Ghibli by hyung86

The great Animation debate: Ghibli versus Disney

Disney is a universal brand, a timeless reflection back to our youth, brimming with fond memories of cinema trips and cosy nights in with the family. Tales of traditionally perfect Princesses, talking animals and sing-along-songs. The companies ability to hold a special place in the hearts of each generation for almost a century is admirable. So, why is Studio Ghibli, the Japanese counterpart for the East, so much more?

For those who do not know of Studio Ghibli, it was founded in 1985, around 62 years after its fair-to-say rival, Disney. The Japanese company has created over 20 beautiful animated feature films to date, with their own array of wonderfully crafted heroes and heroines.

The two animation giants undoubtedly share similar traits, their work is utterly timeless and adored globally. However, it is a belief shared by many that the East began to take over the West when it came to quality animation, and there are a fair few reasons why Studio Ghibli will always surpass Disney.

Growing up, I watched both Disney and Studio Ghibli films, and the latter continues to move me as I edge towards my mid-twenties (a scary prospect). The heart of Studio Ghibli stems from its animation team, especially from the creative brain of the former lead director, Hayao Miyazaki, who created something with a far deeper moralistic and feminist meaning.

Ghibli Posters

Why are strong female leads so important in animation?

Like many, I found myself learning far more from Studio Ghibli, with their tales of female struggle and empowerment (most films tend to have a strong female lead). Unlike the Disney Princesses, the heroines are relatable without the patronising undertone and the magic and depth of their fantasy tales awakens the attention of adults, as well as presenting important moral dilemmas and messages for children watching.

Looking at the female leads in Disney films (predominantly the Disney Princesses) in comparison to those in Studio Ghibli, a striking difference will continuously manifest itself. Time and time again in Disney, it will be seen that these princesses are overtly defenseless without the men in their lives to rescue them (Mulan, Merida and the new Princess Moana being the few exceptions).

Compare this to Studio Ghibli, and you will find feminist icons in abundance,  the majority of Ghibli films have an admirable and strong female lead. Miyazaki says:

“Many of my movies have strong female leads – brave, self-sufficient girls that don’t think twice about fighting for what they believe in with all their heart. They’ll need a friend, or a supporter, but never a savior. Any woman is just as capable of being a hero as any man.”

Not relying on a man (or anyone for that matter) is a recurring theme, everyone is seen as equal in the gender Olympic’s and this is just wonderful for the self-esteem of a small child, who doesn’t love feeling empowered and equal?

WHY is female empowerment needed IN ANIMATION?

An example of utter reliance on men is presented to us in The Little Mermaid (Disney). Our leading mermaid, Ariel, plays centre-stage under the sea, she is beautiful, feisty and terribly naive. Of course, she falls head-over-heels for the ‘wrong’ guy in the opinion of her father, whom she then desperately seeks out upon the land in exchange for her voice. He notices her, but not enough to avoid being bewitched and ensnared by a witch. Says it all but a happy ending is guaranteed, this is Disney.

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Compare this with female protagonist Sophie of Howl’s Moving Castle (Studio Ghibli), and you are presented with a self-conscious wallflower. Sophie is plain and unnoticed, obviously reinforced as viewers see that even her own mother fails to realise her transformation from a young girl into a twisted hag. This ordinary girl, no ‘beauty’ on her side, must seek out a wizard whose attention she had caught in her youthful state. The issue being that she cannot speak a word to anyone about the curse and therefore must lurk around until she can figure out how to break it herself, while her wizarding companion is on a quest to find himself also.

There is far more depth to Sophie, she’s opinionated, brash and stern (probably something to do with the aged state and being utterly fed up). Whereas Ariel¬†is presented as emotionally motivated and stroppy, only seeking her happiness as an end goal and caring little for the loss of those around her (particularly her somewhat overbearing father who is terrified about her disappearance). On the other hand, Sophie seeks to help all those around her, she is a complex character whose love and compassion motivates her throughout, perhaps even at her own expense and happiness at times.

The problem with Disney is that helplessness, ‘love’ and beauty define the Princesses. With Studio Ghibli, beauty isn’t key, the female leads are admired for their strength, journey, and powerful hearts. It is a stark and reoccurring difference, just select any Disney or Studio Ghibli film.

Some critics argue that Studio Ghibli films exploit these young heroines. However, It would seem that the consensus argues that Ghibli, in fact, challenges girls to solve their own problems. Saying this, modern Disney appears to have approached this too with ‘stronger’ characters such as Mulan and Merida, to name a few. In contrast, Studio Ghibli has been doing this with his characters since day one, in a culture often perplexed by such dominating female empowerment.

Another perk is that Studio Ghibli animations provide far more cultural exploration for us Westerners and prove themselves to be culturally apt. Whereas Disney often fails to truly embrace the cultures of their Princesses in their locality.

Often you will hear of Disneyland being the ‘most magical place on earth’, its stories the basis for this magic. I argue that Studio Ghibli offers far more magic, it teaches us to be kind, to not judge, to respect and cherish our environment (nature being of great religious importance to the Japanese), that pacifism can work and childhood transitioning is tough, no one can save you from it but you.

Their stories are creative, with complex and challenging storylines, developed and iconic characters, heartwarming and meaningful messages, embellished with beautiful animation. Studio Ghibli will remain timeless to its audience, holding many an animated heart for a lifetime with their emotion invoking work. The core and important message will stay the same, despite your gender, appearance, size or background, you can achieve anything you want to, and this is why Studio Ghibli will always surpass Disney.

Does your heart remain with Disney or Studio Ghibli? What is your favourite Ghibli film?

Stephanie xox

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impress nails review

I’ve been having a bit of a nightmare with my nails of late, I say a bit, they are in an utterly dreadful state. After falling madly and deeply in love with¬†acrylics, I soon discovered the sorry state that they had left my nails in.

I am now in the process of attempting to grow them naturally. So, when I came across the ImPress stick-on nails, I was rather excited. My initial reaction was how pretty they were – everyone loves a bit of glitter – and how lovely the nail varnish bottle shaped packaging they came in was.

Taking them out of their rather cute casing, I cleaned my nails with the provided wipe, roughened their surface a little with the inclusive file, and peeled off the plastic tab on each nail. Application of the nails was an utter breeze, with each nail firmly sticking on due to its gelled backing.

SO, What did i think of the stick-on impress nails?

They look absolutely wonderful on, and I wish my nails could actually look this pretty daily! Although seemingly secure, unfortunately, I did lose a thumb nail by day two and had to seek out some nail glue elsewhere. Although I salvaged it and reapplied the nail, it was a shame that it hadn’t lasted its promised week.

However, the rest have been very secure, and I do partly blame my long hair for catching the nails and teasing them up. This isn’t overly practical for someone who commutes in rush hour within London daily – my hair is literally everywhere.

Overall, I am very impressed with the ImPress nails, the selection available is extensive – and fabulous – and they really are a great alternative to acrylics and gels. I have found them to damage my nails so terribly now that I will probably avoid them all together now. If you are looking to grow your nails without damage, ImPress nails are for you.

Have you tried ImPress nails? What do you think of the ones I have chosen?
Stephanie xox

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Lottie London Pastel Makeup Brushes Review

It is never easy shopping for makeup brushes, especially with so many available nowadays, the market is getting slightly saturated with promises galore. However, I think I may have just found my new favourite makeup brushes.

Lottie London, are a relatively new makeup brush brand on the scene, and their pastel coloured makeup brushes are to die for, they are literally so beautiful and ever the bristles are colour-tipped –¬†a cute little detail in my opinion.¬†

The pretty Lottie London Pastel Makeup Brushes are vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and super affordable, and there is an incredible collection available.

So, how do I feel about the Lottie London Pastel Makeup Brushes?

With super soft but firm synthetic bristles and a weight to the brushes, makeup application is wonderfully precise. They are easily cleaned and available in a great array of bright colours, what more could you want from your makeup brushes?

These makeup brushes are utter perfection, I have currently invested in their entire eye makeup brush collection and I have to say, I am optimistic to nab them all. You can buy Lottie London makeup brushes at Superdrug Рyou will love their chic monochrome packaging.

Do you have any of the Lottie London Makeup Brushes? Which is your favourite? 

Stephanie xox

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L’Oreal Gold Obsession in Pure Gold Lipstick Review

Well, after investing and falling head-over-heels in love with the¬†L’Oreal Gold Obsession in Nude Gold, the only next logical step was to make the Pure Gold shade my own (I still want them all).

Bought alongside the¬†Le Lip Liner Magique¬†(a¬†multi-use transparent lip liner), I am delighted with this oh-so-unique shade. I can see why the L’Oreal Gold Obsession in Pure Gold is the headlining item in the Color Riche range and why this collection is so popular.

Like the¬†L’Oreal Gold Obsession in Nude Gold, I noticed the Pure Gold shade lipstick lasted after application. All the lipsticks in the Color Riche collection are moisturising due to¬†a¬†combination of Omega-3 oils and Vitamin E.

In the collection, there are “5 iconic shades to suit every skin tone; Nude Gold, Rose Gold, Rouge Gold, Plum Gold, as well as a statement Pure Gold shade.”

So, how do I feel about the L’Oreal Gold Obsession in Pure Gold lipstick?

What I adore about the Pure Gold shade is that it is beautifully pigmented, a truly mesmerising metallic finished with gold shimmer. You can layer to create a more dramatic effect if desired and it is bold without being brash.

This shade can be used alone or applied over others,¬†team with your favourite statement lipstick for added wow factor. Depending on how daring you are, the Pure Gold shade can be used throughout the day, it doesn’t just have to be a late night love affair.

I found myself only reapplying once throughout the evening and remained subtly sparkly throughout my delicious anniversary dinner (officially over a year, yay!). The texture of this lipstick is wonderful, with a smooth application that lasts. Everyone needs this unique stand-out lipstick in their collection, without a doubt.

Have you tried the¬†L’Oreal Gold Obsession lipsticks? Which shade would you choose?

Stephanie xox

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Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter Review

When it comes to highlighting, contouring and the like, I am a self-confessed novice. However, I am improving and one day I may just get there!

While looking to improve these skills and thus intensely browsing for an affordable (and pretty pink) highlighter, I came across this Makeup Revolution beauty.

The Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter in Moon Glow Lights is a strobe highlighter and it is perfect for illuminating the face alongside, or instead of contouring.

Now, do be warned that due to the Vivid Baked Highlighter being a strobe highlighter, this means that it offers a subtle shimmer. If you are looking for an intense and defined look, you may want to look elsewhere.

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So, how do I feel about the Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter?

Saying this, you can indeed build on and continuously layer this product if you so choose. Makeup Revolution¬†says,¬†“capture the light with our strobe highlighters… the light powder gives a natural illumination to the skin by diffusing the light. Can be applied both wet or dry for different intensities and very buildable.”

The beauty of this highlighter is that it can literally be used all over your face, and it is¬†perfect for strobing. For a defined glow I tend to use it under my brow bone, diagonally across my cheekbones and atop my cupid’s bow.

My only vice with this product falls down to the packaging, already the print appears to be wearing away (probably due to my constant use no doubt). Other than that, this is my new beauty staple for whenever I need a subtle go-to glow.

What do you think of the Vivid Baked Highlighter? Which highlighter do you use?

Stephanie xox