Jamie’s 2017

This last year has felt crazy for me, in incredible ways that pushed me to work harder, and love more freely on everyone in my life, from coworkers to my beloved boyfriend ( we’re two years strong and happier than ever) to even myself. I had some wonderful people in my life this year!

I accomplished some big things too, like purchasing my first car debt free. That was huge for me. And I turned 23. AND I flew back to Georgia for a third time in May to visit James, before he then visited me for the first time in December! I made two best friends out of coworkers while working at Dairy Queen this year: my Ashlyn, the devil to my angel, and goofy good ol’ Trent, who I so desperately just want to adopt and protect haha! A beautiful cinnamon roll too good for this world, too pure. ❤ 😉

It’s been SO. VERY. LONG since I’ve made friends on my own like this, like, friends that can share your heartaches together, have each other’s backs when the pressure of life or work is too much, and cheer for and support you no matter what. Gaining that was HUGE for me this year! Like more than they’ll ever understand due to my past of constantly losing my friends throughout my childhood.

I learned A LOT working at Dairy Queen, but I definitely learned for myself that it is DEFINITELY in my heart to be there for people as the unjudging ear who will listen no matter what because I WANT TO. I LOVE TO. I CARE THAT MUCH. Doing so GAVE ME so many friendships! I definitely felt like my biggest job at work was just to be there for my coworkers, all of them. I love each one so very dearly: I listened to them all when they drove each other crazy, I absorbed the verbal punches, I empathized with their feelings so they wouldn’t feel invalidated and unheard anymore. Even when sometimes it felt like they all hated each other, I felt like they all saw me as their friend, someone who was there for them, and we got through the night together.

I found it incredible how much simply EMPATHIZING with ALL of my coworkers made work-life THAT MUCH BETTER. Besides that, I also felt very valued and loved by my coworkers, especially when I gave my two weeks notice at the end of the year and everyone was just so sad I was leaving. Just wow, it was so heartwarming to have people respond to me so wonderfully! It means to the world to me to have been a part of a family there, even though I’m not there anymore.

The greatest gift from this year was truly knowing there are people who were my friends who loved me very much. I feel very rich with that blessing. Ashlyn and Trent I especially got to know very, very well and they both mean THE ABSOLUTE WORLD TO ME.

Ashlyn is like my twin sister I never knew I was missing; she is so funny and she taught me to speak my mind more! She shares her beautiful two children with me and made me Aunt Jamie. I went to her extended family’s Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving parties this past year–she and her mother Eileen made me feel SO WELCOME as a part of their family. Ashlyn and I had some incredible adventures, from late night Wal-Mart shopping, visiting the gym to talk out drama and then eat McDonald’s (haha, we know we’re terrible XD), to racing the little one to the hospital at 1 in the morning. We just absolutely loved working together and being together, to the point that everyone else teased us about it haha! I love her so much, and we still have the best times together! ❤

And Trent. oh my goodness, that kid. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ I won’t share details because I want to keep private things private, but he changed my life so I want to share a little bit of that. And I just freaking love that kid TO UTTER DEATH. I loved working with him; he is so very hysterical! At the same time, he broke my heart in a way I’d yet to experience for another human being. He was that loud obnoxious kid with the heart of gold who just needed to be loved on, just needed some positive attention and encouragement from someone, somewhere, before something just snaps or dies inside. I’ve never felt so much compassion for another person like I did for him. So, all year, I loved on him for who he was and wow, it was such a rewarding experience! It changed my life; my heart grew so much bigger from it! It strengthened my belief that all everyone needs is simply an unconditional love from God which He can show through any of us, if our hearts are open to listen and understand, to see past the surface to the soul within, to not be afraid to love those who feel unlovable. I’m so happy that I got to watch him grow happier and healthier as the year passed and he truly became one of my best friends! I think he’s someone who can change the world with that big generous heart of his. I pray for him every day and can’t wait to see where he’ll go in life. ❤

He and Ashlyn were such BIG parts of making my 2017 incredible, with their gifts of friendship, honesty, love, and mutual support. They both made me feel so loved, needed and valued! Whenever we were in the same room it was like the air had a spark of energy and happiness for me. We laughed so freaking much while we worked so dang hard, and despite all the hardships, we shared so much joy in that little DQ building. I can never thank them enough for giving me so many fantastic memories from this year. ❤

Honestly, working at Dairy Queen this year was very huge in that I was kept very busy all year. I worked very hard. Honestly, I didn’t know I could work so hard, be so tough, push through it all and come out stronger and without it dampering my work attitude, but I did this year.

I came in every single time I picked up Boss’s call to come in on a night off or because she needed help. I worked nine days in a row: twice. Covered so many shifts, came in early, came in the middle of shifts to help out on nights off, pulled unexpected doubles… all while trying my hardest to still be thoughtful of everyone else and keep my aches and pains and moans and groans off the clock. I worked A LOT in 2017. I worked mostly night shifts, and if I didn’t go on an adventure with Eileen and Ashlyn afterward, which I very often did till 1 or 2 in the morning, I’d come home and collapse. This is why I didn’t blog very much, and I even dropped a lot of my seasonal anime shows just from being so freaking tired or emotionally drained if the vibe at work had been bad. In all honesty, Dairy Queen worked me to the bone this year, and I honestly didn’t do very much besides work my butt off. XD

BUT FROM ALL THAT, I learned that I am one tough BEAST and I AM capable to work a physically demanding job with a big smile on my face despite the rude people in drive-thru and the coworker drama–not just work my fair share, BUT WORK MORE THAN I SHOULD HAVE, and still come out feeling stronger for it. I’m dang proud of myself!

I learned this year that I can do anything I set my mind to. I really can. I know because I did it over and over again.

To that point, I’m looking for different employment now, hopefully in the pet/animal world. Fingers crossed. It’ll be a whole new adventure for 2018, starting a new job with new coworkers and learning new things. But I’m praying and believing that God is going to lead me to the right place, that needs me and the right place that I need. If any of you feel moved to pray for me to find that right place for the next part of my life’s journey, that would incredible. ❤

The only other huge thing that sticks out to me from this year, is James.

Oh, my sweet darling amazing most handsome terribly funny James. I LOVE YOU.

Best boyfriend a girl could ask for! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

It’s been two years since James and I started talking romantically and it’s been life-changing. I never thought in a million years that I’d end up with a boyfriend who could be so patient, so understanding and gentle with my emotions, fears, hopes, and supportive of my choices and who I am as a person. And on top of it all, do it on the other side of the country! Long distance has yet to stop us from loving each other wholeheartedly and working towards being together one day!

This year has been much more stable than last year for us! Last year we figured out how to make long distance work and took a lot of time to communicate fears and boundaries and expectations and just building a foundation for us. This year, we’ve enjoyed the fruit of all that labor!

This year, us being in a relationship was the new and amazing normal!

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Video^^^ He makes me laugh and laugh and laugh! ❤

Sparkler fun!

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Another video!^^^We lit sparklers in the moist Georgia night air and danced and laughed and killed bugs. XD

This year we settled into being boyfriend and girlfriend without having to talk about it haha! This year me flying to see him just felt normal! It wasn’t a rollercoaster year for us, but that in itself is amazing. IT’S AMAZING THAT OUR RELATIONSHIP JUST FEELS NORMAL! 😀 Throughout the year while we were apart, we played online games like Path of Exile and Minecraft together, when he wasn’t slaving away at school and I wasn’t getting called into work haha! We celebrated our first official Valentine’s together, and he spoiled me rotten with birthday and Christmas gifts (lots of Disney movies on Blu-ray and DVD, a Blu-Ray player, a new camera and wireless earbuds, and so many other gifts.)

And oh yeah, HE FLEW TO SEE ME THIS PAST DECEMBER FOR THE FIRST TIME! Wow! It was wild having him here in Arizona and meet my family! We had a blast! My mom loved him! Christmas was in the air and it was just too magical! I took him in to work to meet everyone; we spent hours in Zia Records; we went to my theater four times. He and my mom got along almost too well LOL! We snuggled on the love seat and watched lots of movies and musicals. I’ve been anxiously waiting for his visit allllllllllllllllllll year and it was just the absolute best thing in the world when it finally happened! All the snow in Atlanta couldn’t stop him from getting to me! Just, ajskdfajsldfkasldjf it was fantastic!

I couldn’t have asked for a better first visit for him to be here with me and meet Mom!

Thank you for another happy year having me as your girlfriend, James. I can’t imagine you not being my best friend, my life without you, or not being together with you like we are now! I’m so happy with you in my life, and I can’t wait for many more years with you by my side! ❤

2017 was a great year for me. I learned I was so much tougher than I thought I was. And I did get to do some pretty fun things when I wasn’t working!

I went to my first haunted house experience, The 13th Floor, with Ashlyn and her hubby and friends, had the time of our lives screaming our guts out! I ate lots of Panda Express. Visited both Wickenburg and Flag Staff to hike Walnut Canyon. Coworker Matt and I talked up our anticipation for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2” and “Game of Thrones Season 7” ALLLL spring, which was just the best, and we even went to see “Spider-Man: Homecoming” together (I miss you as well, Matt!) I gave in and got Snapchat. My coworkers spoiled me rotten on my birthday, from hugs and presents, to Boss having everyone sing! I got to babysit the cutest kids on earth as my niece and nephew. I filled my coin bank to the top with tips! I threw down so much cash to get Taylor Swift’s new album and merch (which IS THE BOMB!) I got puppy scars on my arm which are still there. I bought so many dream catchers (the count is up to 12.) Finally finished “Breaking Bad” after a year hiatus. I became a Pewdiepie fan this year–I know that’s super random but he’s given me some great laughs! I got to try acrylic nails for the first time, thanks to Ashlyn! James took me on a date to Arrowhead Mall! Sat in the parking lot after work with coworkers in the heat just because we weren’t ready to say bye yet.

It was a good year!

I named her Minnie. And we're going for a drive. 😎😜😍😊

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That happy moment when he goes to sleep. 😴😇 #babysitting

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A night out with Ashlyn is always a great night. ❤️😘

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So yeah, that’s been my year!

The year of finding real friendships and fun in my coworkers, the year I got my wonderful car, the year James at last visited me here in Arizona, the year where being boyfriend and girlfriend felt so freaking normal and real, the year my heart grew so full of love to give to anyone who needed it.

As I said above in that one Instagram post, my overall thought from this year is: I’m beat tired but I’m so blessed. I’m so excited for the new adventures 2018 will throw at me when I find my new job and visit Georgia again. I’m so ready to keep building towards my future!

Goodbye 2017, hello 2018. Throw your best at me; I can handle you. 😉

~Jamie

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Highlights of My 2015

Today I thought I’d write out some highlights of 2015 for myself while it still doesn’t quite feel like “2016” yet: the big highlights, the ones that really stand out. XD I’m going to jump right in and will go in chronological order. XD

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I Created an Anime Blog.

My introduction to anime in 2014 led to a full obsession at the beginning of 2015, and I created my second blog “Jamie Talks Anime”. I’ve started second blogs before but they’ve never gone anywhere, but “Jamie Talks Anime” was very different. I actually had things to say about the stories and characters and music that came out of anime. I’ve enjoyed meeting so many new people through that blog and it gained 85 followers in its first year! As long as I keep watching and loving anime, I’ll continue to blog over there. But that was definitely a big change to my blogging habits and highlight of 2015.

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The Great Divorce Ended.

After almost four years of turmoil, with a two-year divorce process for my parents, it all finally ended in April. We celebrated. That was all a huge deal for me and my family, like breaking the surface of the sea to breathe. It was nice to hear words like “lawyer” disappear from our vocabulary after April but new routines left me spiraling like crazy all summer. I’m finding my footing now.

It’s relieving but crazy that it’s all over. I remember being eighteen thinking… “I’ll be twenty when this will be all over. No way.” But here I am, at 21 and it’s all over and time is crazy. I can already easily say my family is better off now by having my dad go his own way. And a lot personal growth and good things has come out of the whole awful experience.

And I’m incredibly proud of my mom. She’s a fighter to have made it the end of it without changing her mind. She’s very brave.

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I wish I could write to eighteen year old me and tell her that twenty-one me is doing ok, near the end of the dark tunnel where the light is. Or at least, there’s enough light to cast my shadow on the tunnel wall to groove with me and my music. Things are getting better, baby steps at a time!

My 21st Birthday.

Yep, 2015 was the big year that I officially became an adult. But not much happened LOL. I saw Ant-Man in theaters, had my favorite sandwiches, and made the day a quiet one. I didn’t do very much but I felt very loved from the many messages and notes I received that day. Really though, not much happened in regards to my birthday.

The biggest thing that DID happen that day ended up being completely unrelated: my dad decided to get remarried at the courthouse before bringing my brother home to me. And I’m still baffled about why it was on my birthday (or why he decided to get remarried three months after going through divorce he *said* he didn’t want.) I don’t know, I try very hard not to criticize my dad on here as I’m just not really ready go into how he’s made me feel…but that’s not normal, is it?

So, yep, turning 21 was quiet but the day was bizarrely memorable.

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I Passed My GED Tests.

I never blogged about it, but I did get my GED in 2015! After just over a year of studying at a GED tutoring school, and knocking each test out one at a time, I passed the math test in September for my certificate! The math test was a huge deal for me when I passed it as I’m horrific in math. Horrific. Please don’t ask me to do your taxes. Don’t even ask me to find the total cost of three Big Macs in the drive thru, unless you’re handing me a calculator. XD

Mathematical intelligence is my lowest intelligence, so math is my immortal enemy. It was a VERY happy day when I stumbled out of that two-hour test, my brain fried, and became informed I’d passed. So now I have my GED, which will be extremely helpful when I begin job hunting! And studying for it filled in a lot of missing information I didn’t have since I really lacked a high school education.

So, hip hip horray! But screw you, math. I’d say “stay out of my life”, but I’m in a college math class now, so it seems I can’t get away from you just yet. XD

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Speaking of college.

That was another big deal for me at the end of 2015. Just before I got my GED, I began a class at my community college during the fall semester. It was for creatively geared people struggling to figure out what type of career would fit them. That class changed my perspective in positive ways for so many things and I ended up really loving it! And my plans for college took a 180 turn between September and Dec. I want to start working towards an associates degree of some kind!

And I have actual career ideas in mind that I know would fit me. Besides strengthening my writing skills, I became very aware of how much joy and personal strength I have in helping and cheering on people. I like helping people feel heard and understood and empowered to be their very best selves. And I know I’d love to have a career the field of helping people someday! It was amazing to learn that about myself thanks to college!

I have much more to say on this subject that will go into another post, but 2015 was the year that I tried college and liked it! ❤

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I Get to Meet my Best Friend!

This is the last big thing that fell into motion during 2015 for me! After being friends through blogging for five years, with 2014/2015 being full of weekly skype chats, anime marathoning, and just getting to be best friends, James and I began the initial stage of planning our first visit! That stage is basically completed at this point; all that’s left is for my plane ticket to be bought for the visit this upcoming summer!

AND I’M INCREDIBLY THRILLED. You guys! I’ve always wanted to meet my different blogging buddies, several of you reading this included; but I’m so glad James will be the first because we’re such good friends and have known each other for a long time! The two of us marvel that once upon a time the extent of our friendship was merely in the comment section of our blogs talking about Star Wars and The Avengers! XD

But he’s the best, you guys! James is truly my best friend and he’s one of the kindest people I know. He encourages me everyday to keep my chin up and be the best me I can be. He’s also incredibly smart; he has excellent taste in stories; and he’s hilarious as heck! So I’m really excited that before 2015 was over we got to talk about meeting! Now it’s just a countdown to May!


5aa2b29a8d6caffe98ba30d6e7a8a6c3These are just some big highlights of 2015, the things that stand out of the most. 2015 was a lot, a lot of little things too:

2015:

was the year that I had blue hair for twelve months. The year my sister joined the military. The year I failed to do yoga. The year I began writing stories for myself again. It was also the year I lost a book in a hard drive crash. The year I realized I really liked lime slices in my water. The year I saw The Lord of the Rings for the first time. The year when on social media I stopped trying to be something I wasn’t. The year a family pet died. The year I rode the bus by myself for the first time. The year I finally confessed a hard secret and was still loved despite it. The year the shadows broke all over.

I don’t know how 2015 was for you, but I’m excited to have survived it! I’m desperately looking forward to what’s in store for me in 2016!

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~Jamie

My Hiatus is Over! || My Summer

Well, my hiatus for this blog ran a lot longer than I originally expected, but it was a much-needed personal break to let my mind and emotions be by themselves for awhile.

The thing about running a personal blog is that it’s…well…personal. It can get hard to share things or write about even silly things when you’re confused and befuddled about big issues in your life. So the break from this blog has been good to just allow my mind to simmer with itself.  I haven’t come to any conclusions, but I’m okay with not being completely okay. That in and of itself is freeing.

I plan to catch you all up on the different things I’ve struggled with in the near future, as those are heavy topics for their own posts. But today I’ll just catch you up on my summer as best I can! 😀

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In many ways it was a very quiet summer. It others, it was loud and confusing and emotional.

My parent’s divorce was finalized at the end of April (a big HIP HIP HOORAY goes right here!) and my entire family’s routine changed as my brother began to switch between my home and my dad’s home every other week. I’m still adjusting here in September: My weeks seem to begin on Fridays and then have no ending. It’s super weird. XD It works though; I miss my little bro when he’s not here, but I also enjoy that quiet off-week too because… eight year old boys……..just wow.

I worked on my sci-fi book throughout June, but as my head got louder and louder with doubts and theological questions and frustration, I paused the writing. I’d hope to pick it back up in August, but computer issues and now college still keeps me from continuing with it for the time being. The only other story I worked on over the summer was personal story for myself, an nontraditional romance that is incredibly fun write. But that was all the fiction I managed to write over the summer. 😦

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I turned 21 at the end of July! It was a very nice birthday; with early morning happy birthday emojis from my best friend, to the exciting Ant-Man which Mom agreed to watch with me, to my favorite sub-sandwiches for dinner. The amount of birthday wishes and phone calls and cards made me feel very loved and special! There was a damper on the day’s end (I.E. my dad suddenly remarrying on my birthday before bringing my brother home–a topic for another post) but thankfully the shock of it didn’t really kick in till the next day.

Overall, I had a wonderful 21st birthday! Thank you again for all your sweet comments!

Small things can keep you busy like you wouldn’t believe. One day the internet went out. We didn’t figure out until the next day that it wasn’t a neighborhood thing but our own problem. *headdesk* Stupid little things like that seemed to happen all summer. XD

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Between the end of July and through almost the entirety of August, I had computer struggles. Oh how those just thrill me to pieces. XD This problem interfered with the blogging I was doing, and I breathed in and out of calm control and fits of frustration. As of now, the issue has seemed to resolved it’s self, which is the weirdest thing EVER, but I’m not complaining! I can upload images to WordPress again!

The pro that came out of that whole experience, though, was that I learned a behemoth-like amount of information about my computer this summer and how I can maintain it from my good ol’ friend James The Reviewer. Thank you again for all your help last month, James, you were the best! (Seriously, guys, he taught me so much computer stuff, and took a lot time to walk me through possible solutions for the issue, even though he didn’t have too. I’m such a baby when it comes to my computer, so it was nice to have support from someone steadier than myself. XD)

Friends are literally the best thing ever.

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Happier moments of the summer included watching and talking and writing about anime. So many adventures; so many wonderful characters who are now very dear to my heart (Takeo and Yamato! Kiyoshi-dono! Renge! NICOLAS BROWN, MARRY ME!) I kept my anime blog alive despite the computer issues–I don’t know how!!!–and had lots of fun! I’ve established some wonderful friendships this summer and almost everyone that I’ve met in the anime blogging community has been very kind and enthusiastic!

It’s also incredible to be exposed to a second language every single day through stories. The Japanese language is so beautiful to listen to and I feel a little more familiar with it as each week goes by! It’s my new favorite thing!

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COLLEGE. As August began to close, I first pondered, then agreed to start college before fully wrapping up my GED studies. I’m taking one class, a career exploration class for creative minds at my local community college and I’m already glad I agreed to start. While I now have homework to bring home, I really like the class’s content so far. I think I will learn a lot about myself this semester and shall be able to zone in a specific career or degree that I would personally be driven to achieve.

Since it’s also a class about understanding yourself, I hope that it will help me work through a lot of junk I still have from the past nine years of unbalanced homeschooling and over-the-top patriarchal churches and emotional exhaustion.  I spent most of my teens years having my individualism smothered in the patriarchal movement, which I’m still recovering from.

God didn’t make me as a incomplete soul or personality without a man and I should not have buried myself for others for years and years!

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Hopefully I’ll really discover how I think and function as an individual during this semester, so I can continue becoming my own person. I mean, I’ve done a lot of this in other areas of my life already (I’m learning to say no for myself, I’m learning healthy boundaries, and I am learning to enjoy what I enjoy without feeling weird about it) but I still need help understanding my core. Personal exploration will be very healthy for me!

It has been a confusing, crazy, quiet, enjoyable, angry, emotional summer. I love anime; I really love anime. I’m happy that I got to enjoy the lightning storms in the evening while I listened to music. I’m mad at my dad because, wow, thanks for dragging us through the mud for years insisting a divorce would ruin our already ruined family and then remarrying before the papers are barely cold on my birthday; like I didn’t have enough trust issues with men! And I’m happy that my mom insisted I think about starting college.

I’m hopeful I’ll find my path by the end of the year.

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I am still a lot of emotions from this summer and I haven’t worked through everything; but that’s okay. I’m okay with knowing that I’m both angry and happy and miserable and hopeful all at the same time. I THINK THAT IS LIFE?!?

However, I’ve had my fill of quiet time with just myself. I ready to come home, to this blog and to all of you! Thanks for waiting for me, guys. I love you all! I can’t wait to continue blogging here!

What did you do or feel this summer?

~Jamie

Favorite Bromances

Bromance.

It’s a pop culture term that summarizes two guys (usually fictional characters) who have a deep/brotherly relationship (and/or often pertaining to actual romance, which I leave out when I use the word.) I don’t use this term that much but sometimes it’s feels appropriate when I’m trying to talk about a great friendship between two male best friends.

Personally, I love seeing deep, platonic relationships between guys in my movies and TV shows–usually those connections reach out from the screen to me and are near-unbreakable, which is why the movies and shows become near-unbreakable too!

These below are my personal favorite fictional best friends. They’re listed in an attempted alphabetical order to avoid the heartache of ranking favorites. XD

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Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee | The Lord of The Rings Trilogy

I’ve worked on this post for a long time but I could never complete it for some reason. Now, after seeing The Lord of the Rings, I know why. It’s because this list was incomplete without Frodo and Sam, one of the best bromances ever. 🙂 These two were easily my very favorite part about The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Sam such a bad*ss best friend–he always had Frodo’s back, even when the ring began effecting Frodo’ judgement for the worse. And Frodo, when he was thinking straight, really appreciated Sam’s loyalty and brotherhood.  And of course, the moments on Mordor: #THEFEELS

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Han Solo and Chewbacca | The Star Wars Trilogy

I think they’re usually viewed as “character with sidekick” sort of relationship but just because Chewbacca isn’t a main character in the Star Wars movies doesn’t mean that he and Han Solo aren’t bros for life. Besides Wookies are very intelligent and all, so their connection is completely legitimate.

The movies don’t even need to make a big sub-plot demonstrating their strong friendship because it looks so natural and real on the screen. They’re a classic addition to idea of brotherhood and kick-butt partners.

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Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings | A&E’s Agatha Christie’s Poirot

Ever since I first watch the show over five years ago, I’ve absolutely loved this detective duo. They’re such a great addition to the bromance group since, in many ways, they’re a rather mismatched pair. Poirot is very particular, sharp, and proper, while Hastings is a relaxed chap who walks the line of being a little clueless.

But they work because they care for each other’s companionship! I’ve loved these guys since day one over five years ago, so the fact they’ve managed to stay within this list speaks to their true and memorably fun friendship.

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Jake the Dog and Finn the Human | Adventure Time

Adventure Time is one of my more recent favorite shows because of its quirky stories, characters, and stylistically simple, magical world. The two main characters are unquestioningly one of the best broships you’ll ever find on TV. They were even raised to together as brothers. Finn and Jake go on adventures, take quests, woo princesses, play video games, and contemplate simple life lessons of friendship.

It’s sounds similar to many kid shows, but Finn and Jake’s friendship feels so special and authentic in a simple way. They’re partly why Adventure Time’s been embraced by young adults like myself. ❤

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James P. Sullivan and Mike Wazowski | Monsters Inc/University

I shouldn’t even have to talk very much about these guys: you should know Sulley and Mike are the best of classic besties ever. Their song to each other in the credits literally goes “I wouldn’t have nothin’ if I didn’t have you.” Pixar perfectly captures the epitome of best friends with a big fuzzy monster and a one-eyed being shaped like a beach ball. They’re one of my most favorite duos in film and they absolutely had to get placed here. 😀

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Jenko and Schmidt | 21 /22 Jump Street

I have a soft spot for these high school rivals-turned-cop partners. While these films are quite adult, they are among my favorite comedies: This is thanks to the fantastic chemistry between characters Jenko and Schmidt. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are exceptional together in these films, and the characters combined with wonderful comedic timing carry the movies from meh to great.

I absolutely love Jenko and Schmidt together as best buddies and cop partners, so they very easily get to make my list of best bromances.

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Kuroko and Kagami | Kuroko’s Basketball

These two were the first anime duo to pop in my head when I was creating this post. Even though I’ve only see the first season so far, these guys still easily make my best of the best list. Kagami’s passionate about basketball but struggles to control his strengths while Kuroko can barely do anything on the court outside of his amazing passing ability. The two discover that they perfectly compliment each other in-game, even if they can butt heads off the court, and their unlikely friendship is formed.

The partnership turned friendship in this anime had me hooked. The two have these epic fist bump moments where I want to fall out of my chair for love of them. Kuroko’s lack of presence annoys Kagami at first, but they eventually find, heart to heart, that they can only be better at what they love if they work together. ❤

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Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute | The Office

A little more one-sided than you might think, the duo of well-meaning but idiotic Michael Scott and the cold-with-secret-soft-side Dwight Schrute is a priceless pair for both comedy and friendship. During the first few seasons, Michael just barely puts up with Dwight’s intense devotion as “Assistant Regional Manager,” while Dwight is completely devoted to Michael’s every wish and whim.

However, as the seasons pass, Dwight’s devotion is slowly repaid by Michael with real friendship and brotherhood, which is why they’re make it on this list. Also they’re hysterical together.

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Mitchel and Cameron Pritchet| Modern Family

Mitch and Cam are the only official couple to be included here (because what’s the point of this post if I don’t mention these guys?!) While Modern Family has an amazing cast of characters, the standouts to me are the uptight yet steady redheaded Mitch who’s balanced by the bubbly jack-of-all-trades Cam: These guys are one of my favorite duos ever.

Mitch and Cam are wonderfully developed characters, both encompassing and simultaneously shattering the idea of”the gay couple” on several levels. I absolutely respect and admire the show’s writers for so thoughtfully creating such vivid, realistic, hysterical people–I will never get tired of watching these guys react to life together.

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Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon | The Walking Dead

Although not a main theme to The Walking Dead’s plot like in Adventure Time, the brotherhood between a former Sheriff’s Deputy, Rick, and a rough-around-the-edges red neck, Daryl, is one of the best parts of the show! Especially since these two guys are my favorite characters!

Daryl’s real brother Merle was abusive and bad-tempered, so when Daryl is no longer around his bad influences and begins to mature, he finds a better older brother-like friendship in the group’s leader, Rick Grimes. It’s not at all a quick friendship to say the least, but that’s why it feels so authentic. And without the zombie apocalypse it would never have been formed!

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Sherlock Holmes and John Watson

Easily one of my favorite duos of all time (if not my ultimate favorite,) the classic literary duo are represented here with my two personal favorite pairs (technically the only two sets that I genuinely love) with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman from Sherlock and Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce’s 1940’s classics. Of course I adore Holmes and Watson in the books, especially since those are from Watson’s perspective.

Much like Poirot and Hastings, they sometimes seem a bit mismatched (especially in Sherlock) but they have one of the truest friendships in all fiction, as far as I’m concerned. Not because they have a perfect friendship without flaws, but because through the flaws they still can stick together.

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Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s Many Character Duos | in The Cornetto Trilogy

I’m encompassing three sets of bromances here, all portrayed by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The characters they play have very different types of friendships which are all priceless. Shaun and Ed from Shaun of the Dead are the hysterical duo where the one character is more worried about his future while the other acts a burden. The fantastic friendship in Hot Fuzz is between the uptight Sergeant Angel and the soft-hearted sidekick Danny: they create a a wonderful cop duo (and the purest bromance of these three.) And in the last one, Pegg and Frost portray a broken friendship which is poorly reunited.

This British trilogy of stand-alone films features these brothers and it’s FANTASTIC due to excellent writing, character development and amazing comedy chemistry between Pegg and Frost. ❤

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Stewie Griffin and Brian Griffin | Family Guy

Although Brian’s creation was as sidekick for family patriarch Peter Griffin, the absolute best episodes of Family Guy are when he’s teamed up with the one-year-old, English-accented, evil genius Stewie Griffin, in the “Road To” adventures. They’re another badly mismatched pair who start off hating each other but eventually become great buds.

Even non-“Road To” episodes with the two characters interacting are hysterical and completely awesome as zing each other and time travel. I adore them too much to leave them off this list!


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The original list of guys to include here was twice this big but I kept only my favorite of favorites for length, which means Woody and Buzz, Arthur and Merlin, Tamaki and Kyoya of “Ouran,” and Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes are only honorable mentions. But that’s life, I suppose. (And to tell the truth, I enjoyed Steve and Bucky more when it was only The First Avenger; all the fangirls got annoying during Winter Soldier and nearly ruined them for me. 😦 )

So: How many bromances have you seen from my list and would you agree with me? What are some of your favorite pairs of best guy friends? Any pairs you would include that I didn’t (I can think of some popular pairs that are very absent from my list)?

~Jamie

My Summer with Studio Ghibli

studio-ghibliWhat sets this Japanese animation company apart from most other studios is their ability to perfectly capture the precious moments in life; like good food, affection between friends and family, and respect for neighbors and nature. If you are into movies or animation, then most of these films I saw this summer are must-sees, all drawn in the most enchanting animation style!

This summer, I got introduced to Studio Ghibli’s anime films; I ended up watching nearly all of them too fast because they were so good! Even the overrated ones displayed some of the most beautiful animation. I want to bring more attention to these movies, so I’ve compiled single paragraph thoughts on the ones I’ve seen below. they’re presented in the order I watched them and are spoiler-free! I’m also incredibly proud of this post as it took about a month to create, write and design! I don’t do this for everything, so consider this a demonstration of my strong feelings for these films (many of which I now own on DVD!)

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A strong shout out and thank you needs to be said to my best friend, James, for suggesting I give Studio Ghibli a try, and for recommending Whisper of the Heart so many times. 😉 Ghibli has definitely been a big highlight of my 2014 summer! The studio definitely changed how I look at anime and animation in general and greatly expanded my film world (and Top 100 Favorite Movies list!) Thank you so much, James!

Notes: The only Ghibli films I haven’t seen include Only Yesterday, Ocean Waves, and Tales from Earthsea. I have seen Nausicaa, but since it’s technically not Ghibli, I opted to leave it out. Just a personal choice on my part.

arrietty-disneyscreencaps.com-1368The Secret World of Arrietty || 2010 || G 

“Human beings are dangerous. If we’re seen, we have to leave. My parents said so.”

My first Studio Ghibli film. It appealed to a childhood love of mine for tiny people, so it turned out to be perfect starting point. Arrietty was whimsical, breathtakingly beautiful, and quite endearing. I found it very enjoyable, even though it wasn’t a rousing epic or a heart stopping adventure. It was a very sweet tale that elevated your boring objects like sugar cubes and sewing pins to a completely new perspective within the hands of a Borrower. Everything was just very delightful, from endearing heroine Arrietty (many of Ghibli’s films are filled with some of the most wonderful female leads!) and her unique little family, to the most gorgeous animation. A highlight for me was the original score that was a very gentle Celtic. It definitely lifted the story to special heights as it guided story’s emotion. Overall, this is personally special to me because it was my first Ghibli film, so I give it an extra half a star. 🙂

Final Comment: A Whimsical Wonder || 5/5  stars

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mimiWhisper of the Heart || 1995 || PG 

“Take me home, concrete roads!”

This was highly recommended to me, a beautifully told coming-of-age story. Set at the point when the libraries were preparing to computerized their systems, Shizuku’s interest in piqued by seeing a familiar name on all her checkout cards-she eventually meet the person and their stories become entwined. The atmosphere of Tokyo’s neighborhoods, antique shops, apartment complexes, and the people who pass by them, made for a very comforting backdrop for the story to unfold and one that I was fascinated to watch. The film handles young romance exceptionally well, never once feeling awkward or weird–a gigantic plus! I loved Shizuku as a female lead and would certainly love to revisit her life in a sequel if it could be handled well. At times, Whisper of the Heart can feel rather slow at the beginning but do not let your impatience get in the way of the perfect character handling and atmosphere. By the end of this movie, I was in puddle of tears from happiness and I’m still trying to figure out how they made such a small ending feel so monumental.

Final Comment: Sneak Attack On The Emotional Zone|| 5/5 stars

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216299-the-wind-rises-1The Wind Rises || 2013 || PG-13 

“Airplanes are beautiful, cursed dreams, waiting for the sky to swallow them up.”

This is one of Ghibli’s most beautiful films to date! I consider it almost a “sin” that Frozen took the Oscar this past year instead of The Wind Rises, especially when I saw how the Academy voted. A loose biopic, the film beautifully depicts the a life of Jiro Hirikoshi, who helped develop aircraft for the Japanese right before World War II and how his life’s passion was taken and used for harm. Airplanes have never been so interesting to me as they were throughout the running time of this film. The romance that developed during the second half  was so heartbreakingly beautiful that I ended up crying from the pure emotion. The animation in and of itself was basically flawless (especially character designs; for the most part, Ghibli creates some of the most pleasant and innocent looking characters I’ve ever seen that’s refreshing to the eyes!) A surprise was hearing John Karinski’s voice in this film (Jim Halpert of The Office, people!) and I actually liked Joseph Gordan Levitt’s acting too! The highlight of this film was simply the entire story and how it was presented. It was incredibly enjoyable and moving to behold in its entirety. Personally, I am still battling my temper that this film is so unknown compared to Disney’s very lacking ice and princess flick.

Final Comment: Oscar Worthy || 5/5 stars

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QualitŽ: deuxime gŽnŽration.   Titre: Le Royaume Des Chats.The Cat Returns || 2002 || G 

“Always believe in yourself. Do this and no matter where you are, you will have nothing to fear.”

As this film is loosely connected to Whisper of the Heart, which I loved terribly, I ended up watching this sooner than later. Sadly, it does not live up to what Whisper of the Heart delivered. The cat, The Baron, who originated in Whisper, was the best part; sadly, the rest of the film I didn’t enjoy half as much. It was a decent kids film, it simply tasted different from the previous three Ghibli films I’d seen. It wandered into more children’s stereotypical territory in a hit and miss type fashion. Overall, it was alright but I probably won’t watch again. (I should note that it is still better than some of America’s extremely cheesy and crude kids movies.)

Final Comment: Meh, Kids Will Like It || 3/5 stars

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Howl’s Moving Castle || 2004 || PG 

“Here’s another curse for you – may all your bacon burn!”

Very imaginative and fantastical, Howl’s Moving Castle is one of Studio Ghibli’s more popular films with a very large fan base, which at points has caused me to scratch my head to a degree. Frankly, I think it’s rather overrated but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an enjoyable watch. I did love the fantasy elements a lot; for example, the magical walking castle was really neat. The cast of characters was great; the fire demon Calcifer (English voice done by none other than Mike Wazowski’s voice, Billy Crystal!) was an imaginative fantasy creature and entertaining without being too silly. Christian Bale was great as the wizard Howl too! The film starts out quite strong, but gets too busy with different story threads during the last half, ultimately failing to resolve a major problem set up in the beginning. So, sadly I was left rather disappointed when the film ended. Still, it’s a good watch, especially for fantasy lovers.

Final Comment: Fantastical but Overrated || 4/5 stars

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neighbor-totoro-disneyscreencaps.com-3771My Neighbor Totoro || 1988 || G 

“There was a great big Totoro!”

Easily one of Ghibli’s most recognizable films, this is one of the best animated films I have ever seen in my life. Not only is it a timeless classic, but it’s depiction of family and sisterhood was pulled off better than in nearly any Disney film I’ve ever seen. This is by far the best and most realistic set of fictional sisters ever and that definitely made the film for me–they were so endearing! Little moments in the girls lives as they moved into a new house, settled into a new community, and glimpsed the forest spirits, was what made the film so monumental in heart and soul–it’s a quiet movie with massive heart. It’s also very entertaining, as little Mei is incredibly adorable and says and does some humorous things. The animation is a little old but it doesn’t hurt the film at all–in fact it has a charming, timeless quality to it that adds to the film’s quaint, sweet atmosphere of childhood. I’ve rewatched this film many times now with my seven-year-old brother and have teared up nearly every time by end. In short, this is a must-see.

Final Comment: Definition of Your Timeless Classic || 5/5 stars

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Ponyo || 2008 || G 

“That’s the most boring goldfish I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”

I fell in love with this movie almost instantly and I would rank it highly among one of my top favorite Studio Ghibli films. The animation of the water blew me away, as it looked so fluid and soft! The world of and above the sea, and their meeting together, was captured in perfect detail, charm, and awe through the story of two little children. Title character Ponyo was enthusiastic and strong-willed without being obnoxious, while the little boy Sosuke was adorably mature, bright, and kindhearted for his age; with such lovable leads, it was very hard not to adore this film! I absolutely loved the flow of the story’s plot and the level of emotion it took me to. The cast of characters was relatively small but also incredibly enjoyable and memorable; Ponyo’s wizard father and Sosuke’s spunky mother were both especially fun characters. In many ways, words fail me to describe how beautiful this movie was. From thrilling adventure, heart-tugging moments of joy, breathtaking animation, and a beautiful score, this was simply a masterpiece. Talk about going above and beyond for a children’s movie!

Final Comment: Favorite Tale From The Sea || 5/5 stars

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Spirited AwaySpirited Away || 2001 || PG 

“I finally get a bouquet and it’s a goodbye present. That’s depressing.”

Boy, this movie is loved to insane heights but I didn’t click with it on the first watch. While I was sick, I gave it a second try. While I still hold to my opinion that it’s kinda overrated, I did enjoy it more the second time through. It is a great feat in the animation universe. Incredibly bizarre yet solid, we get to follow human Chihiro as she becomes stuck in the nighttime world of a bathhouse for spirits, separated from her parents. Yep, this film is your classic fantasy adventure! Although some of the characters are a little ugly to look at, mostly the animation is fascinatingly interesting and hard to look away from. Spirited Away also manages to communicate emotion that gives the adventure some gravity, which overall helped it while on my second watch. I did have a problem with a poorly presented back story of one character, but I cannot go into detail without spoiling things. Overall, it’s… an interesting movie; it will probably grow on me a little bit at a time with each rewatch.

Final Comment: Crazy but Worth The Time|| 4 /5 stars

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kikis-delivery-serviceKiki’s Delivery Service || 1989 || G 

“You’d think they’d never seen a girl and a cat on a broom before.”

Kiki’s Delivery Service perfectly captured what a family film should feel like, hitting a well-balanced mark that some animated films miss; it was not too silly yet also not too serious. It was deliciously delightful and quaint, thoroughly soaked in a nostalgia for a simpler time. Kiki was a fantastic character to get behind as her simple journey of becoming an independent young adult unfolded through adventures, mishaps, and lots of heart. Her talking cat Jiji was adorable and funny without being ridiculous or weighing down the film with too much silly dialog. In fact, the whole cast of supporting characters were great! Kiki herself was a big highlight; I really wanted my younger brother to watch this film as she displayed an optimistic, strong will to work hard for herself, without seeming perfect or unrealistic. The film continues to grow on me with each rewatch, of which I’m very happy!

Final Comment: Wonderful Family Film || 4.5/5 stars

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960__castle_in_the_sky_blu-ray_x04_Laputa: Castle in the Sky || 1986 || PG 

“Oh, no! There goes my crystal!”

Laputa: Castle in the Sky is Ghibli’s first film and it’s a great children’s fantasy adventure, packed with space pirates, a lost civilization, a magical necklace, puzzles needing solving and a roller coaster of adventures that almost never stop. However, in some ways, it felt a little young for me, so I didn’t enjoy it  quite as much as, say, Kiki (my brother would LOVE this film though, and I need to show it to him soon!) There was just a tad more silliness mixed in–not in a bad way; it just felt a little hit and miss to me personally. However, for Ghibli’s first official film, it’s pretty decent! Lead characters Sheeta and Pazu are easy to get behind and were fun to follow throughout the story. Mark Hamill’s voice acting as a certain character was a pleasure to hear, too! I’m probably ranking this a little too low but until I can give a proper rewatch, I’ll have to stick with how I feel right now.

Final Comment: Decent Kids Adventure || 3.5/5 stars

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Princess Mononoke || 1997 || PG-13 

“You cannot change fate. However, you can rise to meet it, if you so choose.”

The versatility Ghibli has to tell so many different types of stories is amazing–from children’s adventures to bizarre fantasy to heartfelt drama. Ghibli is a master at their craft of storytelling! This versatility is especially clear in this rather mature epic, Princess Mononoke. Although the environmental theme became so overpowering that it felt more a sermon than a plot theme, the film still delivered a solid fantasy epic. Led by the likable but doomed Ashitaka, we get to watch as he’s caught up in a battle over the forest, some fighting to keep it safe and others wanting what it can give them, with little regard of the spirits that live within it. An extremely fascinating part of this film was that there practically no ‘bad’ side. Nearly all the characters were cast in shades of grey, each having good and bad motivates that gave a very large, telling image of humanity. I hope to revisit this film in the future, to form a more solid opinion of it, and to enjoy the animation, of course.

Final Comment: Preachy yet Epicly Beautiful || 4.5/5 stars

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poppy-hill-disneyscreencaps.com-3998From Up on Poppy Hill || 2011 || PG 

“There’s no future for people who worship the future and forget the past.”

This made me think of Whisper of The Heart, in a small ways. Poppy Hill, for some reason, isn’t that popular, so I’m among the few who really enjoyed this movie. As a high school attempts to save their clubhouse, we get to peek into the private lives of a couple of students in particular and their budding relationship; all with the backdrop of Japan’s struggle to move forward after WWII without loosing touch with their heritage. Like most Ghibli films, it handles the sweet beginnings of romance wonderfully. As a period piece, the bits of drama throughout the film were enjoyable to watch, as was the look into the Japanese culture. My only complaint was that the end felt a bit abrupt–but only because I wanted see more! Like Whisper, I could have sat for hours watching the lives of these characters if the movie had kept going! So, overall, this was a very pleasant animation!

Final Comment: A Precious Throwback to What Was “Whisper” || 4.5/5 stars

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Porco-Rosso-porco-rosso-29177479-1200-713Porco Rosso || 1992 || PG 

“I’d rather be a pig than a fascist.”

Drenched in playful romanticism of yesteryear and accompanied by sea planes, air bandits, big Italian families, hidden coves, lost loves, and oh! a man cursed to have the face of a pig? Yes, you read that right; while that part felt random, somehow it still managed to work. Porco was an endearing yet serious character; I found myself drawn into his story and really enjoyed the stay, watching him handle pirates, his delicate sea plane, and eventually fight for honor. The plot, once it got going, was a fantastic ride and beautifully delivered. A special highlight was the smart and optimistic young engineer Fio and I consider her one of Ghibli’s most underrated characters. She was an absolute joy to watch, but I never see her mentioned by most fans.  Overall, except for a less than satisfactory last ten minutes, I was pleasantly surprised by this film and almost instantly in love!

Final Comment: Yes! The Pig Thing Does Work!|| 5/5 stars

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968full-my-neighbors-the-yamadas-screenshotMy Neighbors The Yamadas || 1999 || PG 

“The reason the Yamadas get along fine is because all three adults are nuts. If one of you were normal it would unbalance the rest.”

Very different from Ghilbi’s other films, this film was a comical commentary on your regular, middle class family. Although it’s almost two hours, it plays out like a bunch of shorts, and not your typical, single overarching plot. It was a sweet film, with some fun moments and some wonderful watercolor-like animation, perfectly capturing each family member’s perspective of life. Although I wouldn’t consider it a favorite of mine, I would consider it worth watching if you consider yourself a Studio Ghibli fan or an animation buff in general. It had a very unique feel to how it’s told and how it looks and even its own sense of humor. Being an animation geek myself, I did make the effort to watch this one.

Final Comment: Had Some Good Moments || 3.5/5 stars

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pompoko-4592Pom Poko || 1994 || PG 

“I have no face!”

Of all the Studio Ghibli films I’ve watched, this is the one I’ve liked least of all, and I think it’s almost universally unpopular. Following shape shifting raccoon-dogs fighting for their forest, those shape shifting moments were pretty much the only enjoyable parts for me. Sadly, I didn’t like the rest, as it was unbelievably strange and weird to say the least. You would not believe what part of the male anatomy they decided to animate in this film–I did not care for that part. 😯 The all-too familiar environmental message was quite in-your-face, which I always find intrusive of my mental personal space–if that make sense? Overall, the film felt very odd. It’s the only Ghibli film I actually completely dislike.

Final Comment: I Shoulda Skipped It || 2.5/5 stars

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la-tumba-de-las-luciernagasGrave of the Fireflies || 1988 || NR 

Once again, Ghibli’s ability to deliver a variety of stories is shown by this epicly devastating yet somehow beautiful piece of animation. Following two siblings and their will to survive after their city is bombed near the end of WWII, the price of war is depicted very clearly through their struggles, nothing sugar-coated to say the least. The two main characters are breathtakingly realistic, endearing, and well-balanced. Little Setsuko is a heart-stealer, unbelievably cute and sympathetic. Seita, the older brother, is also an easy hero to get behind as he attempts to shelter his sister from the effects of war. On an overall scale, everything is fantastic in this film, from voice acting, to animation, to story flow. However, I must note that the film got so depressing that I had to stop near the end before finishing it later. The fact that I never want to watch this film ever again lowers the score just a bit. I think everyone should see this at some point in their lifetime but it should not be expected to be an easy watch and rightfully so. Well done, Ghibli, well done.

Final Comment: The Definition of a Tear-Jerker || 4.5/5

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Shall we tally the scores? Out of sixteen movies, there are four that are marked under 3.5 and two the acceptable 4. With the remaining ten films all being above average/raising the bar of the animation genre, with four gaining near perfect 4.5, and six claiming 5 out of 5 stars, I say, where have you been all my life, Studio Ghibli?! Sure, they’re not perfect, just like every other film, but that’s not why they’re marked so high. What they are is genuine. Imaginative. Relate-able. Gorgeous. Touching. In the end, to me, they’re priceless and well worth the time to share.

This summer will definitely be one I’ll remember as the year I realized I could watch anime and love it. I now happily own (yes, I put my money where my mouth is) My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, Porco Rosso, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Whisper of the Heart, The Secret World of Arriety, and even Howl’s Moving Castle on DVD. I hope to buy The Wind Rises, From Up On Poppy Hill, and maybe even Spirited Away in the near future! That’s how much I love them and need them accessible, right at my fingertips!

If even one of these films piqued your interest, I strongly recommend you find a way to watch it! Hopefully Studio Ghibli can bring happiness to your life as it did mine! If you’ve already seen some (or all!) of these films, what did you think of them? Did you like them as much as I did? I surely hope that you did!

~Jamie