Imaginary Flying Machines- Princess Ghibli [Album Review]

My F*cking Neighbor Totoro \m/

Okay, so maybe nobody actually sang that in Princess Ghibli, but it sure got your attention right?

Princess Ghibli is a remake of various Studio Ghibli songs from many Ghibli animated classics, which include My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Ponyo on the Cliff.

I say the album is a “remake,” but it’s more like the Imaginary Flying Machines took Studio Ghibli’s signature nursery tunes and reincarnated them as vicious yet oddly catchy screams of affection and terror. There’s really no other way to describe it.

The album was produced by the Imaginary Flying Machines who are more or less a jam session of musicians from Italy and Japan that banded together to make this Ghibli remix. And jam they did.

The album opens with the infamous theme from Totoro, which has been covered not only by fancy orchestras and symphonies, but by many rock artists on YouTube. Much screaming, heavy guitar shredding and cutesy, “Tonari no Totoro totorooo~ Totoro Totoroooo~” follows.

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have listened to this if it weren’t for the fact that “Ghibli” was emblazoned on the cover. The album has a very intense sound that probably only appeals to metal fans and extremely hard-core Ghibli fans.

The majority of the album is very much like the shredded Totoro that opens the album. Even though Princess Ghibli is categorized as “melodic death metal” (imagine that, someone shredding melodically as you die), to my untrained ears, most of the melodies and rhythms sounded almost exactly the same and seemed to have lost the delicacy that made so much of Joe Hisaishi and Ghibli’s music stand out from typical movie soundtracks. It was difficult to hear the Ghibli spirit over the groans and high-pitched screams that coursed throughout the whole album.

Which, of course, isn’t to say that there’s nothing to like about Princess Ghibli. For one, the concept is actually quite ironic and funny. Totoro, a lovable and soft fluffy figure from the childhoods of many Asian and Western children, suddenly is transformed into a screaming, hair-raising (still fluffy) monster.

The riffs also evoked a sense of awe as I listened to the album. The speed that the musicians went through the notes seemed to mean something formidable, and the vocalist (who was screaming, and screaming fast), had absolutely no trouble keeping up.

Another perk to Princess Ghibli was “Ponyo on the Cliff,” my favorite song on the album. This song was less screamy compared to the other pieces, and when you hear “Ponyo, Ponyo, child of a fish” repeated in Japanese, well, it’s just rather interesting to hear someone roaring it straight into your ear.

Princess Ghibli definitely had some things that weren’t quite to my taste, but at the same time, I couldn’t help but be drawn in by how Imaginary Flying Machines had completely changed the themes of these childhood memories and made them into something intense and even pleasantly dangerous.


Imaginary Flying Machine Profile

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About Tabia
A girl whose eyes are much too big for her stomach. This leads to adventures at buffets that result in sleeping on the couch and dreaming of the next buffet to be conquered.

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