Studio Ghibli Fans, Grave of the Fireflies Gets New Steel Book For Your Shelf Porn Needs

I’m excited to see that one of great movies ever made is getting a new U.S. steelbook treatment. Grave of the Fireflies, an animated masterpiece directed by Isao Takahata for Studio Ghibli is getting another release next month, and sporting a familiar yet different cover for collectors of steelbooks, Studio Ghibli enthusiasts, or people who just like films of the highest order.

grave of the fireflies steel book studio ghibli

It’s similar to the Japanese steelbook which is this image in white silhouette though both offer a I think pleasing minimalist presentation.

Grave of the Fireflies is a beautiful, emotional, piece of art that for years I thought was perhaps the best of the Studio Ghibli and Takahata movies but what has happened in recent years is this odd shift where while this movie hasn’t lost any spot in my overall film ranking but still somehow became only my third favorite Takahata movie.

I love it as much as I always have but others movies have just grown on me and passed a movie that I consider one of the greatest movies ever made.

The Tale of the Princess of Kaguya is a late classic from Takahata and an earlier work, his Only Yesterday, over the last two years or so has just ascended for me as maybe my favorite movie of any kind period, a title which for years was held by the all time legendary animator/director and Studio Ghibli-mate Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.

Only Yesterday in recent viewings has just blown me away. Go watch it.

The one downer about this steelbook?

It’s quite frankly absurdly priced.

It’s nearly twice as much as it should be at most and is so unusual or incongruous in standard pricing I thought the initial price was an early placeholder but just doing a little bit of browsing around and seeing the original suggested price listed at other outlets and the pricing of other Sentai products, I feel like this pre-order listing is the price we are stuck with.

I’m going to get it because I’m a Studio Ghibli head but that price point I feel is going to be an incredible turn off for many people.

steel book blu ray grave of the fireflies

Two Posters Added to the Collection – Mirai & The Night is Short. Walk on Girl.

I collect movie posters, I have some-odd thousands of them on my quest to find two dozen perfect ones to hang in a theater room when I get around to it lol.

My interests are fairly broad, we all have our personal favorites or just like the overall appeal of the artistry of a poster we just only kind of like. I do enjoy buying posters for anime films because even the popular ones worldwide often get very little play in the United States distribution or promotional push even though all your kids watch anime.

mirai anime poster

Mirai came out in 2018 and was directed by Mamoru Hosoda, in what might be his most quiet yet best movie. It was nominated for the academy award in a year that was owned by Into the Spider-verse, which I largely agree, one of the few times I didn’t think a superior Japanese anime got beat by (usually) a very good or even great Pixar or Disney offering.

the night is short walk on girl anime psoter

The Night is Short. Walk on Girl is a strange movie and is everything people who don’t like anime don’t like about anime. Which means it’s pretty great. Uniquely animated, surreal, and vibrant it’s a true experience that can be absolutely bewildering but still feels oh so familiar.

Japan doesn’t make movies for the world, they make them for Japan, and if the world feels us they do, if they don’t, oh well and this movie is one of the prime examples of it though I think anyone who just likes storytelling unlike they have encountered in a sweet film can appreciate this.

If you’re into anime and not just punch me punch you back anime these are two films you need.

The Best of 2019 (A List of One) : Promare

Whether you’re a fan of film, comics, books,or tv you’ve been inundated with a combo of best of the year and best of the decade lists over the last month.

Hell, even Obama and Quentin Tarantino got lists for you (and as you might expect they are quite good).

I have a list too.

A list of one.


It’s not on any of the dozens of lists I’ve seen or listened to on podcasts unless I go to anime specific lists on sites I never knew existed (and in some cases didn’t want to) and if being completely honest maybe it isn’t a traditional top 10 film of the year in the way a Studio Ghibli film could be or maybe even another animated film from Japan that came out this year Weathering With You – the smash hit follow up by the Your Name director Mako Shinkai – is in some parts of the world and doesn’t have quite that extra layer of meaning that Into the Spider-verse does but what Promare represents is what I want all a movie going experience to be.

In a part of the year that’s film season mostly highlights small quiet moments Promare is everything you want blockbusters to be but almost never isn’t.

It’s fresh, exciting, bombastic, and riding an always on the ascent adrenaline injected narrative displayed on a vibrant criminally uncommon palette that gives you the feeling that you are watching an artist’s attributable mark. It has that thing the aforementioned Spider-verse has, that little extra insider flavor, in this cases some trigger happy Kill la Kill & Gurren Lagann shared DNA that keeps it from making a half billion dollars when by all rights it should.

It’s too fresh for the current general population. People will have to catch up to it. The already initiated will offer them an I’ll told you so while watching whatever’s next after what’s next.


Quentin Tarantino a Batman Begins Guy

Everybody likes Dark Knight.

Christoper Nolan had many great films previous to his 2008 Heath Ledger fueled Mann inspired neo-classic and superhero genre film elevation under his belt but it was Dark Knight that has since made his name a film release event.

One of the great films he made previous to Dark Knight was Batman Begins, which is my favorite of Nolan’s caped crusader joints. This is not a knock or reevaluation of Dark Knight, merely a statement expressing an appreciation of what I think might be the best superhero origin film of all time and an actual Batman film.

It falls apart in the third act in the same way most superhero movies and action films in general did before and often still do.

Marvel has really nailed paying off the perfunctory loud CGI-laden Boom! Bamf! third acts in recent years but even films we look back upon fondly and have near perfect initial acts like say Iron Man ultimately lead to a pretty forgettable finale involving shooting and punching stuff in an often incomprehensible or void of tension manner. A lot of people knock Michael Bay, but all these things tend to end in a Michael Bay way and he’s actually better, often times significantly so, at it then them (I just wish he didn’t think that’s all movies are).

Dark Knight, which many people mistake for perfection, often forgetting the ending is undone by a fundamentally and comically stupid leap regarding who has to be blamed otherwise court cases will be undone and what has to be done… OR SOMETHING, I still would argue is a singular film experience and a platform for one of the great showcases of the century in Heath Ledger’s revolution of a performance.

I just like Batman Begins more.

While not in the majority this is not an altogether rare opinion.

If you listen to the right podcasts, follow certain writers, you will hear and see this opinion at times from people the internet has trained to consider these words as a hot take. For now it’s probably just below being a cool hipster opinion that causes us to secretly whisper think “one of us, one of us” when we hear another repeat. We agree for similar reasons I won’t litigate but I was recently surprised to hear Quentin Tarantino apparently is an adherent to the same take.

Tarantino was recently a guest on the The Ringer’s Rewatchables podcast where the subject was Dunkirk, a film that Tarantino considers Nolan’s finest work and the second best movie of the decade. The subject of Batman isn’t touched on a lot but Quentin, Chris Ryan, and Sean Fennessy quite loosely share their personal favorite Nolan films, and Tarantino goes

  1. Dunkirk
  2. Batman Begins
  3. Dark Knight

I’m not as high on Dunkirk.

I like Dunkirk but not as much as people who LIKE Dunkirk but rather in that way we all like Christoper Nolan films, sometimes very much, but we don’t LIKE them the way a certain crust of Nolan fans do. On this topic though I’m probably what many would consider an odd The Prestige fan. There’s less in that movie that has grown to bother me from the perspective of nitpicking the work of an auteur filmmaker who has a pretty great catalog of films.

Anyway, I highly recommend The Rewatchables pod and not just that episode. It’s been in my rotation since its inception and nearly every one is worth a listen for films fans. If you require someone famous to be in another you want to sample, Aaron Sorkin sat in on their episode of Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid. The Ringer staff tho are quite funny and many of them who rotate in on the pod host other significant podcasts.

Anyway, always good to welcome another member to our blue flower smoking circle.

It’s Zendaya’s World, We Merely Live in It, Tiger

Just a brief thought after coming back from Spider-Man: Far From Home.

In the same way a couple years ago seemed like the year of Donald Glover it feels like were are in the midst of at least the quarter of Zendaya.

I’ve never not been on the Zendaya as MJ train, I thought it was flawless inspired casting in a younger Spider-Man – already the best live action Spider-Man on screen ever – grabbing someone who could play the age and had already worldwide appeal .

zedaya far from home spiderman

As a fan of the comics but not so old where I’m out here for Gwen Stacy there was always a quality to MJ that shined even when she was around Marvel’s flagship character who was often preceded by adjectives like amazing & spectacular.

If Spidey is to represent the young hero with real problems given great power and responsibility, MJ was this out of costume life ideal to aspire to whether she was girl next door, a super model, or girl next door super model to-be. Peter had to have something we’d all give everything for to give his choice to continue to risk his life, even beyond old uncle promises, even more meaning.

MJ is the reason for both his worlds, his spark, inspiration, and muse, and Zendaya embodies that in Far From Home and in real life. The clarity in how she personifies those elements has to be pure allowing for no questions.

We don’t.

Instead of just mining from what Mary Jane Watson was and trying to adapt and fit that into a new Spider-Man universe, we instead got an embodiment of what is now and what the future looks like. She’s ahead of Spidey, that’s why we buy the chase and why he wasn’t there yet in Homecoming – everyone has to catch up to her.

In both our world and that MCU she’s the dream sexy day one come to life perfectly rendered and alive for the 21st century.

She is euphoria.

zendaya sexy body

Join All of Us Into the Spider-Verse

For all ages and (finally) for everyone again.

This was just going to be a quick note that Into the Spider-Verse is on Netflix now and turned into something more (or less given your perspective).

When I was a kid Spider-Man and the X-Men block at Marvel were my go to comics. As I’ve aged I’ve found few of those comics have had run or arcs that interest me anymore – though I did recently note that Ed Piskor’s X-Men Grand Design has been wonderful – and I became resigned to the fact many years ago this was perfectly fine that perhaps I never would feel the same about these characters in a new iteration that I once did.

into the spiderverse
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Send To All – My Love for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (& Lara Jean’s Boots)

This is a bit of a delayed reaction but I think perhaps even better for it because two full months after Netflix released To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before my crush for it is confirmed as full blown love.

to all the boys i've before entflix

I’m not really into reviews, it’s a trade I was at one time in (if you see my blurb in a favorite genre novel of yours published circa 2006-2012, I apologize) but I do want to highlight some aspects of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before that really stood out to me and had me looking both back and forward with unmitigated joy

As I write this with the summer blockbusters in the back mirror and in the beginning of Oscar season To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is legit one of my favorite movies of the year. I prefer it over Crazy Rich Asians which hit theaters the same week that To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before debuted on Netflix and put up incredible box office figures.

Before you come wild at me for putting the two asian american movies of record this year at odds like that, to what may beyour surprise I actually don’t have any influence on scheduling at Netflix or Warner Bros – to my lament the latter actually doesn’t want my opinion on Batman either and their almost zealot-like affection for the choice of an old and busted armored superhero over a young urban detective ninja.

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