2/12/2020
キキ!!! on HAY

Until last night, I haven't seen a single Studio Ghibli film.

For one, I wasn't really a guy who watched a lot of anime as a kid. I was happy with whatever was on local TV, dubbed in Filipino, unless I had no patience for the premise, which turns out to cover almost all of the more adventure-driven shows that did air here. My ADHD, I guess, was never compatible with mythology, at least until I learned to understand them.

Also, I wasn't the cool kid who knew what was going on outside of my bubble. I mean, you probably had access to these things, but I didn't. This is me being really fascinated with local alternative music in high school. This is me being really fascinated with British radio in college. This is me going to great lengths to understanding K-pop over four years ago. It's when I finally discover something properly, and realize I'm interested in it, and then going relatively deep.

But then that doesn't really explain everything. On the K-pop example, I have been exposed to it for years, and I've had Shalla talk to me about it before the whole thing went down. I don't call myself a gamer, but I've been half-exploring the Nintendo ecosystem since we bought the Switch. Same goes with the Ghibli films. Shalla's seen a bunch of them, but somehow I haven't felt like watching them just yet - perhaps it's my ADHD kicking in once again. At least until last night.

Netflix, of course, is releasing selected Ghibli films in the next few months. I would've watched her actual introduction to Ghibli - the much darker Grave of the Fireflies, which haunts her to this day, more or less - but apparently that isn't going online, so, well, I'll have to stick to the relatively lighthearted stuff.

"Watch [My Neighbor] Totoro so you get a feel of what their movies are like," she told me. "It's like... it's like you guys have an existing conversation and you're just rejoining. Parang ganun sila mag-set ng myth."

And indeed, when I watched that last night, it felt like I was being plopped in the middle of this rich, well-defined world, where you won't get much of an explanation about why things are the way they are. Accept it. Totoro lives inside this tree, and the Catbus is a much more awesome character.

There are seven films available for streaming so far, and I've seen two. The second one is Kiki's Delivery Service, because that's a film I have heard of. Watched it earlier while Shalla - who's sick and not at work - slept in the other room. Again, I was plopped into this universe that, for some reason, I assumed was set in Japan when it actually is a mish-mash of continental European city stereotypes. Accept it. Kiki is a witch and yet nobody wants to burn her to death - although she did cause a public nuisance at the beginning, and almost got a ticket for it.

There's a scene in that film where Kiki, on her way to a town she can call her own, got caught in the rain and decided to spend the night in a train wagon filled with hay. I instantly flashed back to when I was watching, well, Heidi on ABS-CBN (keep it going, you bastards, if only for how much it contributes to the economy you badly want to keep afloat) and this scene where the title character was plopping on a stack of hay and being so happy about it. And I remember thinking then, is it really comfortable, to sleep atop a big stack of hay? And then, isn't that essentially dried grass? And then, that hurts, right? But then, I thought, it must be a European thing.

That should've been my first clue that Kiki's Delivery Service isn't set in Japan.

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