While last year’s news that Studio Ghibli isn’t actually shutting down but only taking a break from movies sounds nice, it’s hard to imagine Ghibli without Hiyao Miyazaki, who’s last movie was the very personal The Wind Rises, or Isao Takahata, who announced his retirement with the release of The Tale of Princess Kaguya. But if Takahata must leave us, thank God he took the time to make such a beautiful movie as this. Following the story of a girl born out of a bamboo plant and forced to live the life of a princess by her inept father, Princess Kaguya has a distinct Little Mermaid feel. But this isn’t anything like the Disney movies we know. For one, the animation is made up of paintbrush strokes, which somehow manages to feel more lifelike than ultra-realistic CGI. And there’s no happily ever after at the end, but a plaintive cry for the appreciation of beauty.
Quicker take: Studio Ghibli has released so many great movies throughout its rich history, but Princess Kaguya surely belongs near the top of the list.