The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness: A Walk Through Studio Ghibli


I spontaneously saw this was on Netflix and decided to watch it. I wanted to talk about it, because I don’t really talk about movies much on this blog, even though they are a passion of mine. I decided to have it come out this day because, I wanted to make it a long streak of posts.

“Films sure are organic” – Hayao Miyazaki 

This quote resonated with my viewing of this movie, and my thoughts after watching this movie. I have never been a fan of Studio Ghibli productions, but what kind of anime fan would I be if I didn’t know about them or had a movie or two of theirs on my shelf. My opinions towards Studio Ghibli changed after watching this movie, where I gained a great respect for their works and Miyazaki himself. I liked the quote because it emphasised what makes movies great, the creativity behind them. When a movie is cared for by the creators and it can change, turning into something that was not originally imagined. The way he worked on the film, showed he loved films and the process of making them. In the documentary Miyazaki changes the ending to The Wind Rises, this exemplifies how organic movies are they change until they are on screen. Even then it changes, when the person views it, to one person it may be great and another person it is horrible. Movies change no matter what stage of production it is in, when someone sees the movie it changes a little.

In the back of this shot he is just flapping his hands. It really shows you what kind of man he is.

In the back of this shot he is just flapping his hands. It really shows you what kind of man he is.

Now though you want to hear my opinions on the documentary as a whole; I thought it was fantastic. This movies emphasised the magic behind animation, though it showed this through the hard work and dedication of everyone at Studio Ghibli. This movie is necessary for any fan of animation to watch because of what you see. In the movie you see everything there is to see about Studio Ghibli. You see them all work tirelessly in their stations trying to meet the deadline for the movie. However, you also see Hayao Miyazaki work and that is not something you may ordinarily see. It is interesting to see what he thinks and how he speaks. He is very thoughtful and it makes it hard not to appreciate what he does and what he’s done for the industry as a whole.


Just to see him work is a great experience.

This movie showed you everything, the director of the documentary Mami Sunada, gave the audience the view of Studio Ghibli that they always wanted. She showed us all the nuances and things that may have been glossed over originally, but are integral parts to what makes Studio Ghibili work. The decision to cast Hideaki Anno was a surprise to me because I hadn’t seen the movie so I wasn’t aware of this fact and the way Hayao Miyazaki thought of it was how I imagined a great director figuring out something. The soundtrack to the documentary was fantastic, with subtle piano pieces that fit ever scene they were heard in.

I found this clip to be awesome and it took me a day to trim it and get it on Youtube, I did it because it was such a wonderful clip.

I enjoyed that the movie focused on the relationship between everyone involved, Hayao Miyazaki, Toshi Suzuki and Isao Takahata. It is seen in this movie that without any one of these three people Studio Ghibli would not exist, or a least exist in the way that we know of it today. The movie looked at all aspects of producing an animated movie, the meetings, the grunt work, the auditioning, all of them. It was an eye opener and shows you that you may believe this to be a simple “kids movie” but there was countless hours poured into this movie just to send a message or touch the hearts of kids.



I started this review with a post and I want to end with one.

“The world isn’t simple enough to explain in words” – Hayao Miyazaki

I thought that this was a good quote to end off of because the way Hayao Miyazaki describes the world and the way he thinks. I have a gif in this review from the movie and it shows you exactly what makes Hayao Miyazaki extraordinary. He sees the fantasy in reality, and this can be seen through his environmental messages in his movies, without the world we live in we could not have the fantasy world he has created for us. Without the normal there is no abnormal.


About dandylion13

I mostly talk about anime, and whatever I feel like on another day. So come on down and read a review!
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4 Responses to The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness: A Walk Through Studio Ghibli

  1. Denny Sinnoh says:

    I think you liked it more than I did. It is still worth watching. I had this in my Netflix queue forever, and I will say I was a little disappointed. It probably does not help that I was disappointed in “The Wind Rises”, which struck me as aimless, and maybe a little dishonest.

    There have been some Miyazaki DVDs which have on the special features a glimpse into the Studio Ghibli world. Basically this is an entire movie of what could be boiled down to a few special features.

    Still there is enough Miyazaki history and interesting parts to make it worth watching. I just did not find it compelling, and I am a staunch defender of all their films. Yes, I agree with you that this is a “must see” for fans of animation.

    One odd thing: It does show how “flighty” Miyazaki-san can be. Of course he is a great artist, arguably the best in his genre, however statements such as “old people should just die, and not be a burden” shows that me may not think too deeply on some subjects.

    Respectfully submitted,

    • dandylion13 says:

      Yeah the movie at times was hard to track or hard to keep your attention. As of writing this I have not seen either The Wind Rises or The Tale of Princess Kaguya, I have watched very few Ghibli movies in fact.
      I watched it on the basis of “I just want to see the animation process.” What better way of seeing it than watching a movie that features a man who is considered a legend. Yeah there are moments where he says some really harsh opinions he has or his thoughts about life. I chalked it up to those are his opinions that he has grown during his 70+ years of life. It may not be the right in some peoples eyes, but it is his opinion and I got to respect it.
      The movie was long, and that took away from my overall enjoyment. There were times where I struggled to watch, but those few moments, like the clip I included kept me watching the movie. I thought of it as a great experience and I am happy I watched it.

  2. Denny Sinnoh says:

    … but what do I know … I can’t even spell my own name right …oops

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