Episode 30 - Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986) (with Robert Maslen)

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Episode 30 marks a return to the work of both Studio Ghibli and filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, as Chris and Alex build on their discussion of My Neighbor Totoro with a journey to Laputa: Castle in the Sky (Hayao Miyazaki, 1986), an animated fantasy that follows the magical Sheeta and companion Pazu from a mining community of Japan up into the skies thanks to the floating powers of a mythical crystal. To discuss this early Ghibli feature, they are joined by Dr Robert Maslen, Senior Lecturer in English Literature (University of Glasgow) and founder of the MLitt English Literature: Fantasy, the first graduate programme in the world specifically dedicated to the study of fantasy and the fantastic. Topics include the film’s many imaginative acts of creativity and invention that support its steampunk aesthetic; its articulation of the treasures of learning, knowledge and dreams; Laputa’s links to both the speculative fiction of author Ursula K. Le Guin and the spectre of Japan’s industrialisation; and its multiple levels of space (the dynamism of the air, the land that conveys the work of living, and the underground mines that spark Sheeta and Pazu’s flying adventure).

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