Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Miyazaki, Dubs, and a Car Crash

Hi there, everyone! 

I had an exciting weekend. I finally watched two of Miyazaki’s acclaimed works, I discovered that good dubs do indeed exist, and, last but not least, I crashed my car. All within the space of twenty four hours. 

As absurd as it may sound, I spent my two years of anime fandom without finishing a single anime directed by the famous Miyazaki Hayao. Sure, I watched Spirited Away about six years ago, but that doesn’t count. Back then, I had no idea what anime was. I just thought Spirited Away was a little weird. 

Then, when I was researching anime for “Anime 101” during my first year of anime watching, I tried Princess Mononoke. I didn’t fully appreciate it and ended up stopping midway.

Only recently did my interest in Miyazaki’s work surface. On Saturday evening, I watched Howl’s Moving Castle with my dear friend. It was amazing! The art, the music, the creativity and plot, and even the English dubs were great! Howl quickly made his way to my favorite anime guy list. Granted, he’s not nearly as cool as Brandon Heat from Gungrave, but still; Howl is pretty high up there.

After my friend left, leaving me alone with the dogs I was watching for the weekend, I found myself craving more Miyazaki. Thankfully, she’d lent me My Neighbor Totoro as well. While I didn’t love Totoro as much as Howl’s Moving Castle, I still liked it. It contained many of the same things that I enjoyed so much in Howl – from the art to the music to the story. I watched it in the original Japanese, and I found the children’s voices slightly annoying, but it was still good.

Then Sunday rolled along. It started well. I woke up to hungry dogs, fed them, and wrapped up my house sitting job. I considered sticking around to meet one of the owners, but wanted to make sure I was home before dark. I live almost three hours away from the place I was house sitting, and I still had to get gas.

So I wrote a note, packed up my car, found a gas station, and headed home. I blasted the soundtrack from Pixar’s Cars, like I always do on long road trips. Scenes from the anime Initial D flashed through my mind as I drove down the highway. Again, it was a typical road trip. I always think about Initial D when I make that drive. I’m not near as reckless as those fictional street racers, but I enjoy thinking about them as I round highway curves.

When I was about a half hour away from home, I drove around a right hand curve. The steering wheel jerked the opposite direction, but I was able to regain control and thought nothing of it. Looking back, I really, really wish I’d taken better note of the way my car was acting.

A minute, maybe two, after I’d noticed that little quirk, I encountered another right hand curve, a larger one this time. I approached it faster than the suggested speed, though still within legal limits. I repeat, that was nothing atypical. Before that day, I’d never had any trouble with rounding those corners.

As I began following the curve to the right, the steering wheel decided to go against my wishes. It jerked again to the left. This time, I couldn’t direct it back on course. My car veered across the empty passing lane, across the opposing traffic lane, and off the other side of the road. From the angle my car landed in, you’d think I was coming from the opposite direction.

A very rough diagram of the crash site
At some point in the crashing process, it looked like the passenger side of the car banged against a boulder. I think that’s what resulted in the greatest amount of damage. Either way, when I first crashed, I didn’t particularly care. The engine died when I crashed off the side of the road. My imagination went wild with images of exploding vehicles. With such thoughts in mind, I hurriedly left the car and stood a few feet away.

Some men, I’m guessing in their late twenties or early thirties, pulled off the road about a dozen yards away. They called the police, lent me a jacket and a water bottle, and stayed with me until my parents and the tow truck came. I only learned two of their names, but I am very thankful for each of them. I needed adult support and company, and they provided it (yes, I’m technically an adult, but still).

The police didn’t come, but an officer on the phone gave me the number for the tow truck company Mom wanted. Everyone involved – the police on the phone, the men who stopped their van and suburban to help, the paramedic in training who came right before my parents and checked on me, and even the tow truck man – was very helpful and kind.

It took almost exactly twenty four hours to get over the shock of it all. I got what I can best describe as an annoying seatbelt burn on my right arm, and my ankles are slightly bruised where the knobby parts knocked together. I woke up sore and with very minor whiplash. But overall, I’m fine. The car, on the other hand, could very well be totaled.

So, that’s what’s been going on with me. I watched Howl’s Moving Castle a second time to help recover from the shock. By the time I finished that and the latest Naruto Shippuden filler, I felt mentally all better.

To sum this blog post up: Miyazaki is cool, great English dubs actually exist, and car crashes aren’t fun.


  1. That sounds quite amazing. I am so glad you weren't hurt. I have seen a heard far too many traumatic things from my summer job on the train to not be a little freaked. I am glad that you have recovered mentally, it would probably take me a number of days to calm down. I'll be praying for you.

    I have only seen two Miyazaki films: Howl's Moving Castle and Princess Monoki. I thought that they were okay.

    I don't see why people hate on dubs. I almost only watch subtitles, but some dubs are not that bad.

  2. Thanks. :) To be honest, I still haven't completely processed the fact that we pretty much just lost a car. But, other than that, it only took a day of being teary and a few hours of physical shock (feeling freezing cold,light headed) before I felt mentally better. Mostly, anyway.

    I think people hate on dubs because there are some pretty bad ones out there. I once watched an episode of Naruto dubbed, and Jiraya's English voice was so cheesy it scarred me. I only recently discovered dubbed anime where it felt like the English voice actors took their characters seriously.

  3. Oh, gosh, I'm glad you're okay! It must be especially scary when a car doesn't respond the way you want it.

    Btw, the little drawing helped me understand your story. :)

    I'm also glad that you're starting to enjoy Miyazaki! He's my favorite anime director. I would suggest you rewatch Spirited Away - it's quite a bit better than Howl's. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is also awesome. Kiki's Delivery Service is cute.

    There are other great Studio Ghibli films - chief among them Grave of the Fireflies and Whisper of the Heart, the latter of which may be my favorite anime film ever.

    As for dubs...Ghibli dubs are the best in the business. Released by Disney, these films have the money to hire superior talent.

  4. @beneaththetangles
    Oh, good, I'm glad the drawing did its job. :)

    I'm planning to watch all the Miyazaki films you mentioned at some point. I do think I'd appreciate Spirited Away more now. From what I remember reading about Grave of the Butterflies , it looks like a rather sad toned movie, but I might watch it anyway. :)

  5. awwww :3 i love that i'm mentioned in your blog!

    and i would go on and on all about how im glad ur ok, but i already did that in person :o




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