The Castle of Cagliostro

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki        

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Arsene Lupin was a creation by French author Maurice Leblanc during the beginning of the 20th Century. He was a gentleman thief who swindled various pompous marks out of their jewelry, fortunes, or schemes. The Japanese manga king with the odd penname Monkey Punch revitalized the character in his famous serial comic Lupin III, with the not-so-gentlemanly grandson of the gentleman thief. He is joined in his adventures by comrades Jigen and Goemon who are a marksman and a Japanese swordsman respectively.

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Sore ike, Anpanman!

There’s no real way to describe this show. You just have to see it to believe. Anpanman is an animated show geared towards preschool age Japanese children. This doesn’t keep it from appealing to 30 something native English speakers as myself. Each 30 minute show typically features two 11 minute episodes with the same basic plot over and over. “Why the appeal, you ask?” It’s so cute and funny, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. It was a great tool for learning Japanese when I first came to Japan as the characters repeat greetings often and it features festivals, seasonal foods, dances, costumes, school events, Japanese customs, Japanese holidays, through a cast of characters so plentiful (nearly 2000 in all!) the show was recognized by Guinness in 2009. This variation of characters is partly responsible for its timeless appeal.

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