MaHo Café: Twelve Magical Days of Christmas 2015: Day 12 ~ Kiki’s Delivery Service ~

Kiki’s Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便) is a 1989 film written, produced and directed by Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿). It tells the story of Kiki, a 13-year-old girl who leaves home in order to become a full-grown witch. After settling in the city of Koriko, Kiki decides to take advantage of her flying abilities and starts a delivery service. I’m really excited about today’s film – not only because it’s a Ghibli production, but because the story itself is really good. Yes, the story is about a teenage witch that can bloody fly on a broomstick and talk to her black cat, Jiji; the film’s themes however are definitely some that everyone can relate to – believing in yourself, discovering who you are, having the courage to follow your dreams, and all that jazz :D. I’m gonna shush for now, because I’ll just end up saying things like ‘this is awesomely awesome because it’s awesome’. What did you think of it, Nikki-chan?

That it was indeed awesomely awesome because it was awesome. On a more serious note, I really liked it. As I’m sure I’ve probably said already, I really love witchcraft-themed media, so this hit all the right spots for me. I loved the animation, the music, the characters – Kiki is awesome, and so is Jiji. I love that in most Ghibli films there is character development (even though they’re short, compared to a series, for example), and this one is no exception. I liked how they showed how Kiki gets out of distress and how she managed to regain herself. And yes, you were right about the themes of the film – I’m sure almost everybody out there has found themselves perhaps not having an artist’s block, like Kiki, but going through a harsh time. It’s a theme as a whole which is common to Ghibli films, and that is very near and dear to me.

I agree, the story’s only enhanced by the gorgeous visuals and Joe Hisaishi’s (久石 譲) score. I love how you actually manage to say why the film’s awesomely awesome ^^. And yes, it’s really refreshing and even uplifting to see stories with these themes (i.e., we all need a good dose of Ghibli every now and then :D). Oh, and Jiji is beyond amazing!!

Ahahahaha! We really do need to watch some Ghibli every now and again! So, what are you guys out there waiting for?? And here ends our Twelve Magical Days of Christmas – I liked doing this actually! I had a lot of fun! What about you, Moro-chan?

I really enjoyed doing this as well! I’m actually kind of sad that it’s over. Guess we’ll just have to look forward to this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas!

I agree, and we hope you guys will do so, too!

So, here’s the trailer for this lovely film – enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

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MaHo Café: Twelve Magical Days of Christmas 2015: Day 10 ~ Hide & Seek ~

Hide & Seek (カクレンボ) is a 25-minute-long anime film directed by Shūhei Morita (森田 修平) and produced by Yamato Works. The story of this anime centres around an unusual game of hide-and-seek called “o-to-ko-yo” (オトコヨ), which can only be played by 7 children at one time, all wearing fox masks. One by one, the children who enter the game disappear. One night Hikora (ヒコラ), a young boy, joins the game in hopes of finding his missing sister Sorincha (ソリンチャ). And this is how our magically creepy anime of the day starts to unfold. How’d you find it?

Short. And sometimes, a bit unclear. And the buildings were ludicrously tall. It was an interesting story, but you can’t figure it out unless you think outside the box. I mean we both thought the demons were a bit too mechanical, didn’t we?

Yes, we did. It kind of bugged me from the start that whenever they moved, they squeaked and creaked all over the place.

Well, apparently, this show aims to promote awareness that Tokyo’s development is putting an end to children’s games, such as, for example, hide and seek. It made a lot more sense after reading this. And I think it’s a nice way – albeit on the slightly horror side – to raise awareness. I liked both the animation and the music, what about you?

Yeah, things made more sense after reading that bit about the city’s development and the sacrifices that come with it. I definitely enjoyed the music as well, and the visuals. I think the ‘demons’ were animated really nicely; I mean, I found them to be genuinely eerie. It might’ve been short, but the film definitely managed to create a really immersive atmosphere.

Yup, it’s really easy to get into it.

So, enjoy the trailer and thanks for reading!

MaHo Café: Twelve Magical Days of Christmas 2015: Day 09 ~ Miyori’s Forest ~

Miyori’s Forest (ミヨリの森) is a 2007 anime film produced by Nippon Animation and directed by 山本二三 (Nizō Yamamoto). Miyori is about to become the guardian of a forest she never remembers going into, but this isn’t all. The forest is inhabited by creatures who not only seem to know her since she was a baby, but also know a secret which is crucial for both their survival, and the villagers’. How did you like it?

I quite liked the film. The story is easy to figure out from a certain point onward, but it was fun to discover all the spirits living in Miyori’s forest as well as the village built next to that forest. The film had quite nice visuals as well – some bits reminded me quite a lot of scenes from Studio Ghibli films, like Mononoke Hime. How did you find the film?

Ghibli-ish, indeed. I am a big fan of productions where when someone finds out about spirits or stuff which seems ‘supernatural’ they don’t waste half or worse, three quarters of the series/film to show me the drama, until they finally accept they are what they are. So I think I really liked this film, with regards to this. She took it very well and it might have taken her a while to adapt to living in a village after coming from Tokyo, but I’d say she did well. They created really good characters for this film, I think I liked them all – except for the jerks trying to build a dam and destroy the forest, bloody hunters! I think I’m getting rather fired up again, so do take over.

Well you’ve got a very good reason to be fired up. On the other hand, the jerks were eventually driven away and that was quite satisfactory to watch xD. Although one might say that this film isn’t so much on the ‘magical’ as it is on the ‘supernatural’ side of things, I’d say it was quite enchanting; it shows how much one can accomplish if they only ask for the help of others (be they people or, in this case, spirits).

Hm, it is supernatural, but on the magical side of it, what with the deity of the cherry tree, and the god of wind and stuff like that… I don’t know, I just felt it was a magical experience more than just a supernatural one, but that’s just me.

And on this note, we’ll leave with the trailer (albeit a very short one). Thanks for reading!

MaHo Café: Twelve Magical Days of Christmas 2015: Day 08 ~ まほうつかいじじぃ ~

For today we bring you まほうつかいじじぃ (Mahōtsukai Jijii), a short anime film directed by Junichi Yamamoto (山元隼一) and produced by Ryōichi Mori (森りょういち). It was made as part of a project that aimed to promote the relationship between old and young people. This anime is a sort of small, concentrated dose of magic that will definitely bring a smile on your face. I’d say this makes it quite a good anime to start the New Year with, don’t you think? 🙂

I agree. This is a story about how we should hold on to and follow our dreams. The protagonist recalls going to kindergarten, and being profoundly impressed by an old man who made everything seem like magic (for example, painting). Having a life full of responsibilities as an adult, and a job he doesn’t particularly enjoy doing, the protagonist decides to use the image of the old man as encouragement, inspiration and strength and changes his own life. I’d say they managed to convey the message they meant to: as big a gap as there is between the young and the old generations, it’s important to cherish them [the elderly], and spend time with and learn from them, even though we seem to be growing ever so impatient and think they’re just old fashioned. I believe there’s a leaf to take out of everyone’s book.

Woah, that’s really nicely put Nikki-chan ^^. I also thought that alongside the project’s message the anime also focused on the need to follow one’s dreams, and I really enjoyed seeing how the old man was a constant source of inspiration and strength for our protagonist. The film’s soundtrack basically consists of one song which, for me at least, made the visuals even more enjoyable and lively.

Yeah, I liked the song and the simple animation, too (you can find the lyrics here). And instead of leaving you with a trailer, you can actually watch the whole little thing down below, as it’s just under 7 minutes.

As always, thank you for stopping by and we wish you a Happy New Year!

MaHo Café: Twelve Magical Days of Christmas 2015: Day 06 ~ Santa Company ~

Today’s anime, サンタ・カンパニー, was directed by Kenji Itoso (糸曽賢志) and produced by Nexus. This short film is about a trainee Tonttu, named Noel, who works in the Santa Company’s Gift Department.

One Christmas Eve, a child’s letter arrives in after all the Santas had departed; Noel and her friends (Mint, Bell, and Thomas) decide to deliver the gift even though they weren’t supposed to do that. During this journey, Noel learns what the most important thing is for Santa. So, what are your thoughts on it?

I quite liked the whole ‘finding out for yourself what the most important thing for a Santa is’ aspect of the story. I think it’s a nice way of reminding people what Christmas should really be about. I felt like they could’ve dedicated a bit of time to explaining some of the terms the story introduced (e.g., ‘Tonttu’ or ‘Mukku’), but at the end of the day that didn’t stop me from enjoying the story. What did you think of it?

Nah, for starters, I disagree with allocating more time to explaining terms. I mean, considering the length of the film, I think it was pretty well paced, and there was enough screen time for both characters and plot. It wouldn’t have been like this if they had started explaining the new terms. Everybody can realise what they refer to, and even if one doesn’t, it doesn’t matter, because whether or not one knows what those words mean, won’t have an impact on whether they love the film or not. As for the story as a whole, I really liked it. It’s a very short story where you do get a little character development and the plot is quite ok – I think it’s exactly the fact that it’s not over-complicated that allows it to deliver the message it was meant to: what is Christmas meant to do? What does Santa consider the most important aspect of his job? The shopkeeper said that the answer varies as each individual is unique, but its core is the same for everyone.

I don’t think the explaining would’ve taken that long, but I can definitely see how going with the flow of the story works for this particular case. Indeed, it’s not a big deal and doesn’t distract from the overall enjoyment of the anime. This was just something that crossed my mind as I was watching it and made me think that there might be more to the story than just the anime itself. That aside, I really liked the way in which one got ‘promoted’ to the position of Tonttu. While each apprentice had to find the answer to the question (similar to an exam), its discovery was left entirely up to said apprentice and, like you said, there is no set answer; this makes the whole experience all the more meaningful and profound once the apprentice actually finds their own answer. This is definitely a film for everyone to watch and be reminded of what Christmas is really about.

To be honest, yeah, one does get the feeling that there’s more to the story; I’d no idea that there was a novel and this anime was its sequel. I think I’d like to read it, as it’s a nice little story. On another note, the visuals were really nice, right?

Yupyup. And I dare say we both loved how they designed Rudolph III as well, huh? 😀

Yeah, I liked his personality even more, though. Aside from these, I don’t know why this short is underrated; I mean, it didn’t make me believe in Santa again, but it has a nice message and it’s really enjoyable, I’d say.

Maybe because it’s short? It’s great to have more of something you might like, and maybe for some people this anime wasn’t long enough. That said, I’d argue that the short length of the film adds to its charm. And as you said, it manages to deliver a nice message along with enough action to make things interesting.

I’d argue that length shouldn’t matter. Oh my, this didn’t come out right…

And on this note, have a wee lookie at the trailer. Thanks for stopping by!

MaHo Café: Twelve Magical Days of Christmas 2015: Day 03 ~ The Goddess is a Middle School Student ~

Today’s series, known shortly as かみちゅ! (Kamichu!) in Japan, was created by Besame Mucho (which is the pen name of 倉田英之 (Hideyuki Kurata), 舛成孝二 (Masunari Koji), and 落越友則 (Ochikoshi Tomonori)) and produced by Brain’s Base. The story follows ゆりえ (Yurie) and her friends (祀 – Matsuri, and 光恵 – Mitsue) through the adventures they go on after she becomes a goddess. I saw this anime a long, long time ago when I was in high school, so this is nostalgic for me; I mean even though I watched it only once, I liked it so much that it stuck with me ever since.

And may I just say ‘thank you’ for recommending this title to me ^^.

My pleasure.

That being said, for me this was a really enjoyable and light-hearted series which also managed to pack in plenty of content and adventures. I never would’ve thought that a middle-school goddess would have so much on her plate.

I never would’ve thought that a middle-school girl could become a goddess overnight, tell this to her friends during lunch at school, and they’d take it like it’s the most normal thing they’ve ever encountered. But you don’t have time to be shocked by this, because the story moves on so quickly that you’re just absorbed into it, and before you notice, you’re part of a wonderful story which is full of gods, talking cats and Martians. Oh, and a love confession.

I definitely remember having a ‘what the heck is going on here?!’ moment at the start of the series, when Yurie just randomly announces that she’s a goddess and everyone seems ok with that, as you’ve mentioned. This is also one of the aspects I loved about the series – people just took things in as they happened; there was no over the top drama regarding the events that happen.

‘No big drama’ also scores points for me. If I remember well, the soundtrack was also nice and fit the series as a whole. The series also gets bonus points for its simple but very expressive animation. I’d recommend it to anyone as it can be watched at any age and regardless of whether you’re into anime or not, or into a certain genre.

I’ll second, third and fourth the above. If that’s even a thing that I can do :D.

And on that note, we’ll let you have a taste for yourself with the video below (we couldn’t find a trailer, but you can get a pretty good idea even just by watching this):

MaHo Café: Twelve Magical Days of Christmas 2015: Day 02 ~ Magical Sisters Yoyo & Nene ~

This film (魔女っこ姉妹のヨヨとネネ) was directed by Takayuki Hirao (平尾 隆之), and produced by ufotable (this pushed the film quite high up on our ‘to-watch’ list).

At the centre of our story are our two sisters, Yoyo and Nene, who undo curses for a living. One day, their world (the Magical Kingdom) is invaded by a tree with buildings from the non-magical human world. Yoyo gets stuck in the non-magical world and she and her sister have to find a way to undo this curse and get her back home before it’s too late. I liked it because I found the story to have depth and it’s moving; and I thought it was a short but well-packed film, with beautiful animation and music. What about you?

I really enjoyed the film as well. One of the things that struck me from the beginning were the vivid and colourful visuals. I also really enjoyed seeing all the layers of the story unfold; specifically, how characters that weren’t actually around anymore had an impact on the current events. I just wish we could have seen just a tad bit more of Nene as well.

I really wish Yoyo could’ve remained tall even when she returned home. I love this film because as short as it is, there is a powerful message behind it – even non-magic beings can do magic and it doesn’t have to be using an incantation or a wand. Such magic can be created out of love, kindness and compassion.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww ^^. I love the way you phrased that and I agree. Now that you’ve said the above I’m thinking we stumbled on a really good Christmas film :D.

As usual, we shall leave you with the trailer for this little treasure. Enjoy and as always, thanks for stopping by!

MaHo Café: Twelve Magical Days of Christmas 2015: Day 01 ~ Little Witch Academia ~

Little Witch Academia is a series which consists (for now) of two films:

  • Little Witch Academia (リトルウィッチアカデミア) and,
  • Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade (リトルウィッチアカデミア 魔法仕掛けのパレード).

This little series is part of the Mirai Anime project; it was written by 大塚雅彦 (Masahiko Otsuka), created and directed by 吉成 曜 (Yō  Yoshinari), and produced by studio TRIGGER.

The story follows three young witches: Akko (アッコ), Lotte (ロッテ), and Sucy (スーシィ), and their adventures while studying at the Luna Nova Magical Academy (ルーナノヴァ魔法学校). I quite enjoyed this series especially since the first part reminded me of Harry Potter for some reason. What did you think of it?

I thought it was pretty good. I mean I like magical-themed stories in general – it’s one of my favourite themes – and this one hit all the right spots with me. It was funny and light-hearted, and it had really pretty animations, too.

I agree and I really liked the animation, too, especially as this series was created by newcomers to the anime industry. It was also nice to see how they took the second film a step further, as you get to see some character development as well.

Well I’m presuming since the first one was well received, and people actually demanded a sequel, they could afford to make the second one double-length and thus show more events and reactions. On another note, I liked the characters, but my favourite was by far and large Sucy – she’s insane and adorable!

And you have to love how she always has a mushroom at hand, to save the day. I’m hoping they make a full-length film or an anime series out of it.

I second that.

And on this note, we’ll leave you with the trailers – enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

 

MaHo Café ~ Twelve Magical Days of Christmas 2015 ~

We’ve seen some “12 days of Christmas posts” around, and we were thinking of doing it next year, as we seem to have been too late this year.

So I looked a little into it, to know what to expect for the next year, and guess what? We weren’t late. Because apparently the Twelve Days of Christmas or the Twelvetide is a festive Christian tradition which celebrates Jesus’ birth, and it takes place between the 25th of December and the 5th of January. We couldn’t upload the posts yesterday because life, so today we’re uploading yesterday’s share, too. Anyway, it’s time to say what kind of anime we’re going to be talking about during this festive season and why.

We thought of a specific theme to write around and you suggested anime with a magical theme, as Christmas is magical. So we decided to look up and watch short and light anime each day and discuss these.

So this is MaHo Café’s first year of 12 Days of Christmas – please look forward to our posts!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Day 01 ~ Little Witch Academia ~

Day 02 ~ Magical Sisters Yoyo & Nene ~

Day 03 ~ The Goddess is a Middle School Student ~

Day 04 ~ A Summer Day’s Dream ~

Day 05 ~ Magic Tree House ~

Day 06 ~ Santa Company ~

Day 07 ~ Rainbow-Cloured Fireflies: The Eternal Summer Vacation ~

Day 08 ~ まほうつかいじじぃ ~

Day 09 ~ Miyori’s Forest ~

Day 10 ~ Hide & Seek ~

Day 11 ~ Princess Arete ~

Day 12 ~ Kiki’s Delivery Service ~