Up until I was eight, my dad traveled frequently for work, often for weeks at a time. Once, after a long trip to Japan, he returned with a couple of animated movies on VHS: My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Even though I couldn’t understand the dialogue, I watched them repeatedly and reveled in the worlds created by Hayao Miyazaki.
I shared them with my friends and even rewound the cassettes to catch the trailer featuring a dreamy floating castle (I now know this trailer was for Laputa). The characters and art have stuck with me ever since. After three cross-country moves, I can still look to Kiki for support in being a young woman of color figuring out how to make it on her own.
A year ago I was again given the gift of Miyazaki’s work, and this time I became the proud owner of the amazing Studio Ghibli Movie Collection.
Sixteen brilliant and beautiful films, many of which I had once attempted to download and subtitle in a dimly-lit dorm room (to little success), were now legally in my possession. This was clearly cause for celebration, so I invited various friends over for a Studio Ghibli Movie Marathon. For the occasion I created an unofficial Studio Ghibli Bingo card, which I now give to you.
If I’ve learned anything, it’s to share the beauty, creativity, and human stories of Miyazaki’s work. Of course there’s no right way to enjoy the films, but if you want to add a more participatory element, print out the bingo card and cross off the themes, tropes, and common elements as you see them.
Did I miss something? Add your own boxes in the comments.
Sondra Morishima lives in New York and splits her day between working in higher education and trying to learn too many things at the same time. She enjoys the internet, critiques of power and privilege, and a good joke. Occasional thoughts @sonjishima.