Now Go: On Grief and Studio Ghibli by Karl Thomas Smith

Now Go is another of 404 Ink’s Inklings series and this one looks at ideas of grief within the animated films of Studio Ghibli. Covering not only traditional ideas of grief and death, but also considering grief in terms of capitalism and climate crisis, Karl Thomas Smith delves into what these films might say about grief and, most importantly, how there is hope and future within grief.

From the beautiful No-Face pixel art on the cover, this is a book that is filled with love for these films, and their often complex messages hidden beneath the visual beauty that has made many of them so famous. The comparison between Totoro and No-Face in terms of their similarities and differences was very interesting, as was the discussion of the kinds of grief you see in Kiki’s Delivery Service as something more related to capitalism and society. The book gives different lenses to view these films, some of which people may have already considered and others that may be new. There’s a lot to think about from Now Go despite being in such a bitesized package, and it’s a great book for anyone who not only likes Studio Ghibli films, but likes the fact that they are varied and ambiguous.