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74. Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbour Totoro) – Anime April 2018 (#137)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney and with special guests Graham Day and Marianne Cassidy, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every second Saturday at 6pm GMT, with the occasional bonus episode between them.

This year, we are proud to announce Anime April, a fortnight looking at two of the animated Japanese films on the list. We hope to make this an annual event. This year, we watched a double feature of Isao Takahata’s Hotaru no haka and Hayao Miyazaki’s Tonari no Totoro to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of their original release in April 1988. This week, the second part of the double bill, Tonari no Totoro.

Introducing perhaps the most iconic character in Japanese animation, and perhaps one of the most iconic characters in all animation, My Neighbour Totoro is the story of two young children who move to the Japanese countryside in the aftermath of the Second World War and befriend the mysterious eponymous creature who serves as a guardian of the local environment.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 137th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: The Wind Rises

Best known in Europe and America for beautiful animated fantasies like Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle or Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki has opted for something a little bit different with his final – heavily publicised as “farewell” – film. The Wind Rises has touches of fantasy and looks absolutely beautiful, it represents a different sort of animated film. More of a historical drama and romance than an escapist fantasy, The Wind Rises is a thoughtful exploration of Japan in the lead-up to the Second World War.

Focusing on Mitsubishi aircraft designer Jiro Horikoshi, the film is a lavish animated period drama about the construction of the infamous Japanese “Zero Fighter” – the A6M Zero. The fighter of choice during the Second World War, The Wind Rises notes that the pilots flying those planes never came back as the film reflects on the social context of Japan’s march towards war, and the characters caught in the middle like an umbrella trapped in a strong wind.

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