Amos' Animation Appraisal

Amos’ Animation Appraisal

by Amos Lamb

Alice (1988), Jan Švankmajer’s Masterwork

Jan Šankmajer, for those who don’t know, is a Czech surrealist who was prominent in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s revolutionising the animation world through his stop-motion work. Filmmakers from Terry Gilliam, to Lord & Miller have taken influence from Šankmajer, although the most obvious influence of his style can be seen in anything the…

Studio Ghibli #18: The Wind Rises (2013)

The Wind Rises was one of the first Ghibli films I saw on the big screen, I’ll be honest I can’t remember if I saw it when it first released in 2013 or if I caught it at a re-showing in the following years but it was a beautiful film to catch in the theatre…

Studio Ghibli #18: From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)

I went into this film, despite my optimism in my Tales From Earthsea review that Gorō Miyazaki still had more to offer, with a level of trepidation. At the time I sat down to watch the film Gorō’s latest Ghibli effort, Earwig and the Witch, just received a North American release and was met with…

Studio Ghibli #17: Arrietty (2010)

I’ve cheated a little bit with Arriety…. in the sense that so far I’ve been watching or rewatching all of these Ghibli films in their original Japanese audio with subtitles. But for Arriety, despite it being a completely new first watch for me, I chose to watch the English dub due to the sheer talent…

Studio Ghibli #16: Ponyo (2008)

As I sat down to watch this film, I checked the handy list of Studio Ghibli films I made in order to keep track of their release order and came to the realisation that this is the second-to-last Hayao Miyazaki film left to watch. Before starting this journey through Studio Ghibli’s filmography I had already…

Soul (2020), Pixar’s Delightful Return to Form

Disney sucks. Let’s not split hairs. In my opinion their Studio-produced, profit focused approach to filmmaking is creating a creative stranglehold that can be most prominently seen in their approach to Superhero blockbusters, but has also reared its ugly head in the rest of their creative outlets. But despite this, there has always been a…

Tokyo Godfathers (2003), Satoshi Kon’s Christmas Masterpiece

Satoshi Kon is one of the most recognisable directors within the animation medium. He is often regarded as one of the greatest directors to work within animation and any list of great animated/anime movies would be incomplete without the inclusion of at least one of his four feature films. If you weren’t already aware Kon…

Studio Ghibli #15: Tales From Earthsea (2006)

We’ve all seen the clip….. We all know what I’m going to have to talk about….. Okay, here goes; Today I’m writing about Gorō Miyazaki’s debut feature film, Tales From Earthsea, a film that is generally regarded as one of the weaker Ghibli films, and there’s even (and here is where the clip comes in)…

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000), Traditional Gothic meets Cyberpunk Anime

Continuing my Halloween content for this column, this week I’m tackling one of the most famous animated horror films; Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. Based off of Hideyuki Kikuchi’s long-running novel series Vampire Hunter D, first published in 1983, the series now has 31 novels comprising 44 volumes. The series has seen multiple adaptations over the…

Studio Ghibli #14: Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Following the success of his previous film, Miyazaki eyed up Diana Wynne Jones’s novel; Howl’s Moving Castle, as his next directorial effort after Mamoru Hosada, the director of Wolf Children and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, left the project after creative differences with the Studio Ghibli executives. Howl’s Moving Castle has become one of…

Studio Ghibli #13: The Cat Returns (2002)

I really didn’t know what to expect when I watched The Cat Returns; all I knew about it was that it was a fantasy-focused spin-off of Whisper of the Heart, which already seemed weird due to how grounded Whisper of the Heart, mostly, is. Also I knew that the film was the sole Ghibli film…

Studio Ghibli #12: Spirited Away (2001)

Whether you’re an anime fan or not, chances are one of the few titles you’d recognise regardless is Spirited Away. Often referred to as Miyazaki’s magnum opus, Spirited Away is both a labour of love and the culmination of the gradual advancements in animation we’ve seen throughout Miyazaki’s career. The impact and reach that this…

Studio Ghibli #11: My Neighbours The Yamadas (1999)

It seems I’m falling into a trend with these pieces, everytime I get to a new Isao Takahata film I haven’t seen before it’s the same excuse, the art style looked bland or the lack of discourse surrounding the film never stirred me to sit down and watch it, and yet again I can only…

Studio Ghibli #10: Princess Mononoke (1997)

For many, the general consensus seems to be that Princess Mononoke is Miyazaki’s best film, this is a sentiment I see both online and in real-life but while I disagree I also find it easy to understand why people feel this way. For me Princess Mononoke is the culmination of all of Miyazaki’s previous works,…

Studio Ghibli #9: Whisper of the Heart (1995)

Going into Whisper of the Heart I knew very little about the film aside from some mixed reviews from people I know, so I was more than surprised to find out that the film is a mostly grounded slice-of-life romance film and not the fantasy adventure I believed it to be from the poster. So…

A Whisker Away (2020), It’s a Wonderful Cat Life

You don’t have to be a big fan of anime to have heard of Sailor Moon, a show that I caught glimpses of as a child but that had an undeniable influence on anime as a whole. So when I saw that Netflix’s new anime film, A Whisker Away, was co-directed by one of the…

Studio Ghibli #8: Pom Poko (1994)

Three years after Only Yesterday, and six years after Grave of the Fireflies, Takahata took his signature experimental style in a new direction. Setting aside the grounded realism of his first Studio Ghibli film, and the nostalgia-tinted “realism” of his second, Takahata moved into the realm of fantasy and folklore with Pom Poko. Following the…

Studio Ghibli #7: Ocean Waves (1993)

Ocean Waves has the honour of being the first Studio Ghibli film to be directed by someone other than Miyazaki or Isao Takahata, although I would argue the latter proved to be a big influence on the style and experimental aspect of this made-for-television film. At 72 minutes the film is also the shortest Ghibli…

Studio Ghibli #6: Porco Rosso (1992)

In The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (which is a fantastic documentary about Studio Ghibli around the time of the production of The Wind Rises), Miyazaki described Porco Rosso as “foolish” because he said it was a foolish decision to make an adult film for children. Miyazaki is famously critical of his own and others’…

Akira (1988), Katsuhiro Otomo’s Magnum Opus

A cluttered and claustrophobic cityscape, cut in two by the near-empty motorway directly in the middle of the frame. These clusters of buildings, as seen from a birds eye view, feel uncomfortable, while the empty road feels uncanny. All you can hear is the swelling of wind, a very anxious noise, as the camera follows…

Studio Ghibli #5: Only Yesterday (1991)

It’s crazy to me that in any other animation studio, Isao Takahata, given his filmography, would easily be considered one of the best directors of animation of all time, it’s just unfortunate that he worked in a studio alongside one of the few directors that could challenge him for that title (that being Miyazaki of…

Studio Ghibli#4: Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

  In this column, Amos Lamb will take you through the wonderful world of animation. Exploring what makes it such an appealing genre/medium for all ages, with the focus spanning from the mainstream animation studios like Disney & Studio Ghibli, to more obscure animation such as Japanese OVA’s, British claymation, Czechoslovakian stop-motion and everything in-between.…

Onward (2020), a Fantasy Film Rooted in the Mundane

I must admit that when the first trailer for Onward dropped, it was far away from my radar. In my opinion, apart from a few examples here and there, Pixar have recently been producing more misses than hits for me. I was slightly curious about Onward, as it is normally their original IP’s that end…

Studio Ghibli #3 My Neighbour Totoro

In this column, Amos Lamb will take you through the wonderful world of animation. Exploring what makes it such an appealing genre/medium for all ages, with the focus spanning from the mainstream animation studios like Disney & Studio Ghibli, to more obscure animation such as Japanese OVA’s, British claymation, Czechoslovakian stop-motion and everything in-between.  …

Studio Ghibli #2 Grave of the Fireflies

In this column, Amos Lamb will take you through the wonderful world of animation. Exploring what makes it such an appealing genre/medium for all ages, with the focus spanning from the mainstream animation studios like Disney & Studio Ghibli, to more obscure animation such as Japanese OVA’s, British claymation, Czechoslovakian stop-motion and everything in-between.   …

Studio Ghibli #1 Castle in the Sky

In this column, Amos Lamb will take you through the wonderful world of animation. Exploring what makes it such an appealing genre/medium for all ages, with the focus spanning from the mainstream animation studios like Disney & Studio Ghibli, to more obscure animation such as Japanese OVA’s, British claymation, Czechoslovakian stop-motion and everything in-between.  Following…

Studio Ghibli #0.5: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

While Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is not “technically” an official Studio Ghibli film, seeing as the company was founded off of the success of this feature: the film was directed and produced by two of the four co-founders of the company, Hayao Miyazaki & Isao Takahata respectively. Alongside this the film also…

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), and the birth of American Animation

In this column, Amos Lamb will take you through the wonderful world of animation. Exploring what makes it such an appealing genre/medium for all ages, with the focus spanning from the mainstream animation studios like Disney & Studio Ghibli, to more obscure animation such as Japanese OVA’s, British claymation, Czechoslovakian stop-motion and everything in-between.  Despite…

Absurdity and the Freedom of the Medium

In this column, Amos Lamb will take you through the wonderful world of animation. Exploring what makes it such an appealing genre/medium for all ages, with the focus spanning from the mainstream animation studios like Disney & Studio Ghibli, to more obscure animation such as Japanese OVA’s, British claymation, Czechoslovakian stop-motion and everything in-between.  In…

Animation Isn’t Just For Kids, as Told by a Child’s Narrative

In this column, Amos Lamb will take you through the wonderful world of animation. Exploring what makes it such an appealing genre/medium for all ages, with the focus spanning from the mainstream animation studios like Disney & Studio Ghibli, to more obscure animation such as Japanese OVA’s, British claymation, Czechoslovakian stop-motion and everything in-between.  Content…


My name is Amos Lamb, I can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t completely in love with film. I’m 21 years old, an avid consumer of all art, but specifically movies and literature. I’m blessed with a love of all genres & styles, so I’m open to a wide range of films as I won’t limit what I watch based on genre. Good or bad, mainstream or cult, foreign language or English, I’ll watch them all. My favourite film of all time is The Seventh Seal, and if it’s even remotely postmodern or surreal I’m all over it. At times I’m sure I come across as a pretentious cinephile, but I like to think I base my opinions on a mixture of my enjoyment and the quality of the film (as for me they intertwine). There’s no better feeling than being challenged, emotionally or mentally, by a film as they’re the ones that’ll stick with you forever.

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