Tag Archives: anime

Studio Ghibli

As a librarian and a mom, I bring home oodles of material for my kids, ages 9 and 6. Far and away, their very favorite movies are written, animated, and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli (pronounced jiburi or jee blee). Studio Ghibli is an anime studio founded in Japan in 1985. The Walt Disney Company has distribution rights to almost all of Ghibli’s output internationally. I think this is good, because Disney helps get these great films out to the rest of the world, and luckily for us, Studio Ghibli has demanded a policy of no cuts or edits in the licensing their films abroad.

Lest you think that these movies are just for kids, let me put your mind at rest. Like other great works of art, these movies transcend age limits. If you haven’t seen them, I urge you to RUN AND GET THEM! RIGHT NOW!

There are other Miyazaki films, but these are our favorites:

Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi) (2003/2001) has won many awards, including an Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2003. It is a film about growing as a person, overcoming fear, helping others who need you, and spirits. It has one of the best witches I have ever encountered and a huge baby. I have only seen it in the English dubbed version. I’ve heard that there are some subtleties that are lost in translation, but if so, it doesn’t seem to diminish the movie one iota.
My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro) (1988) is about two sisters who move into a new house. They are befriended by benign forest spirits. The cast of the dubbed version includes Dakota and Elle Fanning as the little girls. One of my favorite parts is when the cat-bus says the little girl’s name “Mei.”

Howl’s Moving Castle (Hauru no ugoku shiro) (2005/2006) is based on the novel by Diana Wynne Jones. A young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch. She encounters Howl, a wizard, and a fire demon Calcifer who moves Howl’s castle around. There is a mysterious connection between the two. Billy Crystal is so great as the voice of Calcifer.

Ponyo (Gake no ue no Ponyo) (2009/2010)  is about a magical little fish girl who wants to be human. Environmental issues and the human impact on the earth are important themes to this feature. The all-star cast of the English dubbed version includes Tina Fey as the mother of the boy who saves Ponyo and feeds her ham, and Betty White as one of the old women. I get so mad at the mother in this film! She is so self-centered.

The Secret World of Arrietty, a new Studio Ghibli film based on Mary Norton’s classic book The Borrowers, is going to be released in America on Feb. 17. Just one day away! We’re so there.

The Music, Film and Audio Department has a large selection of anime. Our catalog does a good job of including the age rating for each. I still recommend watching them first before showing them to your kids.

Here are some websites that might help you navigate the world of anime:





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poems + comics = pomics

It’s my turn to post again, so odds are that today’s Eleventh Stack spotlight will shine on either poetry or graphic novels, right?  Double right!   Today’s post is about both poems and comics, and the weird hybrid animal that spawns from their combination: “pomics.”

We’ve got evidence proving that poets were hip to the comics scene as early as 1946, when E. E. Cummings wrote the introduction to a collection of George Herriman’s Krazy Kat comics.  In fact, he portrays the strip as an analogy for the dynamics of love and wisdom, democracy and individualism.

Matthea Harvey is a contemporary poet who has professed her love for comics, especially in this interview with Poetry Foundation, in which she and Jeannine Hall Gailey discuss the inspirational themes of dozens of graphic novels, manga and anime titles and authors, including Paul Hornschemeier‘s Three Paradoxes,  Osamu Tezuka‘s Astro Boy and several of Hayayo Miyazaki‘s works.

Not only is Jeannine Hall Gailey another comics fan, she’s also a pomics creator.  Her book, Becoming The Villainess, includes the poem “Wonder Woman Dreams of the Amazon” and several poems from her chapbook, Female Comic Book Superheroes, which you can listen to her read here.

Poetry Foundation.org has taken a clear stance on the side of pomics by initiating their creation in its feature, “The Poem as Comic Strip.”  So far, the series has included collaborations between Ron Regé, Jr. and Kenneth Patchen, David Heatley and Diane Wakoski, Gabrielle Bell and Emily Dickinson, and Jeffrey Brown and Russell Edson.

The 1960’s must certainly have produced some impressive cross-genre overlap with its combination of psychedelic poetry readings and mind-warping underground comics, both exploding in San Francisco.  One example is Ginsberg’s Illuminated Poems, which graphic novelist Eric Drooker illustrated.  According to Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels, Ginsberg credits Lynd Ward’s silent graphic novels as the inspiration for his famous poem “Howl.” 

The symbiotic relationship between poetry and comics is so far-reaching that I’m sure I’ve left out some approaches–but if you know of any more examples, I’d love to read them.



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Things that make librarians sad


Here are a few things that your favorite librarians may find depressing, in no particular order.

A view of the Lecture Hall from behind the building.

A view of the Lecture Hall from behind the building on an obnoxiously lovely fall day. I had to go to work shortly after taking this picture.

1. When you tell us how nice it is outside. Yes, we’d love to enjoy the day too, but someone has to be here to make sure you get all of those bestsellers and magazine articles, not to mention the ever-important headphones for the computers.
2. Books that are returned with sand trapped in their jackets. From a technical point of view, this is bad because the sand will damage the book’s cover. From a morale point of view, this is bad because the book got to go to the beach but we didn’t. This is especially depressing during the winter months.
3. The places that people leave things. One of my clerks once found a Naruto DVD in the second floor men’s toilet. Not just in the bathroom, mind you, but actually in the toilet. I think he should have earned hazardous duty pay for rescuing it (don’t worry, we threw out that one and ordered a replacement copy). 
No DVDs have been found in this particular toilet. But don't be getting any ideas.

No DVDs have been found in this particular toilet so far. Please don't get any ideas.

4. The things you use as scratch paper. I have a note from a customer written on the back of an opera ticket stub. No big deal, you say. But this particular ticket stub was entirely in Italian. Librarians don’t get to go to Italy very often, you know. Maybe if we presented it to the management as an outreach program?

5. Mysterious stains. More specifically, the coffee stain that we found on our new carpet the morning after it was installed. So from here on out, you’ll have to keep all of your Crazy Mocha treats down on the First Floor. We may lighten up a bit eventually, but that won’t be for another ten years or so.

6. When you say scary things on the phone. Today a customer told me that he was driving on (major highway) at (illegal speed) while talking to me, so he couldn’t get his library card out to tell me his number.  Please, call us later. The library has all sorts of nifty things to be sure, but it’s not worth risking your life.
That’s quite a list of downers, isn’t it? So how do you cheer up a depressed librarian? It’s really pretty simple: take care of your materials, return them on time, don’t put things in the toilet, and visit us often. We’d love to see you.
Or you could just take us to Italy….


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Robots and demons and schoolgirls, oh my!

How did you spend your weekend? I spent mine sitting in the one and only Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Manga Reading room at Tekkoshocon, our fair city’s one and only anime convention – you can read all about it at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Teen blog. Much thanks to Joseph for the lovely picture, to everyone who lent a hand, and to all of the busy readers who managed to eat 50 bags of corn chips but not get our books greasy, which is no mean feat.

So now that the convention is over, what better way to head off that dreaded anime/manga withdrawal  than by raiding the library’s collections? We’ve got all sorts of anime in Film & Audio, and the First Floor, Teen, and Children’s departments all have spiffy manga sections. And best of all, it’s free. But you knew that.


book jacket       book jacket       book jacket       book jacket       book jacket       book jacket

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DVDs for everyone!

For today’s bit of library propaganda I will tell you about the glories of the Film & Audio department’s DVD collection. Since we first started purchasing DVDs in late 1999, we’ve expanded it from a handful of Alfred Hitchcock titles to more than 10,000 different movies, documentaries, and TV shows.

For the past five or six years I’ve been one of the lucky ones who purchases these critters for the Main library, and in that time I’ve developed my own special collection development policy: if it’s weird, we should buy it. Yes, every library should have a collection of popular titles and enduring classics – those are easy to get. But since we’re such a honkin’ big library (with a fairly steady budget, thank goodness) I think that we need to do our part to keep the public supplied with cult classics and strange documentaries.

So yes, we have Oscar winners. But we also carry:

and more!

So stop by and pick up something weird, or request something from our catalog. And if you can think of a title that we’ve missed, be sure to drop us a line. We’ll see if we can hook you up.


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