STUDIO GHIBLI Hayao Miyazaki A Report on the Japanese Anime Film Director By Mithil Bhoras S.E. Comp F DivHayao Miyazaki is a world famous anime director whose films set a new standard in the world ofanimation. He is one of the main founders of Studio Ghibli, a renowned animation film studio andthe best after Disney.
A Brief Introduction to Anime:Anime origins from Japan. It is the short form of ―animation‖. Anime has a different visualstyle than other forms of animation. It’s had drawn colorful graphics, mostly intended foradult audiences. Depending on the context, the meaning of Anime varies.While the earliest known Japanese animation dates to 1917, and many original Japanesecartoons were produced in the ensuing decades, the characteristic anime style developed inthe 1960s notably with the work of Osamu Tezuka and became known outside Japan in the1980s. Just like Manga, which a word for cartoon strips and comic books in Japan, Animehas a large audience in Japan and recognition throughout the world. Anime is both-handdrawn and computer-generated, both or either of them. Each and every frame is drawn by hand and the film is generated at the rate of about 24 frames per second. Here is one example of a hand- drawn frame from a Miyazaki film titled Spirited away (2001). What these animators do is create a storyboard i.e. a rough sketch of what is going to happen in a scene. Next, they create the drawings called the ―Key drawings‖ which only represents the most importantframes of that scene. They don’t tell the entire scene though. They are the key frames thatdecide the key moments of the fictional characters therein. After the approval of Keydrawings from the director, the animators draw the ―Inbetween drawings‖ that come betweenthe key drawings and link them together. This creates a continuous shot after tedious hardwork!Thus Anime is completely different from computer-generated animation films. Each andevery frame has hard work behind it and directing these kinds of films is quite difficult.Though, the end result is always satisfying and organic. Japan has witnessed countless artistswho have produced some of the best animated films in the world. Hayao Miyazaki is one ofthem. From next topic, we shall see about Hayao Miyazaki’s life in short, his films and theirinfluence on the world of Animation…
Miyazaki: Early LifeMiyazaki, the second of four sons, was born in the town of Akebono-cho, part of TokyosBunkyō on 5th January, 1941. During World War II, Miyazakis father, Katsuji, was directorof Miyazaki Airplane, owned by his brother (Hayao Miyazakis uncle), which made ruddersfor A6M Zero fighterplanes. During thistime, Miyazakideveloped a lifelongfascination withaviation. Aviation ishis signature style inalmost all of hisfilms. The layout atthe left is fromMiyazaki’s filmPorco Rosso (1992)which contains hismost commonaviation theme.During his childhood, Miyazaki was forced to switch schools several times. These would allimpact elements of his films. First, when he was three, Miyazakis family was forced toevacuate Bunkyō. He began school as an evacuee in 1947. At age nine his family returnedhome, but the following year he switched to another American-influenced elementary school.Miyazaki attended Toyotama High School. In his third year there, he saw the film Hakujaden(The Tale of the White Serpent), which has been described as "the first-ever Japanese featurelength color anime." Miyazaki confessed that this film was a driving force for him and this iswhen the true desire to become an animator occurred in him. After high school, Miyazakiattended Gakushuin University, from which he would graduate in 1963 with degrees inpolitical science and economics. He was a member of the "Childrens Literature researchclub," the "closest thing to a comics club in those days." Miyazaki later decided to become aManga artist but he was more expert in drawing planes, tanks, battleships but wasn’t good atdrawing people. Despite the criticism, Miyazaki decided to study animation.His inspiration behind this step was the film Hakujaden which he first saw in high school. Atone point he decided to drop-out as a Manga artist and pursue animation. Miyazaki trainedhimself hard for drawings he couldn’t do. A picture of Miyazaki in his youth…
Poster of the First color anime feature film The tale of the White Serpent (1958) that inspired Miyazaki to become an animator.
Miyazaki: Animation CareerIn April 1963, Miyazaki got a job at Toei Animation, working as an in-between artist on theanime Watchdog Bow Wow (Wanwan Chushingura). In no time he became the chief secretaryin Toei’s Union labour. In 1965, he worked as an In-between for the anime Gulliver’s Travelsbeyond the Moon (Poster is right below). He gained recognition for his efforts as he hadchanged the ending because he had found it unsatisfactory. Later, he married fellow animatorAkemi Ota and had two sons. In 1968, Miyazaki made an anime with Isao Takahata, a well-known animator and a friend with whom he continued to collaborate for the next thirty years. The anime was Hols: Prince of the Sun (The Poster is given below). Till the early 1970s; Miyazaki had worked as Key animator in many anime films at Toei Animation.In 1971, he left Toei and worked in many otherAnimation studios like Mushi Production, APro, Nippon Animation, and TMS Entertainment.After working for some years with Takahata andthe other studios, Miyazaki animated two shortPanda! Go, Panda! Films directed by Takahata. He then co-directed 6 episodes of Lupin III with Takahata. This is a series that was based on a Manga comic created by Monkey Punch. He also helped in the production of anime series like Sherlock Hound, Future Canon boy and also did landscaping for Takahata’s Heidi another anime series which is still remembered for its dreamy animation and Takahata’s signature humanly themes. Miyazaki worked on many Mangas, short films and worked as an Inbetween and Key animators for many anime films, some of them mentioned above. Then in 1979, Miyazaki made his first feature anime film Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro. Now we shall see 10 major films directed by Miyazaki…
Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro (1979)Introduction:In 1979, Miyazaki directed his first anime film. Miyazaki had already created six episodes forthe anime series Lupin III. This is well-known in the entire Lupin III collection. Lupin III isalso considered as a surprising piece of anime delivered from a first-timer, which made theaudience realise of the fact that Miyazaki had potential of making great films. Synopsis: Lupin is a thief. He is a crafty and notorious con artist interested in girls and money. One day when he attempts to rob in a castle, everything goes wrong. But he is saved by a lovely princess and her dog. After years, he encounters her, trying to run away from a group of nasty gunmen trying to hunt her down. His attempt to save the girl leads him straight back to the castle. Now, he must solve the great mystery of the castle in order to save the princess against all odds… Description: The film was recognised by the world only after Miyazaki had created a huge fan base of his films. The Official DVD was released in 2005. The Castle of Cagliostro placed in 5th place on Japans Agency for Cultural Affair’slist of best anime. Even great directors like Steven Spielberg have praised this film and hispraise appears on the DVD’s front cover. The film has also influenced Pixar’s animator JohnLasseter, the producer of the famous Toy Story trilogy. Although this film is not Miyazaki’sbest, it was a fresh new attempt in anime with beautiful visuals, great characterization and astunning story. AfterMiyazaki’s first film, hemade another anime thatpermanently put himamong the greatestanime directors inJapan…
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Kaze noTani no Nausicaä) (1984)Introduction:Miyazaki in February 1982 started his Manga, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind which hecontinued till 1992. In between, he decided to direct his second anime film based on thisManga of his. So in 1984, the film was released and it sparked a new taste in anime.Synopsis:Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is thestory of Nausicaä, a young, revolting andnature-loving princess who live in the valleyof the wind. It is the time when humans havepolluted the Earth beyond repair and toxicforests have replaced some of Earth’s naturalecosystem. Some creatures like the Ohmu,who have adapted to such surroundings,happen to defend the forests. One day,another princess from the country ofTolmekia, attacks the valley and proposes todestroy the toxic forests and the creatures thatdefend it in order to prevent the toxins fromspreading over the entire world. Nausicaänow must choose between the creatures andher kin, a decision that can change the futureof the valley…Description:This film was one of the most important in Miyazaki’s career. Because of this film, Miyazakialong with Takahata established Studio Ghibli, one the most well-known and famousanimation studios in the world. Nausicaä of the valley of the wind clearly shows us thedifference between Nausicaä and other Heroes. For instance, Nausicaä is a girl. The feminismtheme is prominent in almost all of Miyazaki’s films and he Quote once in an interview:―When you see a man holding a gun, you aren’t surprised. When you see a girl holding a gun,now that’s something…‖ The film also shows Miyazaki’s passion for aviation as Nausicaämost of the times uses a glider in the film, better known as Mehve. Another signature style ofMiyazaki’s is the eco-friendly theme which he has used in almost all his films, both on asubtle and non-subtle level. The film made more than 700 million yen. The film was releasedin Japan on March 4, 1984 and was presented by the World Wide Fund for Nature. Whilecreated before Studio Ghibli was founded, the film is considered to be the beginning of the
studio and is often included as part of the Studios works, including the Studio GhibliCollection DVDs.Miyazaki was approached by Tokuma Shoten to convert his Manga into an anime but herefused at first. Eventually, he agreed to direct and animators were appointed to create thefilm. A notable animator, Hidaeki Anno created the most complex scenes in the film whichinclude the famous Attack of the Great-Warrior sequence, considered by many the highestpoint in the film. The snapshot below shows the scene where the princess of Tolmekia ordersthe last of the Great-Warrior to destroy the Ohmu creatures.The film received many awards including Animage Anime Grand Prix Prize 1984. Recently,it was restored and released on Blu-ray in many countries in multiple languages. The film isvery well-known and remembered for its lush and organic visuals and the feminism, eco-friendly themes. Following the success of the film, Miyazaki founded Studio Ghibli in 1985. This is the official logo of the studio. The creature in the logo is Totoro, a forest spirit. Miyazaki made a film later in1988 on Totoro named My Neighbour Totoro whose character Totorobecame equally famous alongside the Teddy Bear. After the success of Nausicaä, Miyazakimoved towards making another classic anime remembered for its boldness and innocence…
TriviaAfter the grand success of Nausicaä, New World Pictures released a completely differentversion of Nausicaä of the valley of the wind by re-dubbing and re-editing the film. Theygave the film the title ―Warriors of the Wind‖ which was almost half-an-hour shorter thanNausicaä and was distributed widely in North America on VHS and broadcasted on HBO.Consequently, part of the films narrative meaning was lost; some of the environmentalistthemes were diluted as was the main subplot of the Ohmu, altered to turn them intoaggressive enemies. Most of the characters were renamed (for example, Nausicaä became"Princess Zandra"). The cover for the VHS release featured a cadre of male characters whoare not in the film, riding the resurrected God Warrior—including a still-living Warriorshown briefly in a flashback. It was released around the world under various titles, suchas Sternenkrieger (literally "Star Warriors") in Germany.On learning this, Ghibli was very disappointed with Warriors of the Wind. Miyazaki told thefans to simply put it out of their minds. They later adopted a strict ―no-cuts‖ clause. Beforethe release of one of Ghibli’s films, Miramax who was distributing the film offered to cut thefilm to make it more marketable. But Ghibli remained strict about the no-cuts clause and thefilm was fortunately not tampered with.
Laputa: Castle in the Sky (Tenkū no ShiroRapyuta) (1986)Introduction:In 1986, Miyazaki directed another memorable anime classic, Laputa: Castle in the Sky. It’sofficially the first film of Studio Ghibli and produced by Isao Takahata. This film also won the Animage Anime Grand Prix Award 1986. Synopsis: Pazu is an Orphan who works in a mine-field. On an ordinary day, he discovers a girl, literally floating down from the sky to the earth. The girl’s name is Sheeta who having escaped the captivity of mysterious men led by a man named Colonel Mushka from a dirigible takes refuge of Pazu. But then another mysterious group of pirates try to catch Sheeta. As the mysteries unfold, the presence of a secret unknown floating castle named Laputa is uncovered eventually solving the mysterious survival of Sheeta, the girl who fell from the sky, unraveling a lost kingdom that first ruled the entire planet and Mushka’s plan to take control of it…Description:Filled with innocence yet braveness, Laputa achieves in keeping the adventurous spirit alivethroughout the anime. Miyazaki also uses some violent means to display the cruelty of menand how they are different from children. Although Laputa looks like an adventure film forkids, its deep symbolism and character development teaches us very important lessons in life.This is the film that shows us a distinctive difference between studios like Pixar and Ghibli.Hayao Miyazaki won many awards along with Takahata for Laputa. Although Laputa had nospecial visuals that stood it apart from other anime, Laputa’s heroism was praised widely andMiyazaki won the hearts of young and old alike.The name Laputa itself comes from a novel written by Jonathan Swift, Gullivers Travels. Inthis story, Swifts Laputa is also a flying island that may be controlled by its citizens.Anthony Lioi feels that Miyazakis Laputa: Castle in the Sky is similar to themes from SwiftsLaputa, where the technological superiority of the castle in the sky is used for political ends.Laputa is credited by Colonel Muska with having been behind Biblical events andsacred Hindu legends — thus tying the world of Laputa to our Earth (and towestern European civilization) — as do the medieval castle architecture of parts of the fort onthe ground; the Gothic and half-timbered buildings in the village near the fort; the Welsh
mining-town architecture, clothing, and even ground vehicles of Pazus homeland; and theVictorian ambiance of the pirate ship. The anime also makes references to the Hinduepic Ramayana, including "Indras arrow", while the name Sheeta may possibly be areference to Sita, the female lead in the Ramayana. Some of the architecture seen in the film was inspired by a Welsh mining town. Miyazaki first visited Wales in 1984 and witnessed the miners strike firsthand. He returned to the country in 1986 to prepare for Laputa, which he said reflected his Welsh experience: "I was in Wales just after theminers strike. I really admired the way the miners unions fought to the very end for theirjobs and communities, and I wanted to reflect the strength of those communities in myfilm.‖ Miyazaki told The Guardian, "I admired those men, I admired the way they battled tosave their way of life, just as the coal miners in Japan did. Many people of my generation seethe miners as a symbol; a dying breed of fighting men. Now they are gone."TriviaThe film was later released under three different titles by three different distributors as thename ―Laputa‖ means The Whore in Spanish. It sounded offensive to many but in Japanese itmeans nothing. The word was taken from the Gulliver’s travels. Even today, the film isremembered as Castle in the sky, simply that…
My Neighbour Totoro (Torani no Totoro) (1988)Introduction:1988 was an important year for anime as three veryvital anime films were released during that year:Grave of the Fireflies, Akira and My NeighbourTotoro. Grave of the fireflies, another Ghibli anime,was an anti-war film directed by Isao Takahata andwas released the same time Miyazaki’s Totoro cameout. Although Grave and Akira both through theirviolent approach to film-making achieved increating landmark animation films,(especially Akirathat helped set the standard for mordern animation)Miyazaki’s extremely simple but brilliant anime wasnot overlooked. Today, Totoro has become one ofthe most well-known animated figure, his impact onJapanese culture was deep. Once again Miyazakiapproaches his well-known signature style offeminism, aviation and Environmentalism… HayaoMiyazaki produced, wrote and directed this film.Synopsis:Two sisters with their father move to a new home. Their mother is ill and has been admittedin a local Hospital. While living in their new home, the two girls begin to realise the presenceof spirits in the nearby forest. Eventually they befriend Totoro, the gaurdian of the forest,who finds pleasure in simple things and is responsible for the growth of the plants in theforest.Description:Famous critics like Roger Ebert have praised the film as one of Miyazaki’s greatest animefilms. Unlike Miyazaki’s earlier films which caught the attention of audiences worldwidemany years after they were released, Totoro gained quick fame worldwide and HayaoMiyazaki’s position as a stong director became more stronger. This was one of the first animefilms to catch the attention of the world and brought Japanese anime in global spotlight. Thefilm was praised for it’s stunning natural visuals, it’s direction, simple and subtle flow of thestory, the energetic performances of the two sisters and who can forget Totoro, the forestspirit who teaches us enjoy life’s simple things. All these elements created a new kind ofparallel film.The art director of this film Kazuo Oga was challenged by Miyazaki when he showed him theoriginal picture of Totoro. Miyazaki challenged him to raise his standards. Oga’s experiencejump-started his career. Both Oga and Miyazaki used different colors for soil the former used
black soil color of Akita Prefecture (a place)and the latter used red soil color from theKanto Region. The ultimate result wasmarvellous and created a beautiful anime.Oga described his approach to paintingbackground art: "I appreciate my role and Idraw with the feeling that if I dont make agood effort, I will be somehow punished."Ogas conscientious approach to MyNeighbour Totoro was a style thatthe International Herald Tribune recognizedas "the traditional Japanese animist sense ofa natural world that is fully, spirituallyalive". The newspaper described the finalproduct, "Set in a period that is both modernand nostalgic, the film creates a fantastic, yet strangely believable universe of supernaturalcreatures coexisting with modernity. Great parts of this sense comes from Oga’s evocativebackgrounds, which give each tree, hedge and twist in the road an indefinable feeling ofwarmth that seems ready to spring into sentient life." Ogas work on My NeighbourTotoro led to his continued involvement with Studio Ghibli. The studio assigned jobs to Ogathat would play to his strengths, and Ogas style became a trademark style of Studio Ghibli.Miyazakis niece was the model for the character of Mei. Trivia: A main-belt asteroid was named after Totoro as 10160 Totoro that was discovered on December 31, 1994 by T. Kobayashi and Oizumi.Totoro has also made many cameo appearances in other filmslike Miyazaki’s next film Kiki’s Delivery service, Ghiblifilms like Pom Poko and Whisper of the Heart. In 2010,Pixar’s Toy Story 3 came out. Totoro made a silentappearance in the film as a plush toy in the film. On the rightis the snapshot of the film with Totoro in the background.
Kiki’s Delivery Service (Majo no Takkyūbin)(1989) Introduction: The film that is loosely based on Eiko Kadono’s novel of same name, came out in 1989 following Totoro’s success. Miyazaki directed, wrote and produced this film and it is the fourth Ghibli film. Synopsis: Kiki, A young witch arrives in a town (Koriko) for her training. She is alone, except for the company of her cat, Jiji. After a minor incident, a pregnant woman who runs bakery with her husband lends her a room and suggests Kiki to run a delivery service. Equipped with a magical broom and the company of her smart cat, Kiki tries to find her way into the city life fighting home-sickness and sometimes boredoom.Description:This film was the highest grossing film in Japan that year. The world caught the attention ofKiki in 1998 when the english dub was released in the west in collaboration with Disney.Kiki, just like Totoro, is a simple and subtle outlook towards life and it’s a unique coming-of-age film that delighted young and old alike. Kiki achieves in creating a calm and satisfyingenvironment in the first place. The buildings in the city itself were inspired from Stockholm’sarchitecture.The Kiki’s Delivery Service project started in spring of 1987, when Group Fudosha asked thepublishers of Eiko Kadono’s book if they could adapt it into a featured film directed byHayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata of Studio Ghibli. Due to the approval of Miyazaki’sfilm My Neighbour Totoro and Takahata’s film Grave of the Fireflies for production, neitherMiyazaki nor Takahata was available to take up the direction of the project at the moment.Miyazaki took up the role as producer of the film while the position of director was stillunfilled. During the start of the project and the nearing of Totoros completion, members ofStudio Ghibli were being recruited for senior staff for the Kiki’s Delivery Service project. Thecharacter design position was given to Katsuya Kondo, who was working with Miyazakion Totoro. Hiroshi Ohno another notable animator was hired as art director, partly because hewas requested by Kazuo Oga, who was part of Miyazakis Totoro team as well.Although many positions had been filled, the project still lacked a director. Miyazaki, busywith Totoro, looked at many directors himself, but found none he thought fit to articulate theproject. Finally they found a director, Sunao Katabuchi (which was to be his directorial
debut) who had previously worked with Miyazaki on Sherlock Hound. Ghibli hired NobuyukiIsshiki to write the script but Miyazaki was disappointed by the first draft, finding it dry andtoo divergent from his own vision of the film. Studio Ghibli rejected this draft of thescreenplay after Miyazaki voiced his disapproval.Finally, when Totoro wasfinished and released,Miyazaki began to lookmore closely at Kiki’sDelivery Service. Hestarted by writing ascreenplay himself, andsince Majo noTakkyūbin was based in afictional country innorthern Europe, he andthe senior staff went toresearch landscapes andother elements of thesetting. Their main stops were Stockholm and the Swedish island of Gotland. EventuallyMiyazaki took over as director when Katabuchi got intimidated.TriviaMiyazaki has noted that the real town of Visby in Gotland, Sweden is the main visualinspiration for the city. Fictional Koriko is much larger than Visby. Generally the buildingsand shops of Koriko have the look of Stockholm, or the old town of a Central European city such as Munich. The film is set in an idealised trouble- free northern Europe of the early 60s – as with most Ghibli films, one of the glories of the film is the impossibly real and detailed scenery, in this case of the stunning city on the sea. The name of the city is not actually used in the movie (except in writing on the side of a briefly visible bus) and it is often spelled "Coriko" in publications from Ghibli. The time setting for KikisDelivery Service was a subject for discussion among the movies fans for some time: Kikicarries a transistor radio apparently of 1960s vintage, and some characters are seen watchingblack-and-white television sets, but the cars and some of the aircraft seem to be from anearlier period. Specifically, a plane resembling the Handley Page H.P.42 is seen during theopening credits, although all eight of the H.P.42 aircraft had been decommissioned ordestroyed by 1941. The controversy was settled when Miyazaki said the story took place inthe 1960s of an alternative universe in which both World Wars never took place!
Porco Rosso (Kurenai no Buta) (1992)Introduction:Keeping true to his most favourite aviation theme, Miyazaki produced anime in 1992. It isMiyazaki’s sixth anime film and was distributed by Toho Distribution in Japan. Disney tookthe rights to distribute it in the US.Synopsis:During the Great Depression, Porco Rosso isa former flying ace who works as afreelance pirate hunter. He frequents theHotel Adriano, where he spends time withGina, the owner of the hotel and one of hisclosest friends. The film depicts theadventures of Porco Rosso. Porco Rosso inItalian means Crimson Pig. He has actuallybeen cursed to be a pig a long time ago.Description:The film was originally planned as a short in-flight film for Japan Airlines based on HayaoMiyazaki’s Manga The Age of the FlyingBoat, but grew into a feature-length film.The outbreak of war in Yugoslavia cast ashadow over production and prompted amore serious tone for the film, which originally had been set in Croatia. The airline remaineda major investor in the film, and showed it as an in-flight film well before its theatricalrelease. Due to this, the opening text introducing the film appears simultaneously in Japanese,Italian, Korean, English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, French and German. PorcoRosso was the number one film on the Japanese market in 1992, earning ¥2.8 billion indistribution income. It was selected as the "Prix du long métrage (Feature movie) at the1993 Annecy International Animated Film Festival. It also made Time Outs top 50 animatedmovie list. On Anime News Network (ANN) Porco Rosso, as of Dec 2010, has over 2,600ratings, the average of which is8.212 out of 10.
Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime) (1997)Introduction:1997 was another year when some really great films came out. Titanic was released in thisyear and became the first film to break the One Billion dollar mark, making it the highest grossing movie of the year and of all time. But there was another Miyazaki film released that year that some critics to this date still term it as Miyazaki’s best anime of all time. They termed it ―a timeless classic‖ and though Titanic’s grand success eclipsed this film, it did not go unnoticed.This film officially brought all the Studio Ghibli films on an international level and HayaoMiyazaki earned many awards for this film, including the Best Picture award in the JapaneseAcademy Awards, the highest honor bestowed on a film in Japan.Synopsis:A giant boar-demon attacks an Emishi village and the protagonist, Ashitaka, is forced to fightand kill him. In the struggle, Ashitaka receives a curse on his right arm, which grants himsuperhuman strength but will eventually kill him. Under the advice of the villagewisewoman, he leaves to travel to the west in search of a cure. After some traveling, he meetsJigo, a wandering monk who tells Ashitaka that he might find help from the forest spirit of amountain range populated by giant animal-gods. Iron Town, located in that range, continuallyclears the nearby forests to make charcoal to smelt ironsand and produces advanced firearms,leading to battles with the giant forest beasts. Among these animals are giant wolvesaccompanied by San, who the villagers of Iron Town call "Princess Mononoke." She is ayoung human woman who was adopted by the giant wolf goddess Moro, is desperately tryingto keep a notorious woman Lady Eboshi from invading the forest who runs Iron Town.Ashitaka then has to choose between the forest and the humans of Iron Town, a decision thatcan change his fate…
Description:It is interesting to know that Miyazaki took 16 years to develop the story and characters ofthis film. The has truly has a deep outlook towards life suggesting that life is not so easy asthey show in most films. The visuals of this film were directly taken from his own Mangathat he created in 1983, titled The Journey of Shauna. It was during the making of this Mangawhen Miyazaki had an idea to make Princess Mononoke. He gave himself a lot of time whiledeveloping the characters, the imagery and the most vital element, the story. If one sees thefilm, he will discover the fantastic and complex character development in the film whichsuggested that no one was actually good or bad. Miyazaki displayed a really unusual cliché inthis film that one does not get to see in modern films i.e. changing loyalties. ThoughMononoke is a fantasy film, Miyazaki still sticked to realism in this film. This film was alsothe first Ghibli anime to use computer graphics.The film has been dubbed in numerous languages. Miramax dubbed the film in English. AndDisney took the rights for it’s U.S. distribution. This is the time when Mononoke receivedacclaim from international audience. The film appears frequently on the Best Animated filmsof all time lists. Critics claimed it to be a visually stunning and a thought-provokingmilestone in cinematic world. Even in this film the most common themes like feminism andenvironmentalism are prominent. Though, fans were surprised to discover that Miyazakinever used his favorite aviation theme in the film. In addition to that, Miyazaki also usedviolence in greater detail to make the film more realistic like in the war sequences men’sarms get amputated. It was chosen as the Japanese submission for the Academy Award forBest Foreign Language Film for that year.TriviaMononoke means angry or vengeful spirit. Hime is the Japanese honorific word that meansprincess, which, in the rules of Japanese grammar, is placed after a persons name instead ofbefore, as is the custom in many Western languages. When the films title was translated intoEnglish, it was decided that Mononoke would be left as a name rather than translatedliterally. This was also to be Miyazaki’s last film but he was inspired yet again to makeanother anime that achieved much grander success and earned Miyazaki an Academy Awardin 2001.
Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi)(2001)Introduction:In his retirement, Miyazaki was spending some time with his friends when one of his friend’sdaughter caught his attention and inspired him to create another masterpeice, Spirited Away. In the 75th Academy Awards, the film won the best Animated Film of the year. Critics claim this to be his second best achievement at film-making, probably the greatest 2D animation ever made. Synopsis: The film tells the story of Chihiro Ogino, a sullen ten- year-old girl who, while moving to a new neighbourhood, becomes trapped in an alternate reality that is inhabited by spirits and monsters. After her parents are transformed into pigs by the witch Yubaba, Chihiro takes a job working in Yubabas bathhouse to find a way to free herself and her parents and escape back to the human world. Haku, Yubaba’s so-called apprentice, helps Chihiro until at last he realises that he had met her before and had known her his whole life…Description:Every summer, Hayao Miyazaki spent his vacation at a mountain cabin with his family andfive girls who were friends of the family. The idea for Spirited Away came about when hedesired to make a film for these friends. Miyazaki had previously directed films like MyNeighbour Totoro and Kikis Delivery Service, which were for small children and teenagers,but he had not created a film for ten-year-old girls. For inspiration, he read shōjoManga magazines like Nakayoshi and Ribon the girls had left at the cabin, but felt they onlyoffered subjects on "crushes" and romance. When looking at his young friends, Miyazaki feltthis was not what they "held dear in their hearts." Instead, he decided to make the film abouta girl heroine whom they could look up to. He said, ―I created a heroine who is an ordinarygirl, someone with whom the audience can sympathize. Its not a story in which the charactersgrow up, but a story in which they draw on something already inside them, brought out by theparticular circumstances. I want my young friends to live like that, and I think they, too, havesuch a wish.‖Production of the film commenced in 2000 on a 1.9 billion Yen (US$19 million) budget. Aswith Princess Mononoke, Miyazaki and his staff had experimented with the process ofcomputer animation. Equipping themselves with more computers and programs
like Softimage, the Studio Ghibli staff began to learn the software, but kept the technology ata level to enhance the story, not to "steal the show." Each character was largely animated byhand, with Miyazaki working alongside his animators to see they were getting it just right.The biggest difficulty in making the film was to cut down its length. When productionstarted, Miyazaki realized it would be more than three hours long if he made it according tohis plot. He had to cut many scenes from the story, and tried to reduce the "eye-candy" in thefilm because he wanted it to be simple. Miyazaki did not want to make the hero a "prettygirl." At the beginning, he was frustrated at how she looked "dull" and thought, "She isntcute. Isnt there something we can do?" As the film neared the end, however, he was relievedto feel "she will be a charming woman."When released, Spirited Away became the most successful film in Japanese history, grossingover $274 million worldwide. The film overtook Titanic (at the time the top grossing filmworldwide) in the Japanese box office to become the highest-grossing film in Japanesehistory. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards,the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival and also the JapaneseAcademy Award for Best Picture, second anime film to do so, first being PrincessMononoke.Spirited Away’s stunning visuals, dazzling imagery and the usual deep characterization isextremely rich. Miyazaki’s attention to detail is much stronger. Here Miyazaki yet once againsticks to his signature styles. But the environmental theme is given a more subtle look in thefilm while feminism and aviation are quite prominent.Trivia:Executive Producer John Lasseter of Pixar supervised the English-language dubbing of thefilm and tried to match the actors English-language dialog with the mouth movements of theanimated characters.This is the first film to earn US$200 million in grosses before opening in the U.S.First anime film to be nominated for (and win) an Academy Award. It also has the longestruntime of any other film nominated or winning in that category (125 minutes).Miyazaki wasn’t present during the Academy Awards because he didn’t want to come to acountry that was bombing Iraq.
Howl’s Moving Castle (Hauru no Ugoku Shiro)(2004)Introduction:Based on Dianna Wynne Jones’ novel, Howl is another masterwork of Hayao Miyazaki.Miyazaki was once again nominated for Oscar, though he did not win. After Spirited away’sgrand success, Miyazaki became active onceagain and made two more anime films,Howl included.Synopsis:A love story between an 18-year-old girlnamed Sofî, cursed by a witch into an oldwomans body, and a magician namedHauru. Under the curse, Sofî sets out to seekher fortune, which takes her to Haurusstrange moving castle. In the castle, Sophiemeets Haurus fire demon, named Karishifâ.Seeing that she is under a curse, the demonmakes a deal with Sophie--if she breaks thecontract he is under with Hauru, thenKarushifâ will lift the curse that Sophie isunder, and she will return to her 18-year-oldshape.Description:This time too, Miyazaki for the third time caught the eye of the world with breathtakingvisuals and never ending imagination. Miyazaki takes a step forward in the use of computergraphics. Although the films story was drastically different than the novel’s, Miyazaki keepstrue to the character Sophie’s emotions, making a great impact. The film had its worldpremiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 5, 2004 and was released in Japanesetheatres on November 20, 2004. It went on to gross $231.7 million worldwide, making it oneof the most financially successful Japanese films in history. The film was subsequentlydubbed into English by Pixars Peter Doctor and distributed in North America by WaltDisney Pictures. It received a limited release in the United States and Canada beginning June10, 2005 and was released nationwide in Australia on September 22 and in the UK thefollowing September. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best AnimatedFeature at the 78th Academy Awards in 2006.
Trivia:Although the film was not released in the United Kingdom until 23 September 2005,director Hayao Miyazaki personally travelled to England in the summer of 2004 to give aprivate showing of the film to Diana Wynne Jones.The birdlike glider that Howl uses looks like the one used in Nausicaa, mostly rememberedby the namesake Mehve.
Ponyo (Gake no Ue no Ponyo) (2008)Introduction:Ponyo came out in 2008, directed and written by Miyazaki and his tenth film. It is thesixteenth film of Ghibli. Though not his best, Miyazaki still delivers a dazzling filmexperience sticking to the old film-making techniques and his signature styles. Synopsis: The son of a sailor, 5-year old Sosuke lives a quiet life on an Oceanside cliff with his mother Lisa. One fateful day, he finds a beautiful goldfish trapped in a bottle on the beach and upon rescuing her, names her Ponyo. But she is no ordinary goldfish. The daughter of a masterful wizard and a sea goddess, Ponyo uses her fathers magic to transform herself into a young girl and quickly falls in love with Sosuke, but the use of such powerful sorcery causes a dangerous imbalance in the world. As the moon steadily draws nearer to the earth and Ponyos father sends the oceans mighty waves to find his daughter, the two children embark on an adventure of a lifetime to save the world and fulfil Ponyos dreams of becoming human.Description:The film was written, directed, and animated by Hayao Miyazaki, who said his inspirationwas the Hans Christian Andersen story, "The Little Mermaid" but his inspiration was moreabstract than a story. Production on Ponyo started October 2006.Miyazaki was intimately involved with the hand-drawn animation in Ponyo. He preferred todraw the sea and waves himself, and enjoyed experimenting with how to express thisimportant part of the film. The level of detailed drawing present in the film resulted in170,000 separate images—a record for a Miyazaki film.Ponyos name is onomatopoeia, based on Miyazakis idea of what a "soft, squishy softness"sounds like when touched.The seaside village where the story takes place is inspired by Tomonoura, a real townin Setonaikai National Park in Japan, where Miyazaki stayed in 2005. Some of the settingand story was affected by Richard Wagners opera Die Walküre. The music also makesreference to Wagners opera. The character of Sōsuke is based on Miyazakis son GorōMiyazaki when he was five. Sōsuke’s name is taken from the hero in the famous novel TheGate.
Although the film wasn’t received positively the way Miyazaki’s former three films were,Ponyo was universally acclaimed by film critics worldwide. Miyazaki’s Ponyo takes place90% of the time in ocean. Up until now, this was the last film of Miyazaki after which he didstoryboards and screenwriting for some films…Trivia:Ponyo was completely hand-drawn. No computer graphics were used as Miyazaki wanted tostick to traditional anime.
Recent Works:Recently, Miyazaki did the screenplay for another Ghiblifilm The Secret world of Arriety (Poster on right),directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. The film tells thestory of Arriety, a young Borrower, who lives under thefloorboards of a typical household. She eventuallybefriends Sho, a human boy with a heart condition sincebirth, who is living with his great aunt, Sadako. The filmwas released in Japan in 2010 and is currently running in selected countries. He then did storyboards for his son’s, Goro Miyazaki, film Tales from Earthsea(Poster given below). The film though wasn’t a hit and critics considered it one of the worst anime to come out from Ghibli, probably the only one. He also worked on the screenplay of another film, From up on Poppy hill, also directed by his son Goro Miyazaki. Hayao Miyazaki is currently working on the story of his son’s next film. But no word has yet come out about his next film…Though Miyazaki has promised a sequel to his film Porco Rosso where the main character isgoing to be shown old, depicting Miyazaki’s own aging.
Nausicaä of the valley of the wind… Laputa: Castle of the sky…