Princess Mononoke, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Princess Mononoke, arguably Miyazaki’s best film, is very much about the interaction between humans and nature. Laputa: Castle in the Sky, on the other hand, is about the human fascination with technology. It’s interesting to note that the same underlying themes exist in nearly all Miyazaki films. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind thus felt like a portmanteau of Princess Mononoke and Laputa, as it combined Miyazaki’s fascination with technology (mainly aviation) and his feelings on the role of humans within nature. It’s curious too, that Nausicaä was one of his first films.

Nausicaä starts out in distress as a large insect called an Ohm is chasing after a local swordsman, Lord Yupa. Our title heroine comes to the rescue and stuns the Ohm, thus saving Lord Yupa’s life. We soon find out that the reason the Ohm was unhappy was that there were gunshots fired in its habitat. The rest of the movie focuses on this theme of humans within nature, with the trigger-happy Tolmekian army attempting to control the Earth’s natural resources for iron ore. This enrages the Ohms, who can be thought as a metaphor for mother Earth. Mother Earth comes out on top, as she does in all Miyazaki films, and peace is restored to the land. The cathartic ending resounded favorably amongst the audience, who were expecting nothing less from Studio Ghibli.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was released in Japan in 1984 and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and based on Miyazaki’s Manga of the same name. It has received much critical acclaim and is regarded as the kickoff film for Studio Ghibli.

Preview: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind


What: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Where: The State Theater
When: Wednesday 15 October
How Much: $8 students, $10 general admissions, $7.50 Michigan Theater Members

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is the second film in Michigan Theater’s ‘The Studio Ghibli Collection: A 30-Year-Retrospective,’ which began with Howl’s Moving Castle this past Saturday’s midnight movie and extends into December.

Princess Nausicaä fights to save the damaged planet and surviving people from destroying themselves and each other. Hayao Miyazaki’s post-apocalyptic animated film was released in 1984.