The Colourful Worlds of PONYO and PAPRIKA

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Day 16:  Anime With the Best Animation

I think that renowned director Hayao Miyazaki‘s animated films (宮﨑 駿/Miyazaki Hayao) have some of the best animation in the industry.  I also admire that his films’ stories are beautiful and symbolic.  It’s hard to choose which one of his films have the best animation, but I’ll say that Ponyo (崖の上のポニョ/Gake no Ue no Ponyo/Ponyo on the Cliff) looks the most colourful.

Uploaded by:  Ame9312

Paprika, directed by Kon Satoshi (今 敏), is another anime film with beautiful and colourful animation–I like its animation better than Ponyo, by the way–but I think that Ponyo beats it when it comes to story impact.

Uploaded by:  Lounger

Not only do these 2 films showcase what I think are the most beautiful and enchanting animations that I’ve ever seen, but they also feature some of the weirdest stories I’ve ever encountered.  There are times I scratched my head watching Ponyo, but I got most of what it’s all about as the film neared its conclusion.  Paprika, on the other hand, just bewildered me.  Whenever I thought that I finally understood what was going on, I got baffled all over again; though I think that it’s one of the film’s charms.

Anime fans will readily nod their heads knowingly whenever Paprika and 2010 Hollywood Blockbuster film Inception are mentioned in the same sentence.  Well, that’s because Inception was based on the animated film.  Like Paprika, Inception baffled the audience but that didn’t stop it from winning tons of awards.  But since I’m an anime lover, of course I prefer Paprika over Inception.  

For me, Ponyo and Paprika are anime films with the best animation.  How about you?

Ponyo at Studio Ghibli (Japanese)
Ponyo at Disney (English)
Paprika at Sony Classics (English)

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Published by Arria Cross

Blogger at since 2014. Currently a webnovelist. Check out my work "His Genius is a Superstar".

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  1. Animaiton can mean different things for different people. One of the things that Ghibli excels at, is the depiction of emotion. If I recall correctly, there was a documentary where it was Miyazaki himself asking a younger animator to depict a scene. I think it was a surprise or shocking moment or something like that. Miyazaki told him to think about this moment, how to exaggerate this emotion yet depict it accurately. It is almost like a Zen koan that you have to contemplate on. The animator said that he struggled a lot, but finally came up with the way to animate the scene well. One of the characteristic techniques is the subtle “hair lift”, as if a character is suddenly in a zero gravity chamber.

    The unique aspect of Ponyo was the completely pencil-based animation – a very rare occasion these days! It took 70 staff to draw 170 000 pictures by hand over one and a half years!


    1. Indeed. I heard something like that from a TED talks lecturer. I’m not aware of that documentary. Do you know the title? I’ll go ask our librarian for it.

      Oh oh! Yes, I heard about this from a buddy who’s a big Ghibli fan. I was still barely in high school at that time, though, so I didn’t appreciate it very much. But now I think that it’s amazing.


    1. The Wind Rises is another masterpiece. Love its story! Although I still stand with my opinion that Ponyo has the best animation because of the amazing colours used. But of course, this question is still subjective and differs with every person.


      1. That’s fair. We have different opinions in this matter. But I think that The Wind Rises have a better quality of animation for you because it’s more recently made than Ponyo. Ponyo was released 6 years ago, whereas The Wind Rises 2 years old since its release.


  2. I don’t fancy Miyazaki Hayao films, but Ponyo was one of his films that I enjoyed the most. The rest are, for me and IMO, kinda forgettable.

    Paprika was amazing because it was confusing. That was its job, and it did its job fantastically.


    1. Miyazaki’s films are not for everyone. They’re a bit hard to comprehend, especially if you’re younger. It’s only when I was in my late teens that I began to appreciate his films. I think Spirited Away’s story is better than Ponyo, to be honest, but I still choose Ponyo as the one with the better animation.

      Yes, Paprika was just. . .darn confusing. But it’s awesome because of that, too.


      1. Actually, I only got to watch some of Miyazaki movies since late high school, and even now I still haven’t watched everything he directed. And, I just didn’t like them.


      2. I see. Well, Miyazaki supposedly “retired” now, although he “retired” a number of times before but ended up directing more movies for Studio Ghibli. I wonder if there will be more movies from Studio Ghibli in the future, or the studio will retire alongside Miyazaki. I hope not.


      3. Thanks for the link, but I’ve already read similar posts after the release of last year’s “The Wind Rises”. I think I read them from Tofugu, Rocketnews & ANN. It’s unfortunate, though. I’m quite fond of Studio Ghibli. Oh well.


  3. I am a big fan of the late Satoshi Kon. I also prefer “Paprika”. I could not get emotionally connected to the characters in “Inception”. Also, I once bought a cell phone that came pre-loaded with the Inception movie. I’m too old to watch a movie on a 3.5″ phone! I was afraid if I tried to delete it, I would end up wrecking the phone.

    Oh, and I like to nickname my female Growlithe “Paprika” (he says proudly congratulating himself on the perfect nickname).


    1. I know, right?
      Wow. I don’t think watching Inception in such a small screen is a good experience. I think you need a theatre screen to fully appreciate the visual effects.

      Hahaha! Why your Growlithe and not your other Pokemon?


      1. I see. I think that Paprika is a good baby name, too. I actually suggested it to a newly-wed uncle. He and his wife looked at me with these weird expressions on their faces. I don’t know why.

        Liked by 1 person

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