Ghibli Heroines Tag

Hello, hello. I had a tiny blogging break which you may not have even noticed. The reason why will become clear in the near future (check me out being all mysterious). I think it’s great, and it is, and you will know about it soon.

I am finally getting around to doing this super cool new tag by Kate! I love a good tag, especially one that I’ve not seen around much. I feel all exclusive. I feel special. Everyone loves feeling special so this is a brilliant thing.

The Rules:

  • Please pingback, rather than link to Kate@Melting Pots and Other Calamities. She will only know if you’ve done this tag if you pingback.
  • Tag as many people as you want. Ghibli movies aren’t as popular as Disney or Pixar, so be careful that those you tag are at least somewhat familiar with Ghibli.
  • You can use examples from books, movies, TV shows, anime/manga, and webcomics.
  • As this tag celebrates heroines, please name either a piece of fiction or a female character, if you’re able.
  • Have fun!

Questions: 

Nausicaa, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: (Even though this isn’t technically Ghibli, it’s still marketed that way). Nausicaa is a princess in a post-disaster world. She is compassionate and brave, a daring explorer who is capable and selfless.  Name a strong female leader. 

Oof. Well. Hm. I know Samantha Shannon hates the ‘strong female’ phrase (because it suggests that to be valuable, women cannot be vulnerable) but Paige from The Bone Season series applies in this case. She isn’t without vulnerability, and she makes mistakes, and she does fall and find it hard to get back up again, but she does what has to be done and she leads in a way that I’ve not really seen from a female character in fiction before.

Sheeta, Castle in the Sky: Although Sheeta may have a quieter demeanour than other Ghibli heroines, she is not a damsel in distress. She’s royalty, but doesn’t stay on the sidelines; she is involved, kind, and despite a sad past, hopeful. Name an inspiring member of royalty. 

I am British, so I absolutely cannot pass up the chance to mention the Queen. I love the Queen. I am one of those people. She’s wonderful. So to slightly cheat on this, I am going to choose Queen Elizabeth as portrayed in Netflix’s The Crown, but also Victoria (in Victoria).

Their characters as portrayed in both series (and the book in the case of Victoria) are based on real women and I think that’s why they’re so great. They exist/have existed, they have both been quite revolutionary, and as a little girl, I was obsessed.

Satsuki and Mei, My Neighbour Totoro: Before Anna and Elsa, before Lilo and Nani, there was Satsuki and Mei. Satsuki was incredibly young when their mother was hospitalised, and with their father at work, she has to take care of Mei. And Mei is only four, with a big imagination. Name a pair of siblings (or two friends who act like siblings). 

Tolya and Tamar, the twins from The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I am partway through Ruin and Rising (having finished Shadow and Bone, and Siege and Storm the other day – reviews to come) and I love them. They are excellent.

It troubles me that I can’t think of two female characters to list here. I am sure they exist. I am sure there are some fictional female siblings or friends that act like siblings who I adore. I might have to look into this.

Kiki, Kiki’s Delivery Service: Kiki has to go off on her own to live alone, as is the custom among witches. She goes through many things that newly independent young adults face, like money problems, finding a place to stay, job searching, and loneliness, before finding her way thanks to her special abilities. Name a female character who has supernatural gifts.

Another pick from the series I am currently reading: Alina Starkov. She is thrust into the life of a Grisha and I am loving being on the ride with her.

Gina and Fio, Porco Rosso: Gina and Fio are both heroines in this film, and they couldn’t be less alike. Gina is a young woman who is very feminine, a singer and a restaurant owner. However, she is very resourceful and capable. Fio is a teenage mechanic who is independent, goes against the flow, and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. She may be one of the best mechanics of her time. Name two inspiring heroines; one who is unabashedly feminine, and another who is more of a tomboy. 

I feel like the age of the tomboy has passed, there’s a lot less ‘boys must do this and girls must do this’ to be rebelled against in fiction now. The stigma around being girlish, and being like other girls is lessening and authors are responding with some unapologetically girly characters (I love it). When I read the word ‘tomboy’ there is no longer a character that comes to mind, or, in fact, any particular kind of person. A girl who would have been labelled a tomboy when I was a child for liking sports and playing in the mud and not wearing dresses is no longer a tomboy, she’s just a girl who likes sports and playing in the mud and not wearing dresses.

When I read the word ‘tomboy’ there is no longer a character that comes to mind, or, in fact, any particular kind of person. A girl who would have been labelled a tomboy when I was a child for liking sports and playing in the mud and not wearing dresses is no longer a tomboy, she’s just a girl who likes sports and playing in the mud and not wearing dresses.

So the tomboy portion of this question is hard to answer, and I don’t think I want to use that label. We’re going to slide on down to the feminine character, and we’re going to go with Genya from The Grisha Trilogy. She definitely has the feminine vibe going for her.

Angel, On Your Mark: On Your Mark is a music video that Ghibli helped a music group with. It may not have much of a story, but it’s beautiful and interesting, and not may people are aware of its existence. Name an underrated heroine. 

September from Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland series. (You didn’t think I was going to get through a book-related tag without mentioning her, did you?) I don’t see a huge amount of people talking about this series, and it makes me sad. September is fantastic. She grows up through the books and she makes hard decisions, and she never fails to save the day in some manner.

Shizuku, Whisper of the Heart: Shizuku is an eighth-grade student who can’t quite focus on school as much as on her favourite books. However, through encounters with an ambitious boy who seems to have a likely chance at meeting his goals, a cat who rides trains, an antique shop owner, and a cat statue called The Baron, Shizuku is determined to meet her own goal and become a writer. Name your most relatable character. 

Oh goodness. I do not know how to answer this question. I don’t so much relate to many characters because what I read is often very much not anchored in realism and the troubles faced by the characters I read about are not really the sort of thing I can share in. That’s not to say that fantasy characters can’t be relatable – they can – I just try not to put myself into what I’m reading in that way.

That said, for the sake of answering this question, Carys from Hold Back the Stars (review to come) loves both space and learning new things, which are things I love too. So we’ll go with Carys.

San, Princess Mononoke: San has been raised by wolves her whole life. When humans begin to invade her home forest to make towns and use the resources for themselves while killing the spirits and animals within, San refuses to let it be. She takes a stand and becomes the village’s  greatest obstacle. She is such a force to be reckoned with that they even give her a name; The Princess Mononoke. Name a female character who is physically strong.

Well, obviously this spot is reserved for Buffy Summers. The slayer has a huge pool of strength to draw from. Sure, it’s powered by ancient demon essence but strength is strength.

200.gif

Chihiro, Spirited Away: At the beginning of Spirited Away, Chihiro starts off as a whiny, spoiled ten-year-old girl. However, during her time working at the spirit’s Bath House, she discovers parts of herself she didn’t know she had. The story is about her finding the strength she already had but was unaware of. Name a character who has an amazing character journey.

Lupe! She grew so much throughout her short time in The Girl of Ink and Stars that she absolutely has to be mentioned. Her character development is one of the standout things from the novel.

Haru, The Cat Returns: Haru is a typical high school girl; kind, clumsy, and a little forgetful. But she soon finds herself involved in events that are out of her control. In a way, it is because of her normalcy that she can find her way out of her situation and become stronger because of it. Name a female character who may not have any supernatural abilities herself, but is memorable anyway.

The first character that comes to mind is Tamika Flynn from Welcome to Night Vale. Sure, she has an incredibly impressive reading ability and a penchant for violence but to my knowledge, she doesn’t technically have any powers, and yet she is one of the most wonderful of Night Vale’s eclectic selection of inhabitants. 

Sophie, Howl’s Moving Castle: Sophie doesn’t think much of herself for a lot of the story. She doesn’t think she’s pretty or memorable, especially when compared to her younger sister, Lettie. It gets even worse when she’s cursed to look like an old woman. When she finds a new life that involves the mysterious wizard Howl, a fire demon, Howl’s apprentice, and many others, she is shown to be resilient and intuitive. Name an emotionally strong character.

Evie Snow from On the Other Side. She makes such difficult, selfless decisions and lives with the emotional scars to show for it. Well, the emotional scars come out of her in beautiful ways, via the medium of magical realism. She gives up everything for someone else’s happiness and that is a true sign of emotional strength, that she could function and live life through to old age is a testament to her character.

Ponyo, Ponyo: Ponyo is one of the youngest Ghibli heroines at only five years old. But she still gets a lot done, including becoming human, discovering things, finding a best friend, and saving the world. Name a hero who happens to be a child.

September again. Always September. She is my favourite child hero and she quite possibly always will be.

Arrietty, The Secret World of Arrietty: Arrietty is a Borrower; she is tiny and survives by stealing small things that humans won’t miss. Yet she’s curious about the human world, and does braver things than most humans would be incapable of doing, despite her tiny size. Name an unlikely hero.

This has to be Deeba from China Miéville’s Un Lun Dun. She is very much not the chosen one but gets on with things anyway. She’s feisty and fabulous, and she’s proof that you don’t have to be the chosen one to be the hero.

Nahoko, The Wind Rises: Nahoko has tuberculosis during World War 2. However, she doesn’t allow this to cripple her, and enjoys life to the fullest anyway, which includes painting and falling in love. Even being placed in a sanitarium doesn’t break her. Name an inspiring character with some sort of obstacle. 

Olivia Moore (of iZombie fame), if you consider being a still sentient zombie who has to eat brains to keep her wits and subsequently takes on personality traits from said brain an obstacle. I do. Being a zombie can’t be fun, even if the personality traits can be very helpful for the solving of murders and the ignoring of your own problems.

523d9fb16d94a0664bcb39298188f7f5.gif

Kaguya, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya: in a time where women were expected to follow social norms such as blackening teeth, shaving eyebrows, and being forced into arranged marriages, Kaguya refuses to play along. She would much rather be outside, dance, and play with friends. Name a female character who challenges social norms.

Hm. This one should come easily but it hasn’t… hm. I’m going to go with Evie Snow again because she does take the year to try to go it her own way instead of going the Snow way. True, she ends up going the Snow way anyway but that’s her choice for the sake of her brother, rather than something she is forced into. Her social norms may not be the social norms of the layperson but they still count!

I am also going to mention Carys again because she doesn’t idolise the Rotation in Hold Back the Stars, she likes to remember her life in the mountains of Wales, and she forms a love match when she knows she shouldn’t.

Whew! That was actually really difficult.

I want this tag to do well so I’ve found some cool anime bloggers to tag! (Hello, cool anime bloggers.) So without further ado, here they are:

Karandi from 100 Word Anime

Fujinsei

Reads, Rhythms & Ruminations

The Lily Garden

icebreaker694

Marvelously Mismatched

Nick from Anime Corps

The Versatile Blogger Award

Back in March, I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by the lovely Romana from ABookNerd13 back in March – I am slightly behind in my tags (I definitely have at least one more to get done), whoops.

So to kick this off, here are the rules

  1. Display the award on your blog.
  2. Thank the blogger that nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  3. Share 7 facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 7 bloggers for the award and provide links to their blog.

I really love awards/tags which involve listing facts, even though I haven’t actually done one before. I like talking about myself, what can I say? It is with that in mind that I present seven potentially interesting things about my good self:

  1. I am incredibly afraid of heights. If I am enclosed, I’m fine, so flying isn’t a problem, nor was the London Eye back when I was 18. stand me on a chair, however, and I am suddenly unable to function like a normal human being. I also have trouble with uneven staircases, and natural staircases, and any staircase with gaps between the steps.
  2. I find distance difficult to process. I am forever glancing at my satnav when it tells me that I need to turn off in 700, 500, 200 yards. I have no idea how far away 700 yards is, or how far away a yard is. My depth perception without my glasses is abysmal. It is a problem.
  3. When I was little I added two extra lines into the middle of my Es. My reasoning was that the middle line would get lonely.
  4. I can’t tie my shoelaces like a normal human being. I have to make ‘bunny ears’ and tie them that way. I just can’t understand the normal way.
  5. I have a giant sweet tooth. The way to my heart is chocolate, preferably with some kind of hazelnut component. My other half has made it his mission to supply me with hazelnut chocolate Easter eggs. He’s doing well so far.
  6. I like it when people cancel plans. Well, unless I’ve pre-paid for said plans or already started travelling for them. I love having an extra day to chill and do whatever my tiny introverted heart desires. I used to hate it because I didn’t have a huge amount of spare time, and any spare time I did have had to be planned in advance. Now I have more, and I enjoy doing absolutely nothing with it. That or writing, creating, freelancing, binge-watching things on Netflix.
  7. I can listen to the same song on repeat for hours. Sometimes, I have a sound I want to listen to and nothing else, so I do. I sit in my little bubble and listen (my bubble often being my car, my beautiful little blue car).

I’ve chosen a couple of my new followers to tag, should they choose to. You should check them out. :)

The Buffy Project

Alicia from Story Garden

Vihasi from Everlasting Smile Wisdom

Ula from simple Ula

Cafe Book Bean

Ami from luv to read

Brandi from Brandilyn Gilbert

Anonymous Bookaholics Tag

Hi, all. I have another tag for you, this one is all about books and reading habits. Excellent. I was tagged by the wonderfully named Diana Prince of Diana Prince Reviews, who you should all follow. (I apologise for how long it took me to do this.)

I am really enjoying this being tagged business. It’s a nice little break from the norm.

Anywho, onto the tag!

What do you like about new books?

The smell. The anticipation of reading them. Exploring the cover and the typesetting and page design, and finding the surprises under the jackets if it’s a hardback. I adore book production, having previously worked in it (I miss it so), so naturally, that’s the first thing I look at when I buy or browse a book.

How often do you buy new books?

At the moment, pretty much every time I leave the flat. My work generously gave me a £100 book voucher, so I’ve been steadily spending that. It’s all gone now and I got 10 books out of it, a mixture of hardbacks and paperbacks of new titles and backlist titles. I will probably go back to not buying them very often now, especially as my TBR pile is ginormous.

Bookstore or online shopping – which do you prefer?

It depends. If I know exactly what I want but I wouldn’t know where to find it, or I want a non-UK cover, I prefer shopping online.

If I don’t know what I want, I love browsing in bookshops. I make so many discoveries just by seeing beautiful covers out of the corner of my eye and being intrigued enough by a blurry impression to find out more.

Do you have a favourite bookstore?

I love Waterstones. I also love finding tiny, little quirky bookshops that sell an eclectic selection of things, and look like something out of a novel.

Do you pre-order books?

I do. Not hugely often, but I do. I try to leave books on my wishlist so that people can easily find presents for me on my birthday and/or Christmas. I tend to only pre-order when there’s a special perk of some kind (like the paperback of On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher – Waterstones had very limited purple edged signed copies so I’ve pre-ordered that to make sure I get one).

Do you have a monthly book-buying limits?

No, I only go overboard when I have gift cards. I’m pretty good at limiting my spending otherwise. Hooray!

Book-buying bans, are they something for you?

Only around my birthday and Christmas, when other people might be looking at my wishlist. Coincidentally, that is around now. For the next few weeks, I am not allowed to buy any new books. None! (Except that one I preordered the other day… and the Humble Bundle I bought yesterday but in my defense, it did have an incredibly rare Catherynne M. Valente book in it, which I have previously lamented about never getting to read so I think it’s perfectly justified. Or so I tell myself. You cannot imagine how absolutely excited I am. It’s like Subterranean Press heard my pleas in one of my Folklore Thursday posts and decided to make my dreams come true.)

How big is your wishlist?

Huge. Absolutely massive.

Which three books from your wishlist do you wish you owned right now?

51lmkj98inlThis book looks incredible, it’s written by the person who used to run the Waterstones Oxford Street twitter account. It was always my favourite so when I discovered that he was bringing out a book I added it to my wishlist immediately.

The fact that it’s a book of highly entertaining horoscopes definitely helped. If you want an idea of what this book shall entail, I shall direct you to the official twitter, which is just as brilliant as the olden days of the Waterstones twitter.

I love horoscopes. I don’t really believe in them but I love reading them. I love them, even more, when they are surreal and ridiculous.

91iuggjfyilI watched the film adaptation of this novel a while ago, and I loved it. I ended up watching it a couple of days in a row. It’s a lovely, little piece of magic and some of the scenes were stunning. In the US it’s called simply Winter’s Tale but that’s also a Shakespeare play so they added ‘A New York’ to the UK edition to avoid the inevitable confusion.

Then, being the little tumblr gremlin that I am, I looked up the tag for it and obsessively reblogged things until I stumbled upon a quote from the book and decided that I had to read it.

I am a bit sad that the non-film cover seems to not really be in print anymore but so long as I get my hands on the book, I don’t mind too much. I can definitely live with it.

81gmmvxfjl

Catherynne M. Valente! Are we even surprised at this point? I think not. Any Valente book is an auto-buy (and I am a proud patron on her Patreon) but this one just sounds so fantastic that I wish it was out right now. But alas. We have to wait.

Why is it great? you ask. Well, the blurb describes it as ‘a series of linked stories from the points of view of the wives and girlfriends of superheroes, female heroes, and anyone who’s ever been “refrigerated”: comic book women who are killed, raped, brainwashed, driven mad, disabled, or had their powers taken so that a male superhero’s storyline will progress.’ Knowing Valente, these women will be fierce. How great does that sound? I want it and I want it now. Only Valente could do this, and I am so glad she has.

So there you have it. Now, I have the task of tagging an unspecified number of people. I am going to pick a couple of blogs I’ve followed recently and hope that they’ve not done it already! Or, if they have, that they are inclined to do it again.

Jessica @ The Awkward Book Blogger – Alexandra @ AlexandraSarll – Angela @ pooled ink – Vikki @ The Mundane Teenage Life – The Book Lady Blog

The Liebster Award

liebster2

Another break from the scheduled programming (maybe we’ll just hang the schedule and post as much as we like, maybe) this week in the form of an award! Eeee! I have never been tagged in anything before. This is incredibly exciting. I was tagged by the wonderful Not-So-Modern Girl, who I discovered recently as part of my unwritten (but now written) vow to become more involved with the blogging community instead of just sitting in my own little bubble, as lovely as my little bubble is.

The rules of the tag are

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions they wrote for you.
  3. Nominate 11 people.
  4. Give them 11 different questions to answer!

So, without further ado, onwards to the questions!

What three words best describe your reading habits?

Fantastical, odd and… delayed.

I like reading books with a little bit of magic and whimsy, I like my books to be a little bit weird. I’m also kind of slow on the up take. I buy books when they are new but more often than not it takes me yonks to actually read them because I have so many books.

On average, how many books do you read a month?

For a while, I read an abysmal amount but at the moment I am trying to finish a book a week.

If you could visit any time in the past, where would you go and what would you do?

I wouldn’t go far, I think I would just go back to when my grandparents were young and get to know them a bit more. I’d love to have seen what they were like when they were young and what their lives were like. It’s something I always wonder about.

Which character in a book has the same name as you?

If we’re talking the name I use for my blog and creative exploits… no one. Because I am a special snowflake. However, my actual name is Emma. There are lots of Emmas. Emma from Emma, Emma from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children to name a couple.

What is your best reading memory?

Oh. Oh, now this is difficult but I think I am going to go with a fairly recent one. My friends and I do something we call book-napping. It’s where we’re all in the same room but doing completely different things while enjoying each other’s company.

We call it book-napping because normally there’s at least one person reading and another person napping. This time was no exception. I was reading Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, I think, my best friend was napping, and the rest of our little group were watching Downton Abbey. We were all on the same giant bed and it was just incredibly cosy and warm and lovely.

Who is your favourite classical author (if you have one!)?

Confession time: I find it very difficult to read classic novels. However, I love Lewis Carroll and really enjoyed Wuthering Heights. I don’t know if I’ve read enough to have a favourite.

If you could only have one type of weather forever, what would it be?

Mist and fog. Always mist and fog. It’s just so beautiful and wonderful and it inspires me so much.

If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

Oh god. This is almost impossible to answer right now. I’m currently on a weight loss journey and am fitting back into clothes I have long loved but have not been able to wear. I’m also trying to find the style that I like.

If I had to choose, it would definitely involve my Ravenclaw jumper and one of my three favourite pairs of leggings (pictured below). But which pair, I don’t know. It’s like choosing a favourite child. I might be leaning towards the starry ones (that entire outfit, perhaps…)

If you could swap places with one character from a book, which character would it be and from which book?

September from Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland series. I want go on a merry jaunt around Fairyland. I would like to go to the moon, I would like to cause trouble and fix everything and brandish a wrench. All of the above, please.

Have you ever borrowed a book and never given it back? Or has someone borrowed your book and not given it back?

Shamefully, yes but I think we both forgot. I found them under my bed years later (about three years ago now? So I’d had them for a good few years). Yes to the second question as well. But I don’t mind so much. I don’t think I was ever going to read it again.

Cats or dogs?

I love both but I don’t think my long-distance dog would ever forgive me if I said cats. He’s long-distance because he lives with my parents, and he’s always so happy to see me. Loves a good snuggle does that one.

So dogs.


Right! That’s all of the questions. That was fun, I enjoyed that.

My questions are as follows:

  1. If you had to write your autobiography right now, what would the title be, what chapter would we be in, and what would the cover look like?
  2. If you could only read the work of one author for the rest of your life, which author would you choose?
  3. If you had a dreamscape, what would it look like? (For people who haven’t read The Bone Season, a dreamscape is kind of where your subconscious lives. It is influenced by your past and often resembles a place – Paige’s dreamscape is a poppy field for example.)
  4. If you had to be a combination of two animals (i.e. top half cat, bottom half chicken), which two would you choose and why?
  5. You have to erase a genre of books from history, which genre do you get rid of?
  6. For one day only, you can bring any character to life, which character and what do you do with them?
  7. Who would play you if your life was a movie?
  8. What is your favourite music to read to?
  9. If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow for one week, what would the rule be?
  10. What is your biggest achievement? (Blogging, life, anything goes.)
  11. What is your go to book to recommend to people, why should everyone read it?

Phew! I hope my questions are interesting – I tried my best.

The first question is my favourite question to ask people. I ask it on a regular basis because the answer is always changing. For me, at the time of writing, the title would be What Exactly Do You Want From Me? (and other questions which don’t have answers), the chapter I’m in is ‘There’s no such thing as One-Size Fits All Feminism’ (owing to an email I had to send earlier) and the cover would have me standing on a road with my back to the camera and my hands in my pockets. The title would be in a blocky sans serif vertically down my back with each word on a new line. The subtitle would be on the road under my feet. By the time this entry is posted, it will be very different. (Hello, future me.)

To answer these questions (should they wish to) and win this award I choose:

  1. My lovely Mel from Les Deux Lapins
  2. My favourite wanderer, Bethan, from Vagabondage
  3. The fab Jane from Books With Jane
  4. Stacey from Pretty Books
  5. Emma from Emma’s Blog
  6. Becky from Adventures of a Blue-Haired Girl
  7. Avi and Vishwa from Panic at the Bookstore
  8. Kate from Writer in Residence
  9. The mystery behind Gold is From Aliens
  10. Sofii from A Book, A Thought
  11. And finally, Caitlyn from Words and Other Beasts

These are all either people I know, or have known, or blogs that I have found and enjoyed recently, whose authors I think might have some pretty neat answers to these questions. :) I have no idea if they will want to answer them but they are here if they do! Either way. You should go and follow them all.