Panda! Go Panda!: Rainy Day Circus

Panda! Go Panda!: Rainy Day Circus ★★★½

Above even Totoro perhaps, this one seems to serve more of an aesthetic blueprint for Ponyo, which seems to almost outright salvage it's fantastical, flooded landscapes from this, in which an overnight storm similarly leaves our protagonists surrounded in an ethereal, aquatic wonderland, with a makeshift boat to wade through it. Not once are we made to acknowledge this scenario as anything but simply a fun new life experience. It's maybe the first demonstration of Miyazaki's desire for total harmony between man and the natural forces that dominate, in which only the wonderment of a nature's ferocity can be felt, as if a childlike innocence has hijacked the film and can't even process the concept of danger. Anyway it's wonderful.

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