Pom Poko (1994)

The tanuki, Japan’s “raccoon dogs” are distinctive and animated enough animals that it’s easy to see why Studio Ghibli chose to, well, animate them. In this film, they come in many forms, first showed in how they shimmer into clothing and anthropomorphic stature in the film’s opening fight scene. Later scenes take their transformations more…

Ocean Waves (1993)

Ocean Waves was an attempt by Studio Ghibli to allow their younger staff members to make a film reasonably cheaply. However, it ended up going both over budget and over schedule. The first Studio Ghibli film not to be directed by either Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata, “Ocean Waves” was a TV film intended for…

Porco Rosso (1992)

A melancholy film about a porcine bounty hunter that flies across the Adriatic, encountering brash American pilots, curiously cuddly airborne sky pirates, and who’s tangled in a complicated old love with a woman who lost all her friends in war just like him. Young love, old love, flight, Milan, the Mediterranean, it’s a very old-fashioned…

Only Yesterday (1991)

Isao Takahata’s second Studio Ghibli film, coming after the masterful “Grave of the Fireflies”, “Only Yesterday” is interesting in covering territory outside the general remit of animation, even in Japan (that of a realistic, memory-laden drama covering a relatively “uneventful” middle-aged woman), yet being greatly critically and commercially successful. The film struck a chord, and…

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

A charming story of a young witch, notable for not being an adventure or mystery or anything of the like, but instead a lowkey slice of life. More interested in following the titular Kiki’s slow maturation than delving into any arcane theatrics, it’s low on drama but high on likability, especially with its gorgeously animated…

Rose (2018) by Russell T. Davies

Like Steven Moffat’s “The Day of the Doctor” novel, Russell T. Davies’ “Rose” isn’t really best characterised as a novelisation. It’s too different, too transformative for that. Davies didn’t rewatch the episode before writing the book, quickly discarded the script, and intentionally altered a lot of the lines he did remember precisely, in the interest…