12 Days of Anime: Studio Ghibli’s Tales from Earthsea


As we get closer and closer to Christmas, this challenge is getting more fun to rewatch these movies and get to forget the world for 2 hours. I enjoy movies and jumping into someone’s created world. Tales from Earthsea is a movie I forgot about because of how complicated this story is. When I saw it maybe ten years ago, I understood the film as a story about fairytales or myths told to children as they grew up and finding out they are, in fact, true. After rewatching recently, I still think the same thing about the plot of how tales told to us as kids can be real in our adult life.

Spoilers ahead!

Trailer for Tales from Earthsea

At the start of the film, there are two dragons, a black and white one fighting each other over the sea in a storm and a ship full of seamen making it through the storm witness this fight. As the battle continues, the white dragon gets bit and falls into the ocean in defeat. An older man mentions that dragons and humans once lived in harmony, but after seeing this battle, I think it may have something to do with people go to war, so the dragons that were once in harmony with humans now mimic our actions.

The deeper meaning I got from this film is the dark theme that focused on life and death. The story follows Arren, the main character that in the first few scenes of the film, kills his father and runs away from home. As Arren is out on his own, you can tell he’s defensive about everything he comes in contact with, and he’s tired. In the desert, Arren encounters some starving pack of wolves. An Archmage (Wizard) saves his life Named Sparrowhawk. Their budding friendship begins as Sparrowhawk invites Arren to travel with him.

In the city of Hort Town, Sparrowhawk and Arren run into a few problems that later come to bite them then. Arren runs into a group of men trying to kidnap a young girl that we later know as Therru about the same age as him and tries to save her. In the process, one of the goons threatens to take her life, and Arren is so bold to say go ahead, like something dark took over him, and he no longer cared about saving her life. Arren scares off the goons, which in the end saves Therru’s life, but later on, they catch up to Arren while he’s alone and kidnap him to become a slave. The carriage carrying the slaves didn’t get far before Sparrowhawk came into getting Arren and free everyone else.

Sparrowhawk takes Arren to an old friend of his named Tenar, and this is where we meet Therru again as she lives with Tenar. After coming here to recoup and help out. We learn about another wizard named Cob, and he’s the reason for the world being unbalanced because he refuses to die and let the balance of life continue as it should. Cob kidnaps Arren and taps into his darkness and fears of life to control him and defeat Sparrowhawk. The balance retakes control by finding out Therru is the white dragon that was at sea earlier in the film, kills Cob to restore the balance needed.

I enjoy long adventure films like this that make you think about the storyline and what they could mean. To me, this was just a few tales or myths rolled into one that came together. A world of dragons, witches, wizards, and other magical things were living together to keep balance and harmony. This film is an excellent watch for someone that is a deep thinker like myself that wants to twist and turn the plot and try to match tales you’ve heard with this film.

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