Studio Ghibli Vs Disney Pixar: an animated debate

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With the release of 'Arrietty' and 'Cars 2', Time Out places the two animation houses head-to-head

The two goliaths of modern feature animation – the US’s Disney Pixar and Japan’s Studio Ghibli – both unleash new films over the next fortnight. Pixar returns with a slickly calibrated sequel to 2006’s ‘Cars’ while Ghibli – the Oscar-winning animation house behind ‘Spirited Away’ – returns with ‘Arrietty’, a suitably quaint take on Mary Norton’s series of ’50s fantasy novels ‘The Borrowers’. But when the history is written, who will be seen as the modern masters of the form?

Tom Huddleston – The case for Pixar

I’ll be the first to admit it’s a bad time to argue the case for Pixar against Studio Ghibli. The Disney offshoot’s latest, ‘Cars 2’, is its worst since, well, the original ‘Cars’ – a garish toy factory that’s not fit to stand alongside the best of either studio’s output. But even my esteemed colleague must admit that the ‘Cars’ films are a minor blot on an otherwise unblemished record.

The majority of Pixar’s output is inventive, smart, exquisitely crafted cinema – putting its Japanese counterpart in the shade. I’ll begin with the most obvious angle: the visuals. The look of the average Ghibli film, while often beautiful in a painterly way, simply doesn’t have the dynamism and expressiveness of Pixar’s finest work. Ghibli’s characters, who all look roughly the same (big eyes, big mouths, flapping arms), are restricted to a series of repetitive facial expressions – alarm, sympathy, sadness – which in turn restricts the emotional range of the story. Pixar, meanwhile, has as many styles as it does directors, and the results range from the pathos of ‘Toy Story’ to the exhilarating underwater world of ‘Finding Nemo’ to the achingly human face of Carl in ‘Up’.

Pixar also dominates when it comes to comedy: while Ghibli’s idea of a joke ranges from slapstick pratfalls to seafront-postcard sauce, Pixar draws on the history of screen comedy, from the Keatonesque silent whimsy of ‘Wall-E’ to the knockabout comedy-club banter of ‘Monsters, Inc’. But it’s on an emotional level that these films must compete, and Pixar has the edge here too. While Ghibli has produced some powerful pieces of work – devastating masterpiece ‘Grave of the Fireflies’ is a tougher, more adult piece of work than Pixar has yet dared – its characters don’t have the depth and believability of Pixar’s. Whether it’s Buzz Lightyear’s identity crisis, Wall-E’s romantic desperation or Carl’s loneliness, these films boast an emotional richness that transcends the films’ kid-friendly roots, offering satisfaction to viewers of all ages. I can’t deny my tremendous respect for the work of Studio Ghibli, its playfulness and originality, insight and intelligence. But until it produces a scene to match the wordless opening of ‘Wall-E’ or the heartbreaking photo montage in ‘Up’, my heart belongs firmly to Pixar.

David Jenkins – The case for Studio Ghibli

Studio Ghibli's 'My Neighbour Totoro' Studio Ghibli's 'My Neighbour Totoro'

As my similarly esteemed colleague has rightly mentioned, for the Ghibli connoisseur, it’s a fortuitous time to have this stand-off. With ‘Cars 2’, Pixar has made a film that appears to answer the simple question – what can we get away with sticking a mouth on next? But remove ‘Cars 2’ from the equation, and there are still big problems with the Disney offshoot’s oeuvre. Even though much effort is put into presenting the Pixar fraternity – beavering away in their plush San Francisco HQ – as the kind of lovable nerds who sport Hawaiian shirts and Foghorn Leghorn ties without irony, there’s something eerie (Stepford Wives eerie) about their cinema which I just can’t get over. Sure, I giggle at the fine-tuned gags and am often in awe of the craftsmanship, but every frame feels like it’s been passed under the nose of some corporate jackal with his eye firmly locked on the lunchbox market. And yes, I’m well aware that Pixar films are also ‘about stuff’, but compared with a Ghibli film, it’s the difference between being invited to grapple with subtle, meaningful subtexts and having someone repeating: ‘He’s grieving for his dead wife, donchaknow?’ Through a megaphone. Into the face of a napping infant.

Ghibli’s biggest popular success was 2001’s ‘Spirited Away’ by Hayao Miyazaki, a kaleidoscopic exploration of a young girl going through puberty. But it was also a film whose lavish visual charms and narrative flights of fancy could be taken entirely at face value. My personal favourite – and, in my view, one of the pinnacles of modern animation – is 1988’s ‘My Neighbour Totoro’. It’s a work that – for all intents and purposes – has no plot but still manages to be one of the most moving (and charming!) films portraying life from the psychological perspective of a child. Animation is often annexed as something separate from ‘real’ cinema, but ‘Totoro’ is a film whose DNA is shared with such masterpieces as Abbas Kiarostami’s ‘Where Is the Friend’s House?’ and Vittorio De Sica’s ‘Bicycle Thieves’.

‘Arrietty’ is another small miracle, an ornate, thematically rich take on ‘The Borrowers’ in which the struggles of a tiny family living under the floorboards becomes a poignant tale about realities of children living with a physical disadvantage. ‘Cars 2’ has quota-filling comedy sidekicks and crass cultural stereotypes. Is that a KO in round one?

Tell Time Out Film which animation studio you prefer using the comments section below.



Users say

75 comments
Brox R
Brox R

Pixar movies just seem so cookie cutter, yes the comedy is better but the plots seem dull or even the same as every other pixar movie. By no means though are pixar movies bad. Ghibli movies just seem to be masterpeice and are very creative usually (spirited away). But I do think the worse(er?) pixar films are better than the worse(er?) ghibli films.

Moon Y
Moon Y

Just one last thing... I am an American. I hate Pixar. It's so dumb. WHY would anyone laugh at those jokes? Why do you need a villan and a sidekick and a perfect heroin and a beautiful girl that is heroic? Use some reality with your magic, please! I live in New Jersey and I have not once laughed at a Pixar movie in my entire life. They all suck compared to the beautiful and engaging thoughts of Studio Ghibli. No matter how simple and slow paced the movies are, the complexity of details behind the characters and their emotions are enough to make Studio Ghibli movies the most inspirational and breathtaking films of all time. Hayao Miyazaki is the most amazing director that I've ever heard of or seen in my entire life. He has true meaning to his stories unlike the fabricated and ridiculous Pixar movies. Please stop putting stereotypes on Americans! I don't like Pixar!!!

Michelle H
Michelle H

John Lasseter absolutely idolises Miyazaki and has a deep respect for studio ghibli films. Lasseter made it a condition of pivar/Disney partnership that when Disney bought the distribution rights for English releases of ghibli films that they didn't butcher them like Disney has done in past. You should actually do some research before writing articles.

Moon Y
Moon Y

I would also like to add that some people say that it's not possible to compare these two things as they have different uniqueness or whatever, but they're both trying to accomplish the same goals. It's just obvious that Studio Ghibli does it much better and that Pixar is not entertaining at all. This is the subject I get to rant about because my entire world SHOULD be something like Pixar, but it's not, people. Get used to it. Pixar sucks. I'm so sorry but I had to say it. It's boring and it sucks!

Moon Y
Moon Y

Ready for this long rant wall? (Favoring Studio Ghibli here)


I have a question. ARE YOU ALL INSANE?!?!!!?? Studio Ghibli movies are the most touching, inspirational, memorable, deep, fulfilling, heartbreaking, and not to mention beautiful movies in the ENTIRE WORLD. Pixar movies are trash. I'm sorry, but I have only once laughed during a Pixar movie, and I'm not even a serious person. Pixar movies are so boring, stereotypical, cheap, ridiculous, and DEFINITELY not animated well. Studio Ghibli movies are HAND DRAWN!!!! How could you top that? Every single scene is breathtaking and treated as a work of art, whereas Pixar movies are just garbage. Throw in a few horrible jokes, put in a familiar scene with stereotypical characters and boom. You've got a Pixar movie. No, no. STUDIO GHIBLI IS THE BEST!!! The story stays with you, honestly, forever. You will never forget the characters in movies like Grave of the Fireflies or Chihiro from Spirited Away... especially not Kiki from Kiki's Delivery Service. I'm going to focus on this movie really quick- what does it have? It has a character unlike any other... one that people can look up to. A character that isn't perfect or beautiful and is still heroic enough to make the movie a beautiful and inspirational film. When Kiki is sad, you will feel it. Every emotion that Studio Ghibli is able to convey through their animation becomes more than just a movie- it becomes part of you. It becomes part of life to feel these new emotions and it surely made me notice more in my life. The gorgeous scenes make me look at life a LOT differently. The way that Studio Ghibli works is not even comparable to any other company... especially not the rip off movies you see from Pixar. How could they compete with the masterpieces of Hayao Miyazaki such as Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Howl's Moving Castle, and even Ponyo- a more simple story- was BREATHTAKING!!! It was beautiful! No other animation company could have done better with any of those plots. Another one of my favorites is My Neighbor Totoro. It has barely any plot, but the movie instead focuses on the imaginative perspective of children and their minds. Totoro features the most mind blowing thoughts and ideas that Pixar couldn't even begin to understand in even a small splick of depth. No, Studio Ghibli movies are just overall the most wonderful and detailed movies with extremely deep meanings. They are perfect for all ages because they aren't about adult romance or child comedy or teenage mystery... or whatever! They are just magical and are, in my book, considered sacred films. That's right. I call Studio Ghibli movies SACRED FILMS!!! In all honesty, I am from New Jersey in America. I grew up on Pixar films... and I always hated them. I didn't even enjoy the Incredibles. Ironically, I am a 14 year old girl with a 10 year old brother and a 2 year old brother and two parents. A family that COULD relate... but not really. You see, Studio Ghibli actually has MEMORABLE characters that really change how you feel, unlike the stereotypical and predictable characters in Pixar movies. As a matter of fact, my entire family feels the exact same way. All my friends like Studio Ghibli and would rather not even bother watching a Pixar movie. It's not right to compare such a beautiful film making studio to some unimaginative and BORING studio like Pixar. I can seriously AND HONESTLY say that all the people that I know (except for my grandpa because he doesn't believe in the television) would not even think twice about what movie to watch when given the choice, Wall-E or Castle in the Sky. It would always be a Studio Ghibli movie. I have been watching Studio Ghibli movies ever since my friends at school told me about them. I used to be a loud mouthed kid who was horrible in school, never doing her work and always goofing off. Studio Ghibli has, believe it or not, changed me from a C average in social studies to an A+. It's like that not only in school, but people like me more now. I'm happier and more calm... a much less noisy and idiotic person now. Studio Ghibli really takes away all the hardships in your life and draws you into another world. It is pure magic. Sorry for the rant it's just that I get REALLY upset when people downsize Studio Ghibli movies. I LOVE STUDIO GHIBLI AND THAT WILL NEVERRRRRRR CHANGE!!!! NEVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!!!!

Aaron C
Aaron C

 You know, it's said that comparison is the thief of joy. 

This applies really well here. I think we can all be adults and understand that these movie making studios are both fantastic, and while very similar in ways- should and can stand alone. Both animation studios have focuses that target different audiences, and are both successful in doing so through different methods. That doesn't mean we have to pick one over the other. 

Marshun
Marshun

All the Pixar and Studio Ghibli movies I've seen, rated from favorite to least favorite: Princess Mononoke Up Toy Story Finding Nemo Spirited Away WALL-E Ratatouille Toy Story 3 Monsters Inc. The Incredibles A Bug's Life Cars Cars 2 Toy Story 2 So I guess Studio Ghibli is better on average than Pixar, but maybe that's just because I've only seen Studio Ghibli's two best movies.

CCH0705
CCH0705

I really want to come across as unbiased and having a fair argument but Pixar doesn't begin to compare with studio ghibli. Even Disney is margins away from the utter beauty and magic that Studio Ghibli has brought to the world. Many people argue for the visuals of Pixar and although WALL.E is stunning and breathtaking, the expression "less is more" could not be more fitting for the works of studio ghibli, they don't blow their budgets on animation because the simplicity of it creates a serene and tranquil quality and in my opinion there were scenes in Howl's moving castle which were beautiful in their own right too. So although the two companies take very different approaches to the actual animation there is something especially unique about Studio Ghibli. Secondly, how is Pixar more believable and realistic than Studio Ghibli. Cars 2 springs to mind, they usual stereotypes for characters and I don't know about anyone else but I've never been caught up in a international conspiracy. Take Grave of the fireflies for example which reflects around human suffering which is something a lot of people can relate too. Even Spirited Away when Chihiro has to suddenly grow up. Pixar's characters aren't very memorable at all and with Studio Ghibli the leading girls aren't usually gorgeous, they are normal people of their own society and figures who young girls can truly look up to, something which Pixar hasn't seemed to do yet. The plots and writing of Studio ghibli again just can't really compare with Pixar, yes Pixar has had some brilliant films with good plots but studio ghibli will impact heavily on you and stay with you permanently for days and forever in your memories. For example, Toy story 3 was a charming film (anyone else see the Totoro cameo?) but take Spirited Away, Princess Monoke or Howl's moving castle which are so complex that they make you stop and think what is happening which is clearly a positive thing for a young child to be doing. Both are engaging but with Pixar they are forgettable. So that's my very long rant over!

Baya
Baya

I have always loved pixar and disney watching there films thinking its the best ever. Then I watched Spirited Away and it blew me away!Of course i had to see more Ghibli and i was not let down. pixar has a special place in my heart but ghibli films has changed me and opened my mind to so much more, its almost like it was time to grow up from pixar and their ever happy endings and move on to next stage of my life. Now im a mum of 4year old boy and till 6month ago he was in love with pixar and i never even let him watch ghibli films as thought its too much to take for his young head and that he will just get confused and will end up not liking it in later life. Then I decided that PONYO might be ok for him and for my surprise he loved it!! then i let him watch Spirited away thinking i will possibly loose him with this one.. now he chooses to put studio ghibli film on dvd player over pixar without thinking. What pleased me the most was that he had to make a his own opinion if the characters were ''good'' or ''bad'' going by their actions with Ghibly where pixar makes it so obvious. Ghibli is so much more healthier for his imagination and instead of just watching film like zombie he actually finally has to use his brain! And so do i at my age of 26! Ghibli in my mind is by far the winner!

Guaporense
Guaporense

Who's better Stanley Kubrick (Ghibi) or Christopher Nolan (Pixar)? While Pixar's films are quite decent, there is no comparison for me and in fact, for the staff at Pixar, who are huge Ghibli fans themselves. I take the best soundtracks of Ghibli movies over any Pixar movie, much less the whole movies. I think that some Ghibli movies are superior to any hollywood movie ever made (Nausicaa is possibly the best movie ever made), not only Pixar but Kubrick, Hitchcock and Welles as well. Comparing them to Pixar is heresy.

Richard
Richard

Pixar wins because the stories have more excitement and issues that the characters work out in the end. Example: Marlin becoming less over protective, Mr. Incredible realizing his family is most important, Sully loving a human, Lightning becoming less selfish, Walle finding love, Carl from Up moving on from losing someone ect. Pixar also has a wide variety of different characters, from a fish, car, monster, old man, and rat. In SG's movies they have mostly young girls, that's it. Those girls are usually young. You can hardly see a change with Chihiro, all Sophie gains is her youth, short hair, and a boyfriend, all Kiki does is lose her ability to talk to her cat. See the difference in the two? No? Well, Sg's movies are also anti-clamatic. They're basically stories about a girl metting a boy or whatever, and going through a small change. The stories aren't very memorable and can be quite dull and boring like Ponyo and Arietty. Now HMC and SA were amazing movies, and I respect the maturity with GotF's. But even that was a forgettable story. It's like telling a story about real life. Real life stories can be good for adults, but boring for kids. And why would you want to watch a real life story about a girl growing up when you already know what real life is like. People want to watch something fun and exciting (leaving them on the edge of your seat). Not wanting to get up to take a break after watching nothing happen for 30 minutes like in Arietty. Pixar wins this one.

Kidversion
Kidversion

Pixar wins! Pixar actually comes up with their own ideas instead of getting most of them from books created by other people like "howl's moving castle and , "Arietty (the borrowers), ect. Pixar has better plots that have the ability to move people. Studio Ghibli's movies are relaxing and peaceful, but when you get down to it, if your not mature enough the movies could be quite boring. Arietty was boring, Ponyo was boring. The only movies I really liked were Howl's moving castle and spirited away. Another thing is that Pixar creates movies that have good endings and aren't confusing. With Studio Ghibli's movies some parts are confusing at first until you rewatch them again and again like some parts in Spirited Away and why she "can't look back" when leaving.... Both are very good with animation, just breathtaking. Pixar does wonderfully with CGI as is Studio Ghibli with hand drawn animation. So it's a tie here. However SG has the habit of sometimes making their elderly characters kind of weird looking, and the fact that most girls in their movies have panty shots. Pixar's characters are lovable and each has a different personality. Studio Ghibli has good characters too, except their mostly girls that cry alot, along with some old people or child with an unattractive dad (except fugimoto) and a pretty mom. Again in H's M C, I loved the characters in that movie, In SA" I thought Chihiro and the big baby were annoying, but loved Haku and the radish spirit. Pixar also has action and comedy that come from the characters, they are unique and fun and the story leads somewhere. Finding Nemo was the only Pixar movie besides Brave that didn't have a bad guy, yet they can pull it off. With SG's movies like Ponyo and Kiki's Delivery Service (which I loved), are kinda... dull... your basically just watching a movie that could have drama, that could have excitment, but in the end they're just slow peaceful yet boring. It's enjoyable for an adult at first, but then that's it. I'm also annoyed that some people like Studio Ghibli because it makes anime, and that it's from Japan. Just because Japan makes amazing stories and anime doesn't make everything about it better than American movies and shows. Pixar is better than Studio Ghibli. It's more creative and leaves you wanting more. Studio Ghibli is also good but unless you like slow movies with hardly any drama (except HMC and Nausica Valley of the wind, Princess mononoke which was also boring) your gonna be in favor for Pixar. I have more but don't have any more time to type it. :) Peace!

Smile
Smile

Ghibli, all the way! Pixar focuses a little too much on the 3D sidof thongs, trying too hard to make it look like the world we live in, not to mention, the slipped in jokes, the stereotypical characters and The simple storylines. Although pixar has created films in the past, that are those childhood movies of my generation, that everyone loved, Ghibli is most definately, unquestionably, the best. Ghibli has the most beautiful animation, most well thought through characters, the most touching stories, the characters are so unique, and not one film is the same (where with picar, you have sequels and prequels and 1, 2, 3), and on top of it all, most of their films are hand-drawn. Ghibli also has beautiful musical scores, which lift you into a world of imagination, and really take you into the film, where pixar will always just have some big score by some big name musician. I say Ghibli 100%. When pixar can create something as magical as the films of Miyazaki, ot Takahata, now that i would like to see. Ghibli.

PKAB
PKAB

No Question 100% Studio Ghibli. They offer a rich combination of artwork and storylines that blow Pixar away. Every scene in a Ghibli film is a gorgeous painting, pixars movies are glorified cartoons, they may look beautiful because they use warm tones and picturesque scenes, but at the end of the day that animation is dime a dozen stuff, same as you see in any animated 3D cartoon these days. Some of those movies were hand drawn, hand.drawn. that alone gives these movies more merit than anything pixar has churned out. Ghibli movies are meant to challenge the audience, to immerse them in a land of pure imagination, complete uniqueness, something that expands our minds. Pixar either makes a social commentary about something we interact with on a daily basis, nothing all that new. Toys that act like humans, post apocalyptic earth, cars that act like humans, bugs that act like humans, monsters that act like humans, fish that act like humans, Rats that act like humans...should I go on? The point is Pixar is formulaic in the way they make movies, slap a face on something and give it some ironic habits, a heartwarming plot meant to appeal to your inner child and some tacky knee-slapper comedy and boom you got a movie. At least Ghibli focuses on each movie as a piece of art, to be treated with respect, they can develop characters without them even having lines, and you feel closer to them than anyone. Pixar churns out kinda-sorta funny characters than are fairly basic and stereotypical, Ghibli focuses on the unspoken, it allows the audience to really delve into the characters, rather than showing them exactly for what they are. Most of all, the definitive reason for why Ghibli is superior, when I watch a Ghibli movie, it transports me, when Sen walks through that tunnel, when Mei falls a sleep on Totoros belly, when Mononoke is leading the Boars in their final charge, it all feels like I am there. Pixar churns out stuff that may make me laugh, and may make me feel good, but at the end of the day it doesnt make me think, it doesnt challenge me, it doesnt leave a lasting impression, a pixar movie will never change my life, Miyazakis masterpieces already have. Keep in mind this is coming from someone that just watched Toy Story 3 not ten minutes ago. Great movie, but Ghibli is nothing to mess with. Sorry for the wall of text.

Danion
Danion

Studio Ghibli is obviously better then Pixar. Seriously tell me if you have seen a single Pixar movie that made you cry as much as Grave of the Fireflies.

paprika
paprika

pixar characters "deep"? nice one - sorry, but americans arent actually known for being overly profound.and just because they pixar characters have like 100 (exaggerated) facial expressions in petto doesnt make them more deep.ever heard of the difference between extroverts and introverts? as a reserved,but sensitive european i can definitely MUCH more relate to ghibli. ps: pixar propagates sexism and supports traditional gender roles.ghibli girls dont have to look "gorgeous" in order to be heroines.

Midna
Midna

Oh, and I forgot to mention that Pixar's movies actually have an ending, not just some cop-out anti-climax like Ghibli always has. Also, unlike most Ghibli movies, Pixar movies aren't formulaic and predictable. In terms of animation, both studios are amazing; Ghibli has a beautiful style and smooth movements and Pixar movies are gorgeously animated and detailed and only an idiot would say that it looks bad because it's CG.

Midna
Midna

It's obvious which is the better studio: Pixar, BY FAR. Pixar's movies are deeper, more memorable, and just... all around better. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service, and Spirited Away was epic, but they're nowhere near as great as WALL-E; Toy Story 3; Up; Finding Nemo; or Monsters, Inc. You remember Pixar movies for life and with Ghibli you barely even remember the character's names, et alone the stories. Pixar has so much more depth and emotion and Ghibli barely taps on emotions and issues. Ghibli movies aren't very climactic while Pixar movies leave you on the edge of your seat. On the other hand, Ghibli animates their human characters in more detail than Pixar animates theirs. But all in all, Pixar is far better than Ghibli.

cheers
cheers

Pixar has a Ghibli shrine inside their studio with a huge Totoro doll in it, Lassetter (Pixar') said that everytime they have problem making a movie, they go to the screening room, play one of Ghibli's movies and voila! Case solved. Even Pixar is a huge Ghibli fan, enough said.

hana
hana

This is such a pointless argument........Ghibli is obviously better. You remember the movies for life and with pixar....I totaly forgot about the name. There movies are good(some) but you forget them in about a week later, and Ghibli's movies make a huge empact on everyone who watches them and they remember that. Ghibli is far better than pixar.

hana
hana

This is such a pointless argument........Ghibli is obviously better. You remember the movies for life and with pixar....I totaly forgot about the name. There movies are good(some) but you forget them in about a week later, and Ghibli's movies make a huge empact on everyone who watches them and they remember that. Ghibli is far better than pixar.

hana
hana

This is such a pointless argument........Ghibli is obviously better. You remember the movies for life and with pixar....I totaly forgot about the name. There movies are good(some) but you forget them in about a week later, and Ghibli's movies make a huge empact on everyone who watches them and they remember that. Ghibli is far better than pixar.

hana
hana

This is such a pointless argument........Ghibli is obviously better. You remember the movies for life and with pixar....I totaly forgot about the name. There movies are good(some) but you forget them in about a week later, and Ghibli's movies make a huge empact on everyone who watches them and they remember that. Ghibli is far better than pixar.

James
James

My Neighbor Totoro is for me the best animated movie ever. Probably in the top ten of all movies. Ghibli takes the risk of allowing very little to happen on screen for lengthy shots. they are able to build an environment and characters that mean something to the viewer. Others comments in this blog say it better than I can. The Ghibli movies stick with you for a long time. The Pixar movies have big impact, but fade in the memory.

first adventures in cinema
first adventures in cinema

...so this is what a precocious 2 yr old thinks - loved Cars and hyped out after. Adored Arriety then fell asleep halfway through but its Arriety that she's talking about a week later and drawing pictures of two weeks later.

Who needs bad guys anyway?
Who needs bad guys anyway?

What a ridiculous question. There's barely any need for me to comment, as almost all the other commentors have already agreed with me. Of course it's Ghibli! Pixar's films, while probably quite funny if you're an American viewer and enjoy jokes that you can giggle at with your four year olds, are about as subtle as a concrete breezeblock painted pink. Honestly, Time Out have set up the most ridiculous premise here, the two aren't even comparable. Pixar's repulsive clay wannabe style of computerised animation is simply a barren, emotionless, formulaic way for them to fill their pockets while the going is good. Shame on you, Time Out, for even daring to compare the two. Rant over.

Sarryen
Sarryen

What you're asking here is like "Do you prefer cats or the mountainside?" Shouldn't you compare 2d with 2d, 3d with 3d, and one gender with the same? I for one am a fan of 2d, but If you compare disney with Ghibli, I would still say Ghibli, because the stories are more complex.Say 3d?ok, final fantasy is the only 3d japanese animation I know...With due respect for the people at pixar, we can't compare those.So, pixar is fun but Ghibli is meaningful

Charlie O.
Charlie O.

Each Pixar film seems most inventive and interesting in the first 30 minutes and most frenetic and predictable in the last 30. I like their best movies a lot, but in the end, there's a crowd-pleasing formula to be met. This limits the films no matter how intricate the art their computers can create.

Petran
Petran

It would be better to compare Japanese CGI to American CGI and Japanese 2D digital animation to Western 2D digital animation. Eg one Japanese 3D movie comparable to Cars would be Yona Yona Penguin, not by Ghibili though. It is a French-Japanese co-production with Rintaro directing it and the animation was done in France mainly and other countries. 2D Western animation that would compete with Ghibili, beyond Disney....there is eg one French movie called "U the Unicorn" which has a subtlety equalling Ghibili. Or the Italian 1974 movie "Il giro del mondo degli innamorati di Peynet", with music by E,Morricone. It was dubbed into English as well. every movie caters to different audiences and ages

Noel
Noel

No; I'd say the Pixar cheerleader is shooting with blanks. When Pixar comes up with something like Grave of the Fireflies, then let's talk. Beyond that--Ghiblie doesn't have the "depth and believability" of Pixar? So Grave isn't as deep and believable as Cars 2? What exactly are we talking about? And it isn't just Grave--Pom Poko is a history of a genocide. Where's the Pixar equivalent? Horus, the Little Prince is an entire community acting against its adversary--where's the Pixar equivalent? Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro? Where's Pixar's equivalent of an animated Ozu? Whispers of the Heart, or Only Yesterday, a pair of ultrarealistic portraits of Japanese life? My Neighbor the Yamadas--where's Pixar's feature film with the guts to throw away narrative structure, relying on vignettes framed with brief haikus? It isn't just the 3d aspect, or writing up a program to give realistic expressions. It's voice delivery, gesture, narrative sophistication, and the quiet moment with the quiet detail that gives nothing yet says everything. When Pixar learns to do this, let's talk.

ken
ken

Personally, I hate the look of CG because it constantly keeps trying to be physically three-dimensional. In other words, exactly like the world we live in. And when backgrounds look so real, with bathtub-toy- characters, I find the whole thing distasteful. I would much rather look at a painting. Traditional animation can look real, or as abstract as you want it. I'm sticking with Ghibli.

Enrique
Enrique

From film critic Roger Ebert: 'Hollywood animation has been pursuing the ideal of "realistic animation" for decades, even though that's an oxymoron... animation produces emotional effects not by reproducing reality, but by heightening and simplifying it, so that many of the sequences are about ideas, not experiences.

Baron
Baron

I think the article is way too subjective, with lines like ''The majority of Pixar’s output is inventive, smart, exquisitely crafted cinema – putting its Japanese counterpart in the shade'' and ''Pixar also dominates when it comes to comedy''. So clearly biased.

barbara
barbara

There is a constant visual loveliness in Studio Ghibli films -stemming I am sure from the more hand-made animation techniques-which Pixar's plasic shininess cannot compete with. While I would agree that Pixar can often acheive emotional richness, this seems to be in spite of the visuals rather than because of it. I do admit to finding the limited facial expressions of Ghibli characters disconcerting at first, but this is balanced by an exquisite rendering of body language .

kyle  Brearey
kyle Brearey

Ghibli always leaves you with a "feeling". its that feeling of relaxation and satisfaction that you just dont get from pixar.

hustlergalore
hustlergalore

of course, ghibli. pixar is greatly influence by it.

JM Bell
JM Bell

Quick, who is the better actor - Toshirô Mifune or Humphrey Bogart? This is a stupid argument.

TheNexus18
TheNexus18

It's obvious which studio's better and that's Ghibli BY FAR. Pixar movies you can grow out of after a while but Ghibli films can be watched time and time again over the years of your life and it sticks with you. Disney even wanted to buy the rights for Miyazaki's "Princess Mononoke" just so they could censor it for a PG rating. That would've ruined the entire movie and Mononoke's one of Ghibli's best along with Spirited Away and Laputa: Castle in the Sky (all of which are on my list of favourite animated movies) and I still love each and every one of them. Pixar on the other hand, I just forget most of the stuff that happens in them and they lose what little magic they have after about ten viewings. Another thing I would like to point out is the fact that Pixar relies on CGI and all that 3D crap while Ghibli makes it the old fashioned (and better) way. I grew up with Disney all my life but unfortunately only discovered Ghibli almost two years ago. What does that tell you? My vote's on Ghibli.

IzzyGar
IzzyGar

They make it sound like the studios are having an "unofficial contest". If these films were made in a "race" then, and only then could we compare them and possibly pick a winner. but they weren't, so we can't. so lets let everybody love everybody and admire what we get instead of "this". That said, i love them both very much.

walrusdude
walrusdude

I completely agree with David Jenkins. Thank you for finally putting into words what I always felt lacked in Pixar movies: it's the subtlety. After seeing them I always think "yeah that was good. Fine for what it was." After Ghibli movies I usually say "wow that was amazing."

Zugrian
Zugrian

This is no competition. The best Pixar films pale in comparison to anything by Studio Ghibli. The worst Pixar films are utter nonsense like either of the Cars movies. Plus, because of Pixar, we now have tons of terrible cartoon films released every year with talking insert-whatever-here, usually animals, often with several lame musical numbers. It's the same tired Disney formula of the last 60 years. Western animation, and Hollywood in general, doesn't do subtlety-- they would rather sell toys to keep the money rolling in.

Javy
Javy

This is a pointless article. The movies these companies make are so different that it's apples and oranges, folks, apples and oranges.

Michelle H
Michelle H

I recommend totoro, ponyo, when the wind rises, grave of the fireflys. Infact make it a goal to see them all. Your heart will be stolen

Moon Y
Moon Y

@Kidversion There's nothing wrong with utilizing the imaginative properties that one can gain from books to create a stunning visual film that blows Pixar away. How could you say that Studio Ghibli films are boring? They have so much meaning behind them and they are so beautiful and utterly inspirational. Have you ever seen Grave of the Fireflies? I cried for about... oh I don't know... my entire life. I will never stop crying over that movie. Just the title makes me emotional. Everything is so full and has so much purpose while Pixar films go off of random stereotypes and cheap jokes that are barely even comical. I'm so so so sorry but I had to type this! My brain has been exploding over this subject.

Jarrad H
Jarrad H

@Midna "Ghibli barely taps on emotions and issues" WHAT? Are you serious?! Are you totally oblivious to the ghibli movie Grave of Fireflies?! All Pixar do is recycle their prior-made content. Take Cars, and then its sequel Cars 2. How about Finding Nemo, and then Finding Dory? Oh, and how about Toy story 1, 2 AND 3? Whoops! Almost forgot about Monsters Inc for a second! The only reason you can remember most of the pixar character's names is because they're drilled into your mind from the repetition of being frequently used. Each and every studio ghibli movie is unique. It doesn't follow the traditional trate that pixar seems to do; "Let's create a fresh movie, and then reboot a sequel 5-10 years down the line!".  


First of all, I think comparing two totally different animating studios is silly. Each hone a different type of animation AND target market. Pixar usually appeals to infants impressed by bright colours and appealing characters, whereas ghibli is more renowned for having a more vague target market. Ghibli has produced several different pieces of art which have individually appealed to TOTALLY different target markets. Take Grave of Fireflies - based on a true story of a young boy and his infant sister surviving the after-affects of WW2, as an example. Now compare this masterpiece to another ghibli title, such as Spirited Away. Both tackle completely different issues and convey a totally different message. Now compare Monsters Inc to Toy Story. They both have the same target market, the same genre and overall the same theme. Don't get me wrong, I love Pixar movies just as much as the next - I grew up watching them. In fact, I probably watched tonnes more pixar and disney films than I did ghibli. The only ghibli movie that I came across when I was under the age of 15 was Spirited Away. However, now that I've matured and have grown a greater appreciation for animation, I've now understood and have fallen in love with how ghibli movies are presented. Pixar movies are very dull and have a very meaningless message to convey (such as a fish finding his son), whereas ghibli movies always have an important message and have a more sharpened-meaningful reason behind the movie (such as Grave of Fireflies). Pixar movies are more targeted to suite a western audience, whereas I feel as though ghibli movies have a more universal appeal.


To summarise things,


Pixar movies impress via well animated animations.


Ghibli movies impress because they're works of art.


If you want to compare the two then Pixar will always be inferior to Ghibli.

Moon Y
Moon Y

@first adventures in cinema Yeah! It just proves that Studio Ghibli movies not only stay in your mind but your soul as well! You can just feel the characters! Even if it was only halfway through the movie!! :D

Moon Y
Moon Y

@Who needs bad guys anyway? HAH I'm an American and I haven't laughed at a Pixar movie. Ever. Studio Ghibli IS the most amazing film making studio I have ever seen in my entire life. Their movies are ALL on my top ten. Meaning, all the Studio Ghibli films that I have ever seen are all in my favorites, not another film is able to top a Studio Ghibli movie. I won't even allow it.

Moon Y
Moon Y

@Noel I SO AGREE! Their movies are so- LIFELESS! So so so lifeless. I hate it when people even dare to approach a Studio Ghibli movie with such disrespect!!!

Moon Y
Moon Y

@hustlergalore Not only is it influenced by it, but it tries to copy the emotion that is given off in the Studio Ghibli movies! You can't copy true feelings and ideas! You can't take away the magic that Studio Ghibli has brought and bring it into some cheap joke in a Pixar movie! PIXAR IS NOT INTERESTING!!!! Sorry I had to say this... my head is gonna explodeee

Moon Y
Moon Y

@walrusdude I SO AGREE!!! There's nothing that tops that aftertaste in magic and inspirational artwork that brings Studio Ghibli together and completely takes the cake!!!

Moon Y
Moon Y

@Javy That may be somewhat true but think about the purpose that these movies have. They both try to get a moral across, which is obviously impossible for Pixar to do especially compared to the magic and sacred films of Studio Ghibli. I mean, it's obvious that Pixar was inspired to make some kind of attempt at stunning visual artwork after being inspired by Ghibli, but failed epically. You can't compare Ghibli to Pixar because Pixar is SO out of it's league. The Pixar film Wall-E tried to be visually beautiful or at least have some meaning- which it partially did. But they didn't do a good enough job to compete with anything close to those sweet and simply inspiring Studio Ghibli moments. Plus, Studio Ghibli is done BY HAND! You can't even begin to imagine the beauty that they convey over one movie. That's the real reason that they can't be compared.