Hayao Miyazaki’s early work mirrored that of a lot of early animators and directors….he started small, and gradually grew
Words: Desmond “Neo” Childs
Let me throw some movie titles at you, and then I’ll ask you a question. Okay?
Howl’s Moving Castle.
Kiki’s Delivery Service.
Castle in the Sky.
My Neighbor Totoro.
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
How many of the films above have won an Oscar? The film titles listed are all directed by Miyazaki. Several of them are considered classics, and all of them are respected works of Japanese animation.
Respected to a point.
Let’s face it, the only one of the titles listed above to win an Oscar was Spirited Away (2001). To be fair, it’s pretty difficult for an animated film, not to mention a foreign animated feature, to win big over here in Hollywood. However, it does make the casual fan of anime wonder:
Just what exactly is all the hype about? Is this guy really worth it?
To some, he is worth the hype. His penchant for mesmerizing storytelling and strong, morally sound protagonists are some of the key ingredients to his success.
…and the other ingredients?
Miyazaki’s works, and Studio Ghibli in general, have a high level of quality in the animation. The attention to detail and Miyazaki stubbornly sticking to hand-drawing his storyboards, makes for a truly authentic experience.
I should also take the time to give credit to Joe Hisashi, the man behind most (if not all) the cinematic scores that accompany Miyazaki’s sublime animation. The soundtracks move the story along, highlighting thrills and chills, and underlying the more sentimental moments in these pictures. Sometimes, having impactful scenes without music helps the audience ruminate on the situation and it’s themes.
The bottom line of all of this?
Hayao Miyazaki is worth the hype.
Born on January 5th, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan; Hayao Miyazaki seemed to be primed for fame early on. Blessed with an uncanny ability to draw and a sharp, imaginative mind; Miyazaki always seemed to be full of story ideas. So in 1963, he started on as an animator at Toei Douga Studio; working on a lot of the “classics” Japanese animation. Through 1971-1973, he worked at the A Pro Studio, and then Nippon Animation. One notable thing to mention here is that he met Isao Takahata…
Grave of the Fireflies is my favorite Studio Ghibli film…
After some work with World Masterpiece Theater, Miyazaki worked on his first animated series, Future Boy Conan in 1978. Then interestingly enough, he went on to direct his first animated film with Castle of Cagliostro. The movie is centered around a infamous thief, his companions, and their dealing with a corrupt Count and his counterfeit operation. It’s a solid film and has many of the qualities Miyazaki’s later features exhibit as well. Check here for the movie trailer
In the next edition of True Legend, I’ll take a look at a few more of Miyazaki’s movies: The themes, the voice acting, the color…
- PREVIEW: True Legend series kicks off with Hayao Miyazaki (otakastradio.com)
- Hayao Miyazaki out of retirement, again (theguardian.com)
- Who is Miyazaki Hayao? (sarah95yein.wordpress.com)
- A New Trailer for Hayao Miyazaki’s THE WIND RISES (nerdist.com)
- Hayao Miyazaki’s Post-Retirement Plans Include Drawing Samurai Manga (slashfilm.com)