Three Things Studio Ghibli Can Teach Children
Howl’s Moving Castle - The Male Is Not In Charge
Howl’s a big famous wizard with a castle and romantic floaty walks, we see this and we expect the film to fulfill a narrative where Sophie is brought out of her shy little shell and protected and saved and put on a pedestal by the prince that has chosen her. As the movie progresses however, he is stripped of this masculine savior role when we see that he can’t clean his own house, he cries when his hair is wrong, he actually is under a curse and he is terrified. The natural path we expect this story to move along is completely subverted; there are no girls in ivory towers to be saved, the girls are pretty much running the show that the boys can’t handle.
Kiki’s Delivery Service - Notice What Capitalism Does To You
This is one of the only Studio Ghibli films that shows and discusses a monetary system. When Kiki first arrives in her town she’s excited to become a good witch and to help others. She meets people that are kind and helpful and give very generously to help Kiki get started as a delivery girl. But Kiki is becoming more and more exposed to a society that runs on money, and in this world she comes to assimilate to a payment system, calculating the worth of help, and expecting something in return. Kiki loses all of her powers once this transformation is complete, and only redeems herself again by realizing that there is more to helping others than expecting money as payment, and letting yourself be lead down that path leads to constant unhappiness.
Pom Poko - Feel Guilty And Do Something
A recurring theme in a lot of Ghibli films is the passing of an era of magic, and wonder, and selflessness and wisdom - to make way for the crashing unstoppable destruction of progress. Pom Poko is about imbalance, and about human ignorance, but especially about the natural world, and how it’s disappearing. There could have been a lot of Ghibli films picked for the discussion of the death of nature, but this one resounds because of the tremendous guilt a viewer feels once the film is over. If it takes a family of animated tanuki for someone to realize the grief their species causes, and to rush outside and beg forgiveness to any tree or bush or plant or animal they can see, then that’s good - that’s a start.