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"Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta" by The Master Miazaky was not, as I thought when I saw the DVD box, the latest groundbreaking piece, but a very ealry, even more groundbreaking piece. Being rather ignorant about the history of animated pictures, I did not realise immediately that this (from 1986) must have been really an amazing for the time. But when you watch it, you realise immediately that there is something special about it. There is a very elegant seriousness about the whole story, and I think this film shows particularly well what it is that distinguishes the Asian (or maybe it’s just Miazaky’s) art from the Holywood version: the most fantastic (in the "fantasy" meaning of the word, among others) occurrences hit the characters, who face their fate and fight their way with the greatest sobriety, neglecting the urge to despait in the confrontation with all these witches and wizards, ghosts and ghouls. To introduce this form of fantastic element in an otherwise completely straightforward and regular world makes the charm.

All in all: the story and its fantastic characters are not as over the top as in his later films, but this is made up by the charming characters and the big morale, of course. As rewarding an experience as ever. And if you want to know what Mark Hamill was doing recently…

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092067/

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