Bleats

A Beginner's Guide To Watching Studio Ghibli Movies On Netflix

Or you could just watch all of them, they're all brilliant.

Studio Ghibli movies are arguably some of the greatest ever animated works ever put to a cinema screen. Even if you’ve never watched one, you’ve likely heard or seen a screenshot of it somewhere such is their influence.

Since these wonderful masterpieces are now streaming on Netflix, here’s a quick little guide for those wanting to get into Studio Ghibli movies after finishing Tiger King or The Last Dance but aren’t sure which of the many titles is best suited for them.

Speaking of things on Netflix (other than Studio Ghibli), the GOAT team talk about ‘The Last Dance’ on ‘It’s Been A Big Day For…’ below:

In the mood for something whimsical?

Befitting Studio Ghibli’s cute animation style, there are several movies that combine this cuteness with a heartwarming story to bring a smile to anyone’s face. Kids will love these for the animation and adults will love these for the brilliant storytelling.

  • My Neighbour Totoro – A young family meet some friendly wood spirits, one of which is giant iconic cat-like spirit, Totoro. One for the family.
  • Pom Poko – A family of shape-shifting raccoons fight to save their home from destruction. Yes there’s an environmental message, but hey, magical raccoons.
  • Ponyo – A young goldfish, Ponyo, who is rescued by a young boy and soon desires to become a human. Surprisingly emotional considering how ridiculously cute every character – especially Ponyo – is.

What about something fantastical, spiritual, and/or just “out there”?

These sorts of movies are Studio Ghibli’s bread and butter and you could easily spend an entire weekend streaming Netflix and not finish them all. Maybe set aside some time if you’re going down this rabbit hole because there are heaps of quality movies here.

  • The Cat Returns – A high school student rescues a cat from getting run over and discovers it is actually a feline prince. A real-life fantasy for many people.
  • My Neighbours The Yamadas – Less of a movie and more of a series of vignettes about the Yamada family. Funny, goofy, heartwarming, and different than every other Ghibli movie due to its use of a completely different animation style.
  • Howl’s Moving Castle – A young woman is turned into an old woman before encountering a wizard named Howl and getting involved in a big conflict between kingdoms. Epic in every sense of the word but with relatable characters set in a fantasy world modeled on our own.
  • Tales From Earthsea – A wizard seeks to restore balance to the land of Earthsea while preventing its destruction. A more straightforward yet still enjoyable movie.

How about strong female protagonists and/or commentaries on the world?

Studio Ghibli is nothing if not versatile and some of its greatest works feature a brilliant female protagonist whose story is both emotional and a biting critique on the world around us. If you’re going to settle down for a Netflix streaming binge of Studio Ghibli flicks, start here.

  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind – A young princess, Nausicaä, becomes embroiled in a civil struggle while trying to bring peace to her post-apocalyptic planet. One of the greatest films ever made.
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service – A young witch moves to a new town and uses her flying powers to make a living for herself while learning to become independent. Relatable is an understatement.
  • Princess Mononoke – A young prince and a young woman get caught in epic struggle between the gods of a forest and the humans wanting to consume its resources. A landmark in environmental storytelling and visual extravagance.
  • Spirited Away – A young girl who gets transported to a world of spirits and must find her way out. It won an Oscar, which says enough as to how good it is.
  • Arrietty – A sickly young boy befriends Arrietty, a tiny girl the size of an ant who lives in the walls of a house and borrows stuff from humans to survive. About as close to a classical fairytale as you’re going to get from Studio Ghibli.
  • The Tale O Princess Kaguya – Based on a Japanese folktale, this tells the story of a young nymph who becomes a beautiful young woman and has suitors throwing themselves at her. A surprisingly feminist take on centuries old material.

Or what about something more grounded in reality?

For all the fantastical imagery and magical storytelling present in Studio Ghibli’s movies, some of its best are the ones where things are a bit more real, based on historical events, or focus more on character than spectacle. These are aimed at an older audience so have some tissues at the ready.

  • Castle In The Sky – Set during the industrial boom of the lat 19th century, a young boy and girl are trying to keep a magical crystal away from a sinister military agent while searching for the titular castle in the sky. A steampunk classic.
  • Whisper Of The Heart – The love story between a book-loving girl and a boy who checked out every book she’s read. Will warm even the coldest of hearts.
  • Only Yesterday – A 20-something woman goes on a trip and soon reminisces on her childhood. This is literally every millennial and Gen-Z person right now.
  • Porco Rosso – A former WWI fighter ace who is cursed to be an anthropomorphic pig is tasked with one final mission. Romantic in every sense of the word and one of Studio Ghibli’s most underrated movies.
  • From Up On The Poppy Hill – A group of teens try to save their local clubhouse, which is in danger due to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Smaller stakes but no less enjoyable.
  • The Wind Rises – A fictionalised telling of Jiro Horikoshi, a famous WWII aircraft designer. Gutwrenching and emotional in equal measure.
  • When Marnie Was There – A young girl moves to the country and meets the mysterious Marnie, whom she becomes friends with. However secrets lie in wait as we learn more about Marnie. Tears will be shed.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

Stans Are Trying To Keep Lady Gaga's BlackPink Collab From Trending For Good Reason

Decidedly not sour at all.

One of the biggest things fans have been looking forward to from Lady Gaga’s Chromatica album (besides her Ariana Grande collab and their hilariously NSFW Instagram filter) is ‘Sour Candy’, her highly-anticipated collab with K-pop girl group Blackpink.

Speaking of Lady Gaga, the GOAT team talk about her most underrated album, ‘Artpop’, on ‘It’s Been A Big Day For…’ below:

In the hours after Lady Gaga released ‘Sour Candy’ ahead of Chromatica‘s big launch, stans from around the world have already been doing their thing in getting this Blackpink collab to the top of the charts through social media campaigns via trending hashtags and propping up the view counter on YouTube.

This is pretty standard behaviour from K-pop fans and pop stans so it’s not too surprising. What is surprising though is how some Blackpink and Lady Gaga fans are actively trying to use the ‘Sour Candy’ to raise awareness about racism instead of trying to get the song to number one on the charts.

Due to the horrendous George Floyd killing and rise of racial tensions in America, some Blackpink fanbases are actively encouraging stans to promote the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag instead of plugging ‘Sour Candy’ and anything to do with Lady Gaga or Chromatica.

Blackpink fanbases told Insider why they decided to eschew the usual promotional push for ‘Sour Candy’ in favour of raising awareness for #BlackLivesMatter and what happened to George Floyd: “Considering that Blackpink fanbases have very large reach, we have collectively decided to postpone our event, and instead help in the promotion of a fair and just society.”

“Music, in general, brings us happiness, but how do we celebrate such occasion knowing that people are being harassed and killed for the most unjustifiable reasons. Our favorite artists’ music will forever be out there, but the life of the victims won’t.”

Given the reach of hyped-up K-pop stans and Lady Gaga’s fandom, it’s perhaps no surprise that the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag started trending on Twitter, all while still managing to push ‘Sour Candy’ to the top of the charts.

That’s not to say this shift in focus didn’t draw criticism from certain fandoms, but hey, that’s the nature of this particular beast.

I’ve made it no secret at how much I detest K-pop stans sometimes when it comes to serious issues, but this is one instance where I can take my hat off to the fans for doing something meaningful and isn’t just self-serving promotion of their favourite groups.

Racism is a serious issue and if fighting it means getting Blackpink stans onboard, then here’s to them for contributing to the good fight.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

Why 'Terrace House' Should Never Come Back After Hana Kimura's Death

The latest series has been cancelled following her passing.

At a time when reality TV shows are trying to one up each other in terms of manufactured drama, Terrace House stands above the rest by doing the complete opposite, opting to relax viewers into it and keeping them in a state of zen. So when news broke that 22-year-old Terrace House: Tokyo 2019-2020 star Hana Kimura had died and the current series has been cancelled following her death, it was a massive shock.

And yet, it was this massive shock that helped snapped us out of this Terrace House-induced zen state and revealed to the world how the show has reached a point of no return.

The GOAT team talk to MAFS’ Martha about the realities of reality TV on ‘It’s Been A Big Day For…’ below:

Ripples were sent through the entertainment and Terrace House world when it was confirmed that Hana had died. Given what we saw of Hana Kimura on Terrace House: 2019-2020 – a kickarse wrestler with so much life ahead of her – her death was just so unexpected.

But as it is with “reality” TV, what we see on the screen isn’t what’s actually happening in reality.

Due to her career as a professional wrestler and her Indonesian-Japanese heritage, Hana suffered from bullying since she was a child. In the weeks prior to her death, Hana was subjected to even more severe cyberbullying and death threats from Terrace House stans due to the show’s negative depiction of her following an argument with another cast member.

It’s no secret that “reality” TV producers purposely manipulate events to drum up drama and Terrace House is no different. It just does it far more subtly. We only caught glimpses of what was really happening with Hana at the time, but knowing that the show leaned into the negative depictions of her despite all the bullying she received doesn’t sit very well.

Things escalated when Hana shared a series of troubling tweets and Instagram posts, the final one of which depicted her and her cat along with the caption “goodbye.”

Yet it wasn’t until after Hana’s death that things are starting to move in Japan in terms of combating cyberbullying, and even then it’s still at the “considering’ stage at the time of writing. As for the show, the latest series has been canceled for the time being.

The lead-up and the aftermath of Hana Kimura’s tragic death has also exposed the problematic issues that have slowly crept into Terrace House over the years but were brushed aside by engrossed viewers who were too wrapped up in the faux comfort blanket provided by the show.

Terrace House has been pretty good at depicted growing relationships between cast members, but the Tokyo 2019-2020 series became especially uncomfortable to watch due to the problematic depiction of consent.

The show has had a history of depicting consent but it became impossible to ignore during a series of Tokyo 2019-2020 episodes in which a male cast member, Toshiyuki Niino, repeatedly tries to flirt and invade the personal space of a female cast member, Yume Yoshida, even after she’s repeatedly said no. The discomfort is clear as day, yet it’s also clear that she’s going along with it because that’s what the show’s producers want.

What’s made this worse are the in-show commentators on Terrace House, a panel of celebs who comment and crack jokes about the cast as they watch along with viewers.

Not only do these commentators take the guy’s side in every troubling male/female encounter on Terrace House, but they actively take the “oh she was totally asking for it” stance.

It’s horrifically disturbing to hear things like “I mean, they held hands, you can’t blame him for having hope,” and “Yume’s been pretty flirty, too. That’s why I kind of feel sorry for (Toshiyuki) for getting played with,” on a show that’s meant to be relaxing and drama-free.

Terrace House ultimately became one of those reality TV shows it tried so hard not to be, but refused to acknowledge it and instead leaned into the mess. It’s perhaps no surprise that Terrace House‘s fandom slowly grew more toxic as the show itself slowly normalised problematic behaviour.

It’s already bad enough to lean negatively depict cast members like Hana Kimura for the sake of drama, but it’s especially horrendous when Terrace House is pushing out the wrong message on serious issues like consent. How are we meant to enjoy what is meant to be a relaxing show when depictions are done in bad faith?

It is likely Terrace House will come back at some point in one form or another given its popularity. But regardless of whatever guise that will be, the show will have to seriously address Hana Himura’s death, the circumstances leading up to it, and the problematic depictions of its cast members if it is to keep going as a source of relaxing comfort rather than unsettling discomfort.

If you, or anyone you know is experiencing mental health struggles, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue for support.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

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