Reviews of Yesteryear: Laputa

Laputa is a Studio Ghibli film that references Gulliver’s Travels, albeit in a pretty minor way. Like many Miyazaki films its protagonist is a young, non-sexualised girl who goes on a grand adventure and it contains a subtle environmentalist message. 

The story follows Sheeta, voiced by Yokozawa Keiko, a young girl who possesses a mysterious stone. She’s being chased by both the military and pirates who want the stone for themselves. She meets up with a young boy named Pazu, voiced by Tanaka Mayumi, who dreams of finding the fabled floating castle called Laputa and proving that his father wasn’t a liar when he claimed to have seen it. In an obvious turn of events, Sheeta’s stone is the key to finding Laputa and the duo team up with the air pirates to accomplish that goal before the military. The story is full of adventure and has some great moments, the problem is that a lot of it consists of fast paced chase scenes. It’s really a testament to Studio Ghibli’s skill that it doesn’t become too repetitive. But there’s still only so long that you can watch characters chase each other around.

As far as characters go, Sheeta is kind of annoying. She spends most of her time whining and getting kidnapped and Pazu is rather bland. Their relationship dynamic also develops at an unrealistically fast pace. I realise that it’s a relatively short film, but it’s still a problem. The most interesting characters are actually the air pirates and they certainly aren’t great characters.

The art is really good for 1986 although it’s a bit dated now and by “a bit dated” I meant that you can tell that it’s hand-drawn It’s still really good. The voice acting is good, but certainly nothing spectacular. The music is nicely composed and complements the mood pretty well. 

Laputa has no yuri either hinted or explicit. Giving it a yuri factor of 1/10.

As far as films go, Laputa is pretty good. The fact that it’s an early Studio Ghibli film really shows and you can see a lot of themes and tendencies that helped define later Ghibli films in both this and Nausicaa. Although Nausicaa is definitely the superior film of the two. The main problem Laputa has is that time hasn’t been kind to it. Many superior films have been released by both Studio Ghibli and other studios making its faults all the more apparent. However, in spite of all that it still holds up pretty well. The final rating for Laputa is a 7 out of 10. It might not be the best Studio Ghibli film but it’s still worth watching.

This was the first review I ever did of a Studio Ghibli film. By this point, I’ve reviewed most of them, catching a lot of the missed ones during Ghibli month of this year. I’ve also got reviews of Tales from Earthsea, Howl’s Moving Castle, Arrietty, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Ocean Waves that I’ll be bringing over eventually.

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