Aug 22 2012
The Extraordinary Adventures of the Mouse and His Child
“Bodes well,” party of three?
Another animated feature based on a book, the titular mice are two parts of a wind-up toy that get thrown in the garbage after they’re broken. Outside in the real world, they’re forced to work for a tyrannical rat that has his minions do stuff like beat and whip them, witness another toy get ripped apart for being “worthless,” are almost eaten by a hawk, almost eaten by a fish, and then get into a philosophically heavy argument about infinity with a turtle. It’s a lot for a G-rated audience to handle.
I couldn’t find a clip with any the aforementioned horrors, so here’s one with two brief bright spots of happiness:
This is another animated film that made me draw little cartoons all the time. I really like how animated features in the 70′s and 80′s focused on the little gestures people make (and the ones anthropomorphized animals would make, if they existed) in order to make the overall effect more realistic. No one could animate someone walking like Ralph Bakshi, for instance. But I digress. The Extraordinary Adventures of the Mouse and His Child is also available to watch in full here.
LeeLoo Dallas. J/k, lololol. But seriously, it’s kind of like that.
Plotwise, Wolf’s Rain goes a little something like this: an old legend tells of the appearance of paradise once the world ends, though only wolves will be able to find it. Trouble is, wolves were believed to be hunted to extinction centuries ago. That’s not exactly true, as you may have surmised, and wolves are now able to appear as humans in order to blend in with society. Our heroes are four (fivish) wolves that come together after being attracted by the scent of a Lunar Flower, a key to gaining entrance to paradise (summary very much culled from wikipedia, as I couldn’t fashion a brief enough summary on my own; a lot of stuff goes down in Wolf’s Rain). Like many “let’s journey to heaven” type stories, characters die along the way. Beloved characters. Like, all of them.
I originally checked out Wolf’s Rain due to its werewolfiness. (WordPress doesn’t think that’s a word. Then again, WordPress doesn’t think “WordPress” is a word. My initial ire has transformed to sadness for you, WordPress.) And generally, anime characters tend to look like vampires, so this show was pretty much right in my wheelhouse. If you like anime, this is definitely one to check out.
Grave of the Fireflies
Dear Viewer, this is me setting you up for a fall. Sincerely, Grave of the Fireflies
As far as I’m concerned, this is the granddaddy of all sad animation. An anti-war film produced by Studio Ghibli, this is one of the most powerful movies of any genre I’ve seen, ever. Roger Ebert and I agree on that fact. (He’s still wrong about video games. I’ll fight him to the death on that score.)
This is the first “cartoon” I ever saw that was not meant for kids, and the first one I ever saw that made me realize the medium could be used to evoke emotion more readily than live action. The animation makes the emotional beats hit more heavily, a lot like the way telling the story of a friend’s death with a smile on your face can serve to make the story that much more horrifying. It also doesn’t help that Setsuko, the little girl, is so frigging cute for the majority of the film.
*slits her own wrists*
I so couldn’t believe that an animated movie could affect me this much, I watched it over and over again. No joke, on a loop. My mom had to make me stop. If you decide to watch this, have My Neighbor Totoro at the ready as an antidote.
How about you guys, any animated recommendations for deepening the funk I’ve put myself in writing this article? Leave your suggestions in the comments and I’ll be sure to find them. Also, if you can figure out a way to leave any rusty forks in the comments, that would be much appreciated. I need to repeatedly stab my thigh to distract from the pain in my chest.
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