More like Miyazaki.
November 23, 2015 6:14 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for films (or books) like Miyazaki's work: full of emotion, where the world is literally wonderful and every new street or path could contain something magical, touching, and unusual. Ideally more Spirited Away than Princess Mononoke, but either mood works. I'm already a big fan of magical realism novels and have Earthsea & Moebius on my to-read list.
posted by flibbertigibbet to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 72 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've felt that 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' scratches this itch.
posted by bq at 6:23 PM on November 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: The Harry Potter series does that for me--in my case, the books more than the movies but YMMV. And if the violence / not-for-kids qualities of Princess Mononoke work, then I'd suggest Saga, a graphic novel series that features excellent story-telling, good characters, emotional warmth/depth, and wonderful Miyazaki-grade character/creature designs, if you can get past the fact that it's seriously adult-oriented in several ways.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 6:39 PM on November 23, 2015

Best answer: I've studied Miyazaki's films for many years as a fan, and I think one of the thing that sets his work apart from others in magical realism, is that you don't really have to worry about 'the other shoe dropping,' even when you are emotionally involved in it. I wanted to recommend Life of Pi, but I couldn't relax into it, even if it was beautiful.

Therefore, a recommendation that I can make is a graphic novel/webcomic series, Gunnerkrigg Court. I recommend it, because it has the same feelings of surprises and wandering around the world as Miyazaki's other films do. The art starts off a little "new" but it progresses incredibly quickly in skill. I found it to be incredibly delightful, full of humor, wit, and dealing with some conundrums between magic vs science and its greater implications of an ideological divide, and you really feel for the cast of characters. The writing is really good, there is a lot of backstory and mystery, and the strength of relationships and bonding is really powerful. There is also a great deal of representation from a lot of different backgrounds that is all incidental, including queer relationships, and it's all really charming.

I also heartily agree with the 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' movie - it's one of the most poetic wuxia films ever made.
posted by yueliang at 6:53 PM on November 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I also suggest reading any Osamu Tezuka manga series, since he is the "Father of Manga."

And I haven't really found any English translation that I've liked, but Journey to the West/The Monkey King is essentially part of the literary canon, and is always hilarious and super inventive. Chinese/Japanese/Korean mythology tales (which are the only ones I've read, there are so many mythologies I have not explored yet!) are amazing stories to read.
posted by yueliang at 6:58 PM on November 23, 2015

Best answer: Paprika
posted by fairmettle at 7:04 PM on November 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Luke Pearson’s Hilda books are very Miyazaki-like. Short graphic novels, populated by powerful but basically benign magical creatures, as encountered by a fierce & thoughtful girl (Hilda). The first (Hilda & the Troll) is good, but the later ones (Midnight Giant, Bird Parade, Black Hound) are even better — the art & stories are much more developed.

It sounds like you might be open to adult novels with magic erupting into the nonmagical world, too... so I’d also suggest Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and China Miéville's Kraken.
posted by miles per flower at 7:49 PM on November 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Not sure if these suggestions are too far off for you, but movies like Coraline, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast come to mind. Also, possibly, The Fall.

Bookwise, you might try The Silent Strength of Stones.
posted by gudrun at 8:07 PM on November 23, 2015

Best answer: Try Ronia the Robber's Daughter by Astrid Lindgren or Tove Jansson's Moomin books. Oh, and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. And maybe Airborn (and sequels) by Kenneth Oppel or The Boundless, also by Oppel. Coraline is really good, too. I'd read the book rather than watch the movie.
posted by Redstart at 8:24 PM on November 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Mushishi (anime series)
posted by wintersweet at 10:29 PM on November 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Anime: Dennou Coil, The Eccentric Family/Uchouten Kazoku, Mushishi.

Not quite the same but possibly satisfying: Kids on the Slope (actually very realism based but manages to feel magical anyway), Kaleido Star (like a sports anime but about the circus and its attendant magic), Cardcaptor Sakura (it's a classic that really holds up, the hand drawn animation is a magic all its own), Gosick (kind of a strange murder mystery series set in fictional midwar Europe, it grows on you), Kaiba (an epic transgalactic breathtaking poem).

I'm a huge fan of Patricia McKillip's fantasy novels. Try Ombria in Shadow or Alphabet of Thorn to dip your toes in. Solstice Wood might also hit the spot because it's about magic happening in the real world, but I found it had less sly humor than some of her other books.
posted by Mizu at 2:45 AM on November 24, 2015

Best answer: Go get you a copy of "Blankets" by Craig Thompson ASAP. It's exactly what you want.

You will also love the works of Makoto Shinkai. Start with "The Place Promised in Our Early Days" and "5 Centimeters Per Second."
posted by jbickers at 2:52 AM on November 24, 2015

Best answer: I wouldn't recommend Adventure Time as a whole, but there Miyazaki is an obvious influence on the show, and there are certain episodes that are serene and beautiful and worth checking out. Among them are:
  • S03E17: "Thank You"
  • S05E20: "Shh!"
  • S05E39: "We Fixed a Truck"
  • S06E11: "Little Brother"
  • S06E20: "Jake the Brick"

posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:25 AM on November 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I found the Miyazaki adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle disappointing because to me her books are generally more Spirited-Away-ish than that movie turned out to be. Try her Dalemark Quartet or Dogsbody or maybe Fire and Hemlock.
posted by mskyle at 5:32 AM on November 24, 2015

Best answer: Can't second the Moomin books by Tove Jansson hard enough. I also have to recommend The Summer Book by the same author. The story and plot are "small" but there is so much magic between Sophia and her grandmother. Every sentence is a quiet gift.
posted by moons in june at 10:15 AM on November 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hibane Renmei is a gorgeous magical anime series that is available on dubbed on Hulu, but I highly recommend the subbed version instead. I'm not generally an anime fan, with the exception of Miyazaki, and I could wax poetic about this series for days.

There are two animated movies by the same director are The Secret of Kells and The Song of the Sea that are also beautiful and magical.

The Illusionist starring Edward Norton.

Neil Gaiman's latest novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The Innamorati by Midori Synder. The Dark Is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper.
posted by Requiax at 1:02 PM on November 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Satoshi Kon. Did Tokyo Godfathers, Perfect Blue and others. Thoughtful, deep works.
posted by clvrmnky at 3:57 PM on November 24, 2015

Best answer: I liked the series Seirei No Moribito for fantasy-like elements and Twelve Kingdoms too. They have a complete adaption for the latter and some of the novels are translated into English online.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 8:10 PM on November 24, 2015

Best answer: Over The Garden Wall is the closest thing to that folktale-wonder Miyazaki style story I've seen come out of the USA. It really feels like Spirited Away with a Euro-American traditional culture base.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 12:54 AM on November 25, 2015 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Wes Anderson's work: especially The Fantastic Mr. Fox
posted by bq at 9:00 PM on November 26, 2015

Best answer: Coming back here to add: I just finished watching one of the most stunning historical period dramas ever, a Chinese drama called Nirvana in Fire (2015). It's definitely a slow burn, but it's so expertly done, and is really imbued with a lot of Chinese classical philosophy, costumes, and lush art direction. According to the Chinese side of the internet, it's one of the few adaptations that was splend, and brings back a lot of hope to historical period dramas being wonderfully done. The writing is also superb, and the character arcs are very tightly done and emotional. I know you said that you only said you wanted film recommendations, but I am totally sharing this because I usually /hate/ watching TV. This is because I find so many series to be over-exaggerated and using cheap tropes to push a plot forward, but this is so elegant and very understated, and has a strong emotional undercurrent. The fan translations are also beautifully done.

Blog description of the series
English subs here
Another website with English subs, the original Viki team
posted by yueliang at 1:06 PM on November 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

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