Friday, January 28, 2011

"Fine, like moving the castle isn't hard enough!"

Today, we're going in a completely new direction! Remember how I briefly explained anime in my post on Sailor Moon :)? Today's topic is the great Hayao Miyazaki and his animated movies.

Hayao Miyazaki - Japanese manga artist, animator, and film director

If you've never seen a Miyazaki movie, I must profess, my dears, you must be living under a rock. His 2001 film Spirited Away (trailer below) was the first anime ever awarded the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Howl's Moving Castle (based on the book by Diana Wynne Jones) was nominated for the same category in 2005. His 1997 film Princess Mononoke (the first Miyazaki film to make it big in the West - Thanks, Miramax) was the highest-grossing film in Japan, until it was topped by James Cameron's Titanic. Later, Spirited Away would top Titanic.

Miyazaki co-founded Studio Ghibli, the studio under which these classics were produced, in June of 1985. The logo features the lovable Totoro (pictured above) from Miyazaki's film My Neighbor Totoro. I remember watching that movie in the After School Program in elementary school and I have quite a little collection of Totoro plushies. But that's a mere side note. :)

6 Reasons why we love Miyazaki's films (of 12983083459834058 other reasons)

1. While the style of his characters may look a little simple, Miyazaki is a master animator. The effects, the backgrounds, the action will surprise you.
2. He always gets Joe Hisaishi to do his music. *_* This guy is so good. (And yes, you can purchase the soundtracks :))
3. His movies have a message. They delight and entertain all ages, but you leave having learned something. Whether it's about love, humanity, industry vs. nature, good vs. evil...
4. They have something for everyone, so they're perfect for watching with friends and family.
5. The man created Totoro. And Catbus. He deserves our patronage and support.

RIGHT HERE! <-- Here's a great article in-depth article on Miyazaki's works and themes.

Three of his films you need to see right now (this is no surprise): Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl's Moving Castle. GO NOW! I'll go with you.

3 Fun Facts!

1. Miyazaki's father, Katsuji, was the Director of family-owned Miyazaki airplane. This family fascination with aviation is apparent in Miyazaki's works even today...Check Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky and Howl's Moving Castle.
2. Reoccurring themes in Miyazaki's work include human impact on the environment, feminism, anti-military sentiments, magic, and morally ambiguous characters.
3. Miyazaki believes that "hand drawing on paper is the fundamental of animation." The majority of his art is done in watercolor. While some of his films have employed computer animation for polish, his most recent film Ponyo (2008) returned to hand drawing for everything.

“I am an animator. I feel like I'm the manager of a animation cinema factory. I am not an executive. I'm rather like a foreman, like the boss of a team of craftsmen. That is the spirit of how I work.” - Hayao Miyazaki

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