We watch a lot of foreign animation (usually with English dubbing) in our house, thanks to the quality tastes of our daughter and the wide variety of such available through our local library system or interlibrary loan.
Today I’m going to pop comments on two of them that we have in the house at the moment, one because I was surprised at how it went after the beginning, the other, well, here goes.
Azur & Asmar: The Princes’ Quest
This one began is a way that made me almost ready to stop watching. It had such a PC tone to the setup — then it made a quick turn that suddenly had me watching to see how they were playing this different.
The PC analogue came from two cultures, and my expectations of one being listed as bad, and the other as good. But, well, let’s just say I encourage you to get it out and see how these two boys play their roles of prince, and how the other characters exceed their stereotypes for the unexpected, and yet in a way very classic, conclusion.
Whisper of the Heart
This is one of many Studio Ghibli videos that have been dubbed to English by Disney Studios, which is doing a wonderful job of dubbing Ghibli movies while staying true to the original story. It shows that underneath the smart business acumen of the studios is also one dedicated to real art and storytelling.
This particular episode in a coming of age sort of movie set in Japan. There are several growing up pain angles, several love triangle angles, but the one that really popped for our family was the one girl’s attempt to become a writer, and her reaction to her first critic. Her inability to believe how good her story was, struggling with the fact that it still needed a lot of work. Shizuko is a clever and well-drawn character who has believable struggles that grip your heart without having to be end-of-the-world caliber. Just excellent story telling.
So go get out some movies and see what you think.