Hayao Miyazaki: Animation guru

Hayao Miyazaki of  Studio Ghibli (株式会社スタジオジブリ) is THE king of Japanese animation, in my humble opinion. The guy makes anime magic, no doubt about that! As an animation student (who aced the course) in film school, I was extremely passionate about all his projects… so you can imagine my excitment when his latest film hit the cinemas!

So, yep… Pam & I caught Miyazaki’s latest feature, Ponyo on the cliff by the sea, and loved it! To me, it’s the simplest storyline he’s ever written thus far, but is still certainly magical and very, very sweet. It’s like a modern mermaid story of sorts really, if you think about it.

No spoilers here, but the film is basically about a very special fish girl from the sea who falls in love with a human boy… will they have their happy ever after, or will innocent Ponyo’s love be unrequited and she’d turn into sea mist? Watch it to find out.

While I did enjoy the film (which I was told that Miyazaki specially came out of retirement to do for his beloved 5 year old grand-daughter), I still prefer his deeper projects which had way more layers.

His works always highlight the importance in the intricate balance of man and nature, environmentalism, with elements of women empowerment & children’s self-esteem. Plus, there’s always so much magical creativity and imagination thrown in! I so love this anime genius…

His most recent features, Spirted Away & Howl’s Moving Castle, were simply AWESOME but I actually fell in love with Miyazaki’s special magic touch when I first saw Princess Mononoke over 10 years ago. It was the most outstanding piece of animation I’d ever seen & it still impresses me today.

The storyline was amazing and the featured characters had dimension. The animated film evoked much feeling and the pacing was remarkable – and it was so because the project was in the hands of a very brilliant and capable director. Needless to say, the art direction was fantastic and the soundtrack for it was pretty darn awesome!

In all honesty, I suspect that if I’m not doing what I’m doing right now… I’d be an animator. I really loved cel-drawing & claymation has always interested me. Now, it really irks me when people consider anime of such professional standards as mere "cartoons" because it’s like labeling sophisticated illusion acts as "tricks" …so yes, this is one major pet peeve! *wry grin*

I used to have his entire Studio Ghibli DVD collection (all original, of course) but someone borrowed it and it never came back *sniff* It’s a personal preference but I only like to watch it in its original language (same goes for other foreign films  actually) with subtitles, because. it’s just not the same, watching a film that’s been dubbed entirely in American English… yikes!

When I first watched Spirited Away in the theatre (I think it was about 5 years ago), I was really disappointed that they screened the American English dubbed version. I left the cinema and went to catch the film a second time, at another movie theatre which played the original version in Japanese, with English subtitles.

Call me quirky but I think dubbing a foreign film into American English is such a bastardization of its integrity. Seriously. It’s really as bad as eons ago, when the Singapore Broadcast Centre (now MediaCorp) dubbed their Channel 8 Chinese drama serials into English to have content on Channel 5. OH MY GOD. The horrors of horrors!

Seriously, do try to catch Miyazaki’s works if you can… it’ll certainly inspire And if you know where I can purchase his original DVD collection as mentioned above, please let me know!!!

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3 responses to “Hayao Miyazaki: Animation guru

  1. Pam

    hey babe, i have Spirited Away in dvd, in original japanese! 😀 that’s the 1st & only of his films i’ve watched. loved it! come over & watch lah.

    i haven’t watched the rest you mentioned though. so if you find them, maybe i can borrow? *grin*

    i think you’ll be great as an animator/film-maker. you’re seriously very artistic, and you amaze me constantly by your creative ideas. if you ever decide to explore those talents, you know i’ll support you 100%.

  2. hanwan

    I’m gonna catch the show too! I love anime!! I can’t believe you’re so talented in so many different things. I wish i was like you. I love art, but never seem to have the knack for it, however hard i tried. I’m not giving up though…….

  3. Joyce

    Ahoys!! YES I love MIYAZAKI!!!! thou im a little disappointed with ponyo as he could have developed his stories with more layers and also deepen his storylines.. still, his animation is top top top grade.. he really brought out the innocence and bounciness of children.. hahah.. they so CUTE!!!!!
    And yeS!! The entire ghibli is SMASHING !!!!!! Love grave of fireflies, totoro and that racoon animation…ITS REALLY cool.. oh man…
    ok..catch ya up soon ya..

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