This should be the programmer’s song and their song was yours!
This should be the programmer’s song and their song was yours!
Zoey's powers are glitching again on #ZoeysPlaylist. Read on for a preview of "Zoey's Extraordinary mystery"
Zoey’s powers are glitching again on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 2 Episode 9, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Mystery.” Zoey visits a medium this week, and suddenly, her powers start acting weird again. That’s all we really know about the main story. We don’t know why she visits the medium or even how her powers are glitching, only that Zoey thinks the two things are connected. While we can’t…
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Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist but with Shakespearean monologues
INCREDIBLE. I N C R E D I B L E
as always, this week’s episode blew my mind
Mandy Moore continues to outdo herself so I gotta talk about the songs first
need you tonight-oh my god my bi heart can’t take it, that choreo and the vocals-just impeccable
don’t leave me this way-an absolute bop, I love the disco vibes and the pure joy of it. I’m so glad to see everyone appreciating Zoey
I COULD WRITE SO MANY ESSAYS ABOUT KISS ME. it’s always been one of my favorite songs and has always made me cry (shoutout to mtg in umpo mean gurlz), the one shot was so incredibly beautiful and everyone’s vocals and the pure romantic energy of it all and-
what can I even say about crimson love except that it was a delightfully cringey bop that’ll def be stuck in my head forever, David’s reactions were priceless, and-as a ginger myself-I am LIVING
and into you?!?! no words. NO. WORDS. trying to think of words and no words are coming. the way she leaned into it and actually danced with him??????? the tenderness in his vocal quality???? I’m gonna-I just-AGH
I need to act a scene with Mary Steenburgen before time runs out on this earth
the scene with Maggie and Zoey in the bedroom was absolute perfection; I’d almost forgotten how much I’d missed Maggie’s presence and their relationship
MCTOBIN MCTOBIN MCTOBIN MCTOBIN OH MY GOD OH MY GOD I’m absolutely living for the growth of their relationship-the banter-the BANTER-not to mention their little bit in kiss me, the choreo, I’m swooning
hey siri how do I become Morgan Taylor Campbell
I know I say this in every post but this entire cast is just too talented and wonderful and beautiful it’s probably against the law
the fight between Zoey and Max made me cringe in every possible way but the way they made up is definitely one of my favorite scenes of theirs; it’s so important to see how much they genuinely value each other
MO GOT THE SWEAR GUITAR TITLE CARD
I’m absolutely loving Perry and Mo’s relationship and can’t wait to see where else it goes with the kids and everything-and I love the way that Zoey addressed the situation in that last conversation
also WE NEED MORE PERRY SONGS because DAVID ST LOUIS SIR THE VOCALS HOW DO YOU DO THAT
I’m just loving David more and more as the season goes on; I hope we get to see more of him as a musician
the scene with David, Maggie, and Miles becoming a little band of their own...my heart
Emily and David this episode oh my god
I somehow cringed at and genuinely felt for Aiden at the same time, I’ll miss him
I really hope we get more interactions between Zoey and Tatania, their dynamic is really interesting and I just love Alvina August
of course the lack of Leif was a bummer, as it is when any character is missing for an episode, but I would have loved a post-kiss-me scene where he and Zoey are kind of just Standing In Solidarity™️ at a party where everyone else is coupled up (although I feel like the writers may have stopped that from happening on purpose so they wouldn’t have to address that there’s actually some potential there)
anyway I am Feeling A Lot Of Emotions
a phenomenal episode. just phenomenal. can’t wait to find out what happens next week!!!!!
It's Zoey's 30th birthday on #ZoeysPlaylist. Read on for a preview of "Zoey's Extraordinary Birthday"
It’s Zoey’s big day on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 2 Episode 8, ” Zoey’s Extraordinary Birthday.” Zoey is turning the big 3-0 and -in very un-Zoey-like fashion – she’s planning a big shindig to celebrate. But, a big party isn’t the only thing happening on “Zoey’s Extraordinary Birthday.” The episode also sees the return of the Max-Zoey-Simon love triangle. Only now, it’s a love…
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Cast of Zoeys Extraordinary Playlist to host the 71st Annual ACE Eddie Awards #ACEEddies #EddieAwards
American Cinema Editors (ACE) announced today that the ensemble cast of NBC’s hit musical comedy “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” including Jane Levy, Mary Steenburgen, Skylar Astin, Alex Newell and John Clarence Stewart, will host the 71st Annual ACE Eddie Awards. “We are so excited to have this talented cast bring their originality, triple-threat talent and great vibes as hosts of the Eddies…
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For some reason, the book at Buddy's dad's publishing company that was about a puppy and a pigeon was tanking. I'm going to blame it on the fact that the last two pages were missing because I would want to read that book. Especially because they left out major details. Plot?? Names??
50 +5 for Mary Steenburgen +5 for John C. Reilly -10 for overgrown man-children -10 for R-slur -10 for both parents having to leave work to sort out the bullshit of their adult children -10 for Derek yelling at his wife for stupid shit -5 for near-car-accident -10 for F-slur +10 for punching Derek in the face -10 for cheating on your husband +10 for Seth Rogen +5 for Chewbacca mask -10 for racism -10 for all the crying +5 for kind of pulling it together +5 for Brennan’s song -10 for mixing in “Boats ‘n’ Hoes” +5 for centaur -10 for awkward hug +5 for Dale telling Alice it’s over with +2 for neat credits +2 for after-credit scene
Overlooked Animation: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)
Director: Isao Takahata Studio: Studio Ghibli Voice Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Darren Criss, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Lucy Liu, Hynden Walch, George Segal, James Marsden, Oliver Platt, Daniel Dae Kim, Dean Cain, Beau Bridges, John Cho (English dub) Short Consensus: While Hayao Miyazaki is the voice of Studio Ghibli, Isao Takahata is an underdog of the premier anime studio. And his simple storytelling works well on this adaptation of a local folklore about a girl born from a bamboo stalk. The watercolor aesthetic gives it a beautiful and timeless quality. And the journey of Kaguya itself is compelling to follow. All the more that can be said is kudos to Takahata’s swan song.
Well, shit. That’s another 98%.
I’M NOT TRYING TO DO THIS! It’s just...this one’s also really good, and I can’t find any significant flaws in it! Except for...well, one. And it’s...the same one as Spirited Away BUT SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT!
Look, I’ll go into ore detail this time, but I really didn’t think Spirited Away was going to be matched, and...well, it was. Because this movie is stellar. It’s gorgeous, it’s tragic, it’s fantastic fantasy, and it’s genuinely just a very good movie. But I do have a little more to say this time.
Starting with the original story. You gotta go back to the 800s for this one. No missing 1 there, I’m talking the 9th century! The original story is a little different than the movie’s version, but it plays it mostly straight. The bamboo-cutter isn’t quite as gung-ho about the whole “royalty” thing, and her growth is actually faster in the original story.
Most of the other beats are the same, although some minute things differ. She actually becomes friends with the Emperor, although she definitely doesn’t get together with him. But there is a MAJOR omission in this adaptation: the elixir of immortality.
Remember that anime I was talking about, Kaguya-sama: Love is War? It has an episode where this story specifically is brought up, and the elixir of immortality is a major feature of it. See, the Elixir is actually what one needs to survive on the Moon, and the mortal Kaguya drinks it once the Celestial Parade comes to take her back. She sends some of it to the Emperor with a letter before she puts on the forget-me-robe, and then she leaves.
That’s where the movie ends, and I think that’s an amazing place for it to end, but the original story continues. Kaguya’s earthly parents become ill, and the Emperor is given the letter and elixir. In his sorrow, the dumbass writes her a letter and elixir and has his men BURN it on the highest mountaintop, sending his message to the princess. The smoke from that fire was ever-burning and immortal, and the mountain was renamed as “The Immortal Mountain”, or...
Yeah! It’s Mount Fuji! Neat, huh? Anyway, I called the Emperor a dumbass for burning the Elixir. He did it because he didn’t want to live forever without her, but DUDE! Maybe she would’ve COME BACK FOR YOU ONE DAY! But now, she’s gonna live forever, and you’re dead as shit. Buddy...think these things through.
So, yeah, that’s the difference between the two, and I actually quite like the movie’s version. Didn’t need the extra stuff with the elixir, because this didn’t need to be a love story. Instead, it’s a story that celebrates human life and life on Earth, as Kaguya’s last speech outright says. And yeah, that’s kinda beautiful. Hell, why do you think the backgrounds are so lush in this movie? Because it’s not just about Kaguya...it’s about life on Earth.
So, with that, let’s get into the Review, huh? This movie was fantastic, and I do think it deserves a Review in full. Check out all three parts of the Recap here, here, and here!
Cast and Acting: 9/10
James Caan was...not the best choice for Miyatsuki in the dub. He really clashes with the rest of the cast for me, and with the setting as well. But he’s the only performance that I’d consider bad. Not even bad, just ill-fitting! Put simply, it’s only really OK, when it isn’t outright jarring. But everybody else? Fantastic. Mary Steenburgen is arguably the best of the cast, pulling double-duty as Narrator and Mom, and that’s to say nothing bad about Chloe Grace Moretz as the Princess herself! Darren Criss, Lucy Liu, Hynden Walch, James Marsden, even Geaorge Segal and Dean Cain all do a pretty good job! I mean...fuck Dan Cain, but he did OK here.
And yeah, this is the dub cast, because I unfortunately didn’t have access to the sub. But are they good? Yeah, they’re still good. Ghibli has good dubs, what can I tell ya? Except for James Caan. That wasn’t the best choice.
Plot and Writing: 10/10
It’s fantastic. Not only is it a great adaptation of the original story, but it’s a great interpretation of it as well! It takes the original story, but gives it a new meaning as compared to the original story, and builds the screenplay from there! It’s...it’s genuinely one of the best adaptations I’ve ever seen of a story from classic mythology and folklore. Credit to Isao Takahata and Riko Sakaguchi, because they did a stellar job with this adaptation.
Can we...can we do this for other mythologies, please? I want a Paul Bunyan movie that’s actually about the value of natural wonders, or a Hercules movie about the nature of immortality through deeds, or true forgiveness for one’s actions, or...I just need more adaptations like this! This film made me want to see a change in film, and it helped to change my tastes a bit as well. And really...what better compliment can a film be given?
Directing and Cinematography: 10/10
Isao Takahata was one of Hayao Miyazaki’s contemporaries, and it FUCKING SHOWS. As does the cinematography skill of Keisuke Nakamura, because this film is...wonderful. I don’t really have anything to say. It’s just an amazingly storyboarded film. And once again, that’s closely linked to...
Production and Art Design: 10/10
The artistry is unparalleled in a lot of ways, but not specifically because of skill and detail. No, it’s the stylization of the film that sets it apart, and it’s gorgeous. Japan’s art is best known worldwide from the period of minimalist watercolor paintings they produced, and that period is well-replicated and represented in this...just genuinely gorgeous movie. The art director is Kazuo Oga, and he’s apparently, like...amazing? He’s worked on a BUTT-ton of great looking films, including many of the Ghibli films. His experience shows, even though has bee his last film he’s worked on in that capacity, so far. Which is a shame, because...I mean, come on. It’s amazing.
Music and Editing: 10/10
Joe Hisaishi. Yup. Kiki’s, Spirited Away, and this movie. He’s a goddamn musical prince, and it’s gorgeous. Not a lofi mix this time, but definitely some good background music for your life. It’s just beautiful, and I can’t recommend this music enough.
And the editing? Toshihiko Kojima is fantastic as well, and the sound and visual editing is essentially flawless here. I just...THIS MOVIE IS SO GOOD YOU GUYS
I know, a 98% twice in a row is ridiculous...but...
Can you blame me? This movie is fantastic, and basically flawless. I’ve said all I can say about it. Well, other than to say that you need to see this movie if you haven’t already. And NOW I don’t think I’m topping this one. Watch me say that, and then the next movie’s also gonna be amazing.
Well, I’ll tempt fate. What are the odds, right? Right? Just to test that, I’m leaving Japan finally. But, that doesn’t mean I have to leave animation, right?
March 6, 2021: Wolfwalkers (2020)
This film is gorgeous, can I just say?
Not a surprise at this point, I know. But do you have any idea how many GIFs there are of this movie on this website? A lot. A lot is the answer. Which is great, considering the fact that I haven’t made any GIFs for this one, and I sometimes have to make a bunch. Even for Spirited Away, I made two, but this one? Nothin’. This movie is well-loved, as it should be.
See? There’s another one! OK, enough of that. Back to the movie, yeah? Time for Part 3! Seems like overkill to do three parts, but there’s a lot of movie packed into a 2 hour package, what can I say? Parts 1 and 2 are here and here, respectively!
OK, look, fact of the matter is that Miyatsuki hasn’t been...the best dad in the last four years. But he doesn’t want his daughter to be THAT miserable, so he relays the message of refusal to the Mikado, who doesn’t know how to take no for an answer. Also, he has a massive chin and TINY HANDS. Just sayin’.
He goes to the mansion on a surprise visit, and hears her playing the koto. He’s also the first potential suitor to see her face, and notes her angelic beauty. He then...
Yeah, she refuses again, and he just says, “Naaaah, you’re my wife now, baby! And in response, she -
Ooh, OK, Shadowcat, what the fuuuuuuuuck? He asks just to see her, and he will leave. She lets him do so, and he keeps his promise and withdraws...for now. And she’s imposingly terrifying when he’s there. But once he leaves...she melts.
From that point onwards, she goes out and stares at the moon at night, and does little else during the day. Her parents question this, as well as her depression. While she insists that nothing is wrong, it’s obvious that something it wrong. And she finally reveals her origins while breaking down.
Kaguya is from the moon, and was not fully aware of it until the Mikado’s visit. She’s been begging them for the last few days to let her stay. However, they are still coming for her on the fifteenth day of the month. And the reason is that because...she’s unhappy. Yeah, all the shit that Miyatsuki did was what he thought she wanted, or what he thought would be best for her. Shame he never FUCKING ASKED HER!
Yeah, even now, he’s asking her why she would do this TO THEM! OK, I’m gonna say it, dude is being a SHITTY DAD. Like, goddamn. When the Mikado grabbed her, her heart instinctively cried out that she didn’t want to be here anymore. And so, they’re coming for her, even though she would rather stay.
And now that she’s leaving, Miyatsuki FINALLY comes to his senses, and refuses to let her go back. However, he still doesn’t really get the point: she’s going. He’s not going to stop what’s coming. Mom seems to know this, and does her best to cheer her up with the children’s song from earlier. But this brings back the mysterious lyrics from before.
As for what it means, that still isn’t quite clear. But still, it brings her once again to tears. This also begins another recollection, with some clarification.
A woman came to the Moon from Earth long ago, and she sang this song for her, while crying. When you get to the Moon, all sorrows disappear, and you are content. And yet, when singing this song, she would cry. Which is why Hime broke the rules to come to Earth. She wanted to understand these emotions for herself.
It’s at this point that Hime decides that she wants to go home, back to the villages in the mountains. Her mom arranges a carriage for her, and they head there, allowing Hime to go back home. And it’s there that she reunites with Sutemaru, who’s grown into a man, complete with wife and child.
She tells him that she missed him very much, and that she would’ve been happy if she had stayed with him. While he doubts this, due to his poverty, she insists that she would have been happy. But of course...they’re coming for her. Not that Sutemaru cares, as they declare their long forgotten love for each other.
And Hime’s finally so happy that she could fly. And she does with Sutemaru.
It’s pretty goddamn beautiful. And this beautiful sequence is interrupted...by the appearance of the Moon. They’re here.
And then Sutemaru wakes up. It was a dream, it would seem. And yet, on the fifteenth day of the month...the Celestial Parade arrives from the Moon to take her away.
Miyatsuki’s private army tries to fire arrows at them, but it’s unsuccessful. Everybody’s here at this parade, including fucking BUDDHA. The parade makes it to Hime and her mother. And despite her mother’s grip...they take her. And it’s both extremely beautiful, and...haunting. I mean that.
Her earthly parents try to get to her as she’s being readied to leave. She asks them not to erase her memories until she can say a proper goodbye to them. The spirits allow this, but not for long. As they’re about to do it, she gives a speech about the virtues of life of Earth...and then it’s over.
The Celestial Parade takes her away, back to the Moon, as her heartbroken parents watch on, helpless to do anything. All of those whom she met and loved during her time there stare up at the Moon. But she remembers none of it. And she looks back at a mortal life that is only a beautiful dream to her now.
...98%. Shit. See you in the Review.
Am I going to watch Kaguya-sama again after this?
It is a funny show, so I’m probably gonna watch a compilation or something. Anyway, where was I? OH RIGHT! The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Recap Part Two! This movie is beautiful so far, and I’m enjoying this adaptation of the classic story reinterpreted. Told the girlfriend about this, and she mentioned one of her favorite games: Okami.
It’s based quite heavily on Japanese mythology, and also has a similar aesthetic to this movie. Rumors persist that they’ll be rebooting this, so fingers crossed! Anyway, let’s get back to the movie! First part of the Recap is right here!
After the dream/return to the palace, Hime seems to accept her fate as Princess Kaguya, and is no longer the rebellious and rambunctious kid she was before. And yes, I’ll be referring to her as Kaguya from now on...until the time is right. She studies (and suffers) in silence, clearly unhappy and depressed.
Miyatsuki either doesn’t understand it, or is completely ignorant of her suffering. He brings her a pet bird to keep, which she somewhat brushes off. However, she lets the bird go, as if wishing she could fly away with it.
But time once again passes, and Kaguya grows more beautiful, and the rumors of this beauty spread. People gather outside to palace to get a glimpse of her, and Miyatsuki has made sure to never show her face publicly. Her servant, Me no Warawa (Hynden Walch) is accosted outside of the palace, with a pile of messages and letters for her. She also brings cherry blossoms to the essentially captive Kaguya, for which she is thankful.
Words of her beauty and bamboo-based origins are also spread by Akita to a group of five suitors, all of whom are completely entranced. These five suitors are a classic part of the story, and are also represented in the recent anime based upon it (Kaguya-sama: Love is War).
The five suitors LITERALLY race there, spurred on by Akita’s...really horny speech,not gonna lie, dude says that this (13-year old) girl got his “juices flowing”, real fuckin’ quote there. Guuuh. Anyway, Miyatsuki and Sagami are overjoyed, as marrying any of these dudes is a guarantee for a happy and prosperous life. But Kaguya...is honestly surprised that she’s supposed to be happy. FUCK, MAN.
She’s SUPER not interested in these guys, but they are ridiculously interested in her. She meets them in honor of her father, but not on her own behalf. They present their proposals to her, and I’ll introduce them in order! First up, Prince Kuramochi (Beau Bridges), an older man of great wealth who basically compares her to a jeweled tree branch on the mountain of Hourai. Cool? In the anime, he’s translated into the best character in the series, game and ramen lover Fujiwara Chika.
Second is Prince Ishidzukuri no Miko (James Marsden), who’s already completely fucked because James Marsden is voicing him, and he basically only plays characters destined to be cucked. Check out my recap of The Notebook for more on that. He pledges to worship her, and compares her to the Stone Begging Bowl of Buddha. In the anime, he’s translated into uptight rules-follower Miko Iino.
Ishidzukuri’s comparison is mocked by number three, Abe no Miushi, Lord Minister of the Right (Oliver Platt), a corpulent man that compares her to...a robe of fire-rat fur. You’re comparing her...to rat hair clothes? Um...wow, dude, that’s legit insulting. No wonder you don’t have a counterpart in the anime yet.
Suitor number four, Grand Counselor Ootomo no Miyuki (Daniel Dae Kim) agrees with me that that’s a SHITTY comparison, and instead compares her to the Five-Colored Jewel around a Dragon’s Neck. His counterpart in the anime is the main love interest, Miyuki Shirogane. Yeah, sort of rigged in his favor in the show. It’s based on it, not a true adaptation.
And lastly is the sullen Middle Counselor Isonokami no Maro (John Cho), who compares her to a cowry shell from a swallow’s nest, which ensures safety in childbirth. And his counterpart is the equally sullen and video-game loving Yu Ishigami, another one of the best characters in the series.
OK, enough about the anime, yeah? Sorry, I just...I just really like it. Anyway, the suitors’ comparisons give Kaguya an idea. She plays the koto for the men, which entrances them (and me, it’s a gorgeous sound), and she thanks them for the sentiment. However, for her hand in marriage, they will need to bring her each of the treasures they compared her to. After all, they compared her to rare treasures, meaning that she is also not easy to obtain. By doing this, they show that they are worthy of that treasure. NICE.
The men leave, noting that it was quite impossible to get these treasures, and that Kaguya is a rare jewel that no one will capture. Objectifying, but OK. When they leave, everybody around the castle leaves as well. Which, to be fair, was exactly what Hime wanted.
Sagami is PIIIIIIIIIIISED, and quits. Miyatsuki’s not exactly chuffed either. But Hime’s finally free, and goes out of the palace with her mother and Warawa to see the city and the cherry blossom trees. Good for her. ‘Bout time she had some fun and joy in her life.
It’s cut off VERY fast, however, when she encounters a family of commoners, who only recognize her as nobility and nothing further. Realizing how separate she now is from them as they bow to her, she breaks a little. And they leave to go back to the city. While getting back there, though, who should she run into but Sutemaru, who’s just stolen a chicken. She calls to him, and he stops and recognize her...but they leave and he’s caught. And Hime cries.
Time passes. Three years, to be specific, as they actually tell us this time. Hime’s still close to her mother, as they still garden together in the back. However, relationships with her father are less great. He comes in and tells her that the first suitor, Kuramochi, has come back with the jeweled branch after all this time. Hime can’t believe it.
Kuramochi comes in with the jeweled branch, which dazzles brilliantly. Kaguya asks how he found it. He weaves a dramatic tale of happening upon the mountain and the branch. As this takes place, though, a local craftsman comes by to collect his fee for...making the branch. And now that he’s made, the cheap-ass Prince takes the fuck off.
Next up is Abe, the rat skin guy, with fire-rat robe in hand. Kaguya calls his bluff, though, and tells him to drop that shit in the fire. If it’s real, then it won’t burn, and the two will marry forthwith. And that shit BURNS. Which sucks, because dude thought it was real, and spent literally ALL of his money on it.
Afterwards, in a conversation between Hime and Waraka, it’s revealed that Miyuki’s actually going to get the Dragon Pearl, and we see that in a gorgeous sequence. It doesn’t go well.
Meanwhile, Ishidzukuri drops by, having brought something for Kaguya. It’s not the bowl promised to her, but is instead a sweet little flower. He admits that he went searching for the bowl, filled with love for Kaguya. Instead, he found a treasure of nature, the flower, and was meant to represent his devotion and the depth of his feelings for her.
And that’s actually very sweet. But he’s James Marsden, so he’s FUCKED. But she definitely seems entranced by his offer to take her some place natural and beautiful and far away. Impassioned and full of love, he lifts open the blinds and sees...his wife. GODDAMN IT JAMES MARSDEN. The cuckee becomes the cucker.
Which sucks, because she actually did fall for him there for a second. We next hear of the Counselor, sent to fetch the cowry shell. However, he tragically dies in the attempt. This knowledge shatters Hime, who rips up her private garden in absolute sorrow. Her mom, who’s genuinely the best mom, tells her not to blame herself.
Meanwhile, as all of this is happening, Princess Kaguya has the ear of the Emperor, the Mikado (Dean Cain). He wishes for Kaguya to become one of his brides, and will make her father a member of the court. Miyatsuki, ever tone-deaf to his daughter’s desires, is thrilled. But Hime refuses, to which her father says that refusal of the Emperor’s wishes is impossible. And Hime says that she will do it to make her father happy, and then she’ll kill herself immediately after the wedding.
Um...fuck. I...I think I’m giving this one a Part Three. See you there!
Once upon a time, there was a bamboo cutter.
In 2019, the anime Kaguya-sama: Love is War came out, and the third season’s supposed to come out later this year. I love this show a lot, honestly, and it’s actually based on an old Japanese story: 竹取物語, or The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. I’d go into it, but obviously I’m also about to watch the movie based on it from 2013.
It reminds me of a Japanese Thumbelina, to be honest, although I know that they aren’t perfectly analogous. At least, I hope not. It’s not a great movie. Plus, it was one of the first movies I remember watching as a kid, so I’m good.
But yeah, this should be interesting! I’m definitely digging this form of the fantasy genre. You know, films based on folklore and mythology of a given country. Not necessarily what everybody thinks of, but it’s definitely within the genre. Still, I kinda want to branch out from Japan in the next few days. Still, let’s start with this one, yeah?
This film is yet another Studio Ghibli film, but Miyazaki’s not involved. No, this one is an Isao Takahata joint, and he was another one of the founders of Ghibli alongside Miyazaki. This was the last film he directed before his death in 2018. And he never got the same publicity overseas as Miyazaki, but he deserves some love. I’ve seen one other film of his, his first with Studio Ghibli. And...
...that was an experience. An experience that I have NO WILL TO REPEAT. Grave of the Fireflies is an amazing film. It’s also about two siblings surviving in Japan during World War II, in poverty. And no, they don’t die of radiation poisoning because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
It’s so...SO much more depressing than that. Yeah. Not exaggerating. BUT WE ARE NOT GOING INTO THAT BEAUTIFUL, TRAMAUTIZING MASTERPIECE NIGHTMARE!!! We’re going into some that I genuinely hope isn’t as depressing. I’ll find out first-hand, I guess! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Right from the opening credits, I already have a comment to make: the art style is meant to invoke classic Japanese paintings, and the effect is absolutely breathtaking. It’s a gorgeous movie right off the bat, but I won’t let that distract me...much.
Bamboo cutter Sanuki no Miyatsuko (James Caan) does just that: he cuts bamboo for a living, using it for many things. One day, in the forest, he sees a glowing bamboo stalk, which he tentatively approaches. The light creates a new bamboo shoot, inside of which, well...
Unsure of this little bamboo princess, he hesitantly approaches as she smiles at him and falls asleep in the flower. Thinking it a gift from heaven, Miyatsuko takes the tiny princess into his hands, and brings her home to his Wife (Mary Steenburgen). They decide to raise her, and as the Bamboo Cutter’s Wife takes the princess into her hands, she jumps about and seemingly transforms into a human infant.
The two are quite confused by this whole affair, but believe her to be a gift from heaven, being a miraculous little bamboo princess and all. She also apparently has the ability to cause instant lactation in the Wife, which is a TERRIFYING superpower when you think about it. Think about it: you’re walking down the street, when suddenly some person in a milkman or milkmaid costume jumps out from the shadow, points at you, and says “MILK!!!” and BAM! Now, Fred’s lactating.
Never said that power was limited by gender, now did I?
OK, weird-ass milk segue aside, this baby starts to grow REAL fuckin’ quickly, and a group of plum blossom trees bloom nearby The two pledge to raise the child as their own, in that Jonathan and Martha Kent-style, and they name her "Hime”, which means Princess.
Y’know, for an animated baby, she’s a cute-ass baby, I gotta say. I mean, look at this shit. Look at this CUTE-ASS SHIT.
My ovaries are twitching right now, and I don’t even HAVE that shit. Should I...should I see a doctor?
That tumbling act above leads her to learning to walk, all of which is evidenced by a group of neighborhood kids, who notice both her rapid physical and behavioral growth, and note that she’s growing as fast as bamboo. And yeah, she goes from infant to toddler in a few minutes as she’s learning to walk.
The kids nickname her “Lil’ Bamboo” (Takenoko in Japanese), and she continues to grow up quick. She learns to speak, and spends days with Miyatsuko as he cuts bamboo in the forest. On one of these days, she wanders off and meets a group of wild baby boars. And yeah, you’re right, IT IS cute as SHIT.
The mother boar doesn’t think so, and she charges the helpless Hime. However, she’s saved from a grisly fate by a young man named Sutemaru (Darren Criss), who also notes her rapid growth. And yeah, she goes from toddler to young child over the course of this interaction.
Sutemaru and the young kids from earlier go through the forest with Hime, bringing her along. And she seems to know the words to the song, somehow. She then chimes in with a song of her own, and I’m gonna see if I can find the lyrics in their original Japanese.
Well, I did, and translations aren’t great, but this is pretty similar to what’s being said in the original audio. So, yeah, we’ll go for it. By the way, the actress singing this and playing young Hime is Caitlyn Leone. Just wanted to give her some credit, because this is an interesting song that she sings.
At the end of it, she begins to cry, although she doesn’t know why. The kids basically brush it off, and go to bring her back to the bamboo grove, and to Miyatsuko. He’s searching for her, worries, when he comes across yet another glowing bamboo shoot. This time, when he cuts it open, gold spills out of it.
Time passes, and Hime continues to grow quickly, befriending the kids and Sutemaru, to whom she grows quite close over the summer. Meanwhile, another glowing bamboo shot appears, and from it come fine silks and fabrics. This, alongside the gold from before, leads Miyatsuki to believe that Heaven wants them to raise Hime to be a noble princess, one worthy of the fine fabrics they’ve received.
While his wife is unsure about that, his mind is made up, and he heads to the capital to build a mansion suitable for this lifestyle. Summer ends, and autumn harvest begins, by which time she’s grown up from child to pre-teen. She also changes voice actresses (in English, anyway), now being played by Chloë Grace Moretz.
Sutemaru notices this, too, and worries that she’ll keep growing and leave them behind. She says that that’ll never happen. And then, as she goes home that night...it does. Yeah, damn, and she promised and everything. But yeah, the little Bamboo family heads to the capital, where Hime is quickly taught the ways of a proper lady.
She’s confused by the changes, but her parents (dressed up in traditional robes and face paint, I’m assuming) quickly inform her that they own the mansion, as well as the many fine robes from the bamboo, and that they will be living there from now on. She takes it well. And that’s not an ironic segue, I actually mean that she takes it pretty damn well.
Maybe a little too well, as she frolics about and trips over a very proper woman, who chides her for unladylike behavior. This is her governess, Lady Sagami (Lucy Liu), and she’s been brought from the palace to teach Hime in the ways of being a noble lady.
Hime struggles with these lessons and the new high society lifestyle, especially as opposed to her previous country life. But then, sometimes she surprises the often frustrated Sagami, like with the koto, a traditional stringed instrument in Japan.
Soon enough, Hime comes of age, and the excited Miyatsuki plans a straight-up period party as celebration. Hime asks if she can invite her friends, but he adamantly refuses this request. Miyatsuki’s trying very hard to get Hime into the life of nobility, but her mother is a lot more understanding of her struggles.
Said struggles continue, as they attempt to prepare her for the upcoming party, and she refuses to get her eyebrows plucked, amongst other procedures. Ah, the trappings of a society that forces women into extremely restrictive gender roles, said the cisgender dude who’s ever taken a gender-studies course, but still basically gets the gist of the whole thing, probably.
In the lead-up to the party, Miyatsuki invites Inde no Akita (George Segal), a nobleman tasked with renaming princesses for formal ceremonies, based upon their true essence. He first sees her playing with a cat outside, for which Miyatsuki apologizes. Akita doesn’t seem to mind too much, though.
In a more formal meeting, Akita’s struck by her young beauty, and she plays to koto form him. He thus names her “The Shining Princess of the Supple Bamboo”. In Japanese, she’s called Kaguya-hime. Hence, the Princess Kaguya.
Party-time, and Princess Kaguya is presented with her new name publicly, but is not doing anything at the party, almost like a prize or trophy for the men who have attended the party. Said party goes on for...THREE DAYS? Jesus CHRIST, how much sake do they fuckin’ HAVE?
However, the party begins to go south when the partygoers question why her face is hidden behind blinds, and that she’s basically just a common girl whose father paid for a ceremony beyond their station. Basically, they’re being dicks. And Hime hears, well...all of it. And responds understandably, and...to be frank, beautifully.
The art style turns sketchy and frantic as Hime runs away from the palace at hull speed, under the light of the full moon hanging above. It’s...gorgeous. Absolutely beautifully animated, I gotta say. And the music and sound, too! It’s just...beautiful.
She runs all the way back to her old village, where we can see that time has passed a bit. Not just in terms of Hime’s personal growth, but in terms of a baby from before, now visibly a little older. That isn’t all that’s changed, though, as all of Hime’s friends have apparently moved away.
Turns out that the mountain has been harvested to its fullest for wood, without destroying sustainability. Because of this, a man tells her that the families will likely not return for another 10 years. Interestingly enough, though, this conversation confirms that this movie has taken place over the course of a year, as Hime has never experienced the seasons in full.
After this realization, an exhausted Hime passes out in the show, only to wake up once again in the castle. Was it a dream? It would appear to be so.
Never have I seen a better place to pause. See you in Part 2!
My Favorite Bit of Film Trivia So Far: Howie Dorough, from the Backstreet Boys, was a teenage extra in this movie. He is in the first row of students in the classroom when Nathan comes in and sings The Carpenters' "Close To You" to Susan.
Helen: It sounds like a boy Garry's age needs a man around the house. Tod: Well, it depends on the man. I had a man around. He used to wake me up every morning by flicking lit cigarettes at my head. He'd say, "Hey, asshole, get up and make me breakfast." You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, or drive a car. Hell, you need a license to catch a fish! But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father.
50 -10 for taking your child to a baseball game and then paying someone else to watch him +2 for an amalgam +10 for Steve Martin -5 for diarrhea song +5 for young Martha Plimpton +2 for Elvis tapestry +5 for Kanoonoo Reeves -5 for naming your child “Cool” +10 for the vibrator +5 for smacking Tod with a newspaper -5 for yelling at other people’s kids over a game +5 for Rick Moranis +5 for young Joaquin Phoenix, credited as Leaf Phoenix +5 for horse -5 for Nathan’s superiority complex +10 for Cowboy Gil +10 for Tod helping Garry -10 for Larry being a trash human +1 for Howie from BSB being in the class +10 for Nathan singing to Susan +5 for the rollercoaster
Page 28: Fluffy friends prove that cats and dogs can get along, a teen who walked 7 miles to work is surprised with a free car
Page 31: People Picks -- Judas and the Black Messiah
Page 32: Minari
Page 33: It's a Sin, Foo Fighters -- Medicine at Midnight, Q&A -- Jason Biggs
Page 34: French Exit, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar
Page 35: Young Rock, Kenan, One to Watch -- Clarice's Rebecca Breeds
Page 37: Books
Page 38: The Love Issue -- Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen -- after 25 years of marriage, the stars reflect on what draws them closer every day and why they're looking forward to growing old side by side
Page 44: Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi -- married for 12 years the couple open up about their unshakable bond and how they've learned that true love conquers all
Page 52: Al Roker and Deborah Roberts -- the network news power couple open up about how his cancer diagnosis made them even more grateful for each other
Page 60: Happily Ever After -- how three couples found the love of their dreams -- Ben and Tina Gibson used embryo donation to have children and learned true love is timeless
Page 61: After 62 years high school friends Don and Peggy Wilson began video chatting and found a deep connection
Page 62: For Robby Vargas-Cortes and Eric Vander Lee, a COVID vaccination became a proposal and a moment of needed joy
Page 65: Animal Matchmakers -- these couples found each other with a little help from their four-legged friends
Page 68: Love Story turns 50 -- Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw remember their movie magic
Page 70: Christopher Plummer -- an actor for the ages -- even though it was a colossal success The Sound of Music didn't set the star's heart singing -- his real triumphs came later
Page 72: Robin Thicke -- after a roller-coaster decade defined by loss and divorce, the singer opens up about finding purpose and healing in fatherhood
Page 76: Into Thin Air -- a airline executive goes missing -- six months ago Jake Cefolia's car was found abandoned in an Illinois forest preserve and he hasn't been seen since
Page 79: Laura Linney -- what I know now -- the actress opens up about fame, falling in love and the joy of becoming a mom later in life
Page 83: Beauty -- Drew Barrymore on the power of lipstick and a good hair day
Page 85: Food -- Vegan chef Mary McCartney (and daughter of Paul McCartney) hosts the new streaming series Mary McCartney Serves It Up -- recipe for Roasted Tomato and Butter Bean Toasts
Page 87: Second Look -- Mardi Gras 2021 Grand Marshal for the Parade at Home Order Big Freedia
Page 88: One Last Thing -- Allison Janney
Yeah, I'm melting.