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!

MaHo Café: Twelve Magical Days of Christmas 2015: Day 11 ~ Princess Arete ~

アリーテ姫 (Princess Arete) is a 2001 anime film produced by Studio 4°C, based on The Clever Princess story by Diana Coles. Apparently, in Japan, this film is a successful feminist piece. And for good reason. It shows the story of a young princess who doesn’t want to be a princess – pretty cliché, right? Well, there’s no prince to come save/fix/marry/wake her up with a kiss/rape her while she’s sleeping/etc her. No, sir, she saves herself. You might spend half the time you’re watching it wondering what it is about, but it’s worth it even though it’s not your usual fairy tale. I think it’s a bloody good effort and it shows a strong female lead character, which I really liked. Oh yes, yes, indeed, I am a feminist, but not one of those who says guys are always wrong and it’s your fault women don’t have rights, but one of those who wants gender equality – fair stuff for both males and females. I’m rambling again, so do take over.

You’re not rambling; this really has to do with the movie as well ^^. I liked the film a lot. I found myself going all ‘woah, what’s gonna happen next?’ throughout as I never knew what to expect. And even when I thought ‘ok, this is gonna happen now’, it didn’t because Arete changed things; she took matters into her own hands and did what she thought was best for her and those around her.

Yup, I liked that, too. I liked the music, too, actually, it fit both the story and its style. As for the animation, this one, too, reminded me of Ghibli films – relatively simple but expressive. And I think the pacing of the film was ok, too, I mean, you’re not overwhelmed but not bored either, right?

Mhm, the pacing was quite alright and the film does indeed remind of Ghibli productions. I really, really loved how it was able to convey a genuine medieval feel (from the clothes people wore, to the buildings they lived in, to the lack of lighting inside the castle); the OST did a great job of creating this atmosphere and adding to the story as well. Thanks again for suggesting we watch this film, Nikki-chan ^^.

Hehe, anytime.

And that does it for today’s post. Enjoy the trailer below and thanks for stopping by!

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 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 07 ~ Rainbow-Coloured Fireflies: The Eternal Summer Vacation ~

We kept a very special film to share today, on the last day of 2015. Rainbow-Coloured Fireflies: The Eternal Summer Vacation (虹色ほたる~永遠の夏休み~) is an anime film directed by Kōnosuke Uda (宇田 鋼之介) and produced by Toei Animation. It shows the story of a boy, Yūta (ユウタ), who goes looking for beetles on a hot summer day. But he’s not looking just anywhere for them; he went to the place where he and his late father used to go. A storm breaks out and he falls off the dam; however, an old man he’d given water to earlier, tells him he’ll bring him back, but the process might take a while. Thus, Yūta is sent 30 years back into the past, to the village that used to exist there at the time. He quickly makes friends with Saeko (さえ子) and Kenzō (ケンゾー), and before they know it, summer comes to an end and they have to say their goodbyes. However…whoa, wait! You go watch the film, there’s more to it than what I’ve said above; in fact, that just scratched the surface. Wouldn’t you say so, Moro-chan?

I would indeed say so, Nikki-chan ^^. I really enjoyed the film and its ability to use a magical occurrence in order to bring into discussion some very real, and I dare say universal, experiences. I guess it’s ironic that we’re talking about a very summer-infused story in the middle of winter and during Christmas time, but it still works. For me at least, the story’s about wanting to hold on to what is dear to you (hence the ‘eternal summer vacation’ part?), and that’s something people want to do regardless of the time of year. I feel like I’m getting off track here. What did you think of it kiddo? 🙂

I think…I think I really liked the fireflies, hehe! On a more serious note, I agree, the story is about holding on to what you cherish the most, as well as being able to move on from the past, and keeping promises. I think it was quite a moving film for me; I liked the story a lot. I also liked the music. As for the art and animation, I think it reminded me a lot of Ghibli films.

Oh yes, the fireflies were definitely amazing! The music fit the story really well too, and it was interesting to see how the creators played with the animation style. I also really loved the ending of the film – how it shows that what we cherish the most stays with us throughout our lives, even if we we’re ‘supposed to forget’ things along the way. This is definitely a very touching story that everyone should watch.

Yup, yup! So, what are you guys out there waiting for?? Go get a hot cuppa, get cosy, and watch this wonderful story!

Well, if what we said above wasn’t enough, here, have a little taste with the trailer: Thanks for reading! Oh, oh, and a Happy New Year to everyone!

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 04 ~ A Summer Day’s Dream ~

This is a fan-made series which has an original plot, but features characters from the Tōhō Project. As of yet it consists of 2 OVAs and a special (episode 2.5). It was created by the Maikaze dōjin circle and directed by Tokine (時音). I’ve never heard about the Tōhō Project before watching this series, so I must admit I was a tad dazed and confused throughout the series, especially since it presents the viewer with quite a few characters. All in all, it was enjoyable to watch; I just wish they’d make another episode or two and conclude the story. What did you think of it?

Well, I’d heard of Tōhō a few years ago, due to some music videos I stumbled upon on Youtube. I knew there was at least some manga based on these games, but I didn’t think there were anime, too. To start with, this particular short story is about Reimu Hakurei (博麗霊夢) – a shrine maiden – who solves Incidents (strange events with supernatural causes) in the Gensōkyō world – a place where all sorts of creatures live. I think I liked the animation the most. That, and the music. I mean the story isn’t such a big deal, and before you can remember your own name, you’re flooded with at least a dozen characters’ names – not that this would be bad.

Speaking of the story, the only thing that stood out for me was the fact that everyone seems more than willing to get into over-the-top fights over what seems like an insignificant thing (e.g., a stolen watermelon).

Or a book – even I would fight for a book.

Fair enough, but what I mean to say is that characters were pretty quick to jump to oh so dramatic skills like ‘rabid red eyes of death’ (not the real name of the skill, but you get the point), or use swords that will ‘cut through anything and everything’, etc.

I don’t know…if you take my Wotsits away I might use that skill, too. By the very end of the special, though, I started thinking that Alice in Wonderland served as a great deal of inspiration for this story. I mean, the run after the rabbit, a girl called Alice …I don’t know, I just felt so. But I did enjoy it, and I agree, I wish they’d continue it. I think it has potential exactly because of how simple and no-brainer the whole thing is, but also because of the beautiful animation and music; I mean if they can afford it, why not? It’s a nice little magic story.

True… now that you mention it, I did find myself thinking that the voice acting was quite good. Now excuse me while I go out to buy some more Wotsits :D.

Without further ado, here’s the OP/PV – enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

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 ~