Director’s Chair Introduction: Hayao Miyazaki

by Tony Cogan · February 27, 2017 · Uncategorized · 1 Comment

Deadline: 25th March 2017

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So for this months Director’s Chair, I wanted to go back to the world of anime. I’ve previously covered Satoshi Kon on this feature but I was having a hard time deciding who to cover this time. Then came the announcement that Hayao Miyazaki was coming out of retirement and I knew there was no other person it could be.

Now Miyazaki has been working on anime for decades, producing some groundbreaking films in the medium of animation, starting off with an adaptation of the character Lupin III, itself a spin-off of French creation Arsene Lupin, before going into his own work, adapting his own manga, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. With that film though comes an interesting history regarding the dubs of Miyazaki’s films into English. As a result of the terrible dub of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (dubbed Warriors of the Wind), Miyazaki refused to allow any cuts to be made to his films, to the point that when Miramax was doing their dub of Princess Mononoke (which Neil Gaiman did the translation for), when cuts were proposed, a member of staff at Studio Ghibli sent a sword to Miramax with ‘no cuts’ written on it. However, more faithful dubs have been released in the past few years due to the actions of John Lasseter, who was heavily inspired by Miyazaki, and brought more awareness to his films and the films of Ghibli as a whole.

Now there are a lot of interesting themes present in the films of Miyazaki, ranging from environmentalism and feminism to anti-war themes present in all of Ghibli’s films (just look at Grave of the Fireflies), creating some incredibly intelligent films that people of all ages can watch. There is also a great fascination with flight in his films, something that is animated beautifully in all of the films in which it was featured, and the combination of flight and his pacifist tendencies showed why The Wind Rises was considered to be the perfect swansong for Miyazaki’s career. Now though, Miyazaki is out of retirement and is making a new film for Ghibli, which I cannot wait to see when it is released.

Of course, you cannot overlook the brilliance of the animation in Miyazaki’s films, the use of colour is just incredible, even the storyboards are works of art, I had a look at a book featuring the concept art for Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and the watercolours in there are just beautiful. There’s this great mix of technology and nature present in Miyazaki’s films that has helped to create some of the most iconic images in animation, with what I’d consider to be the image that defines Miyazaki to be a shot from Castle in the Sky, with a robot covered in moss, just a beautiful image.

So, as usual, send any features that you have done on the films of Hayao Miyazaki to As a reminder, the films that you can cover are listed below.

  • Castle of Cagliostro
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
  • Castle in the Sky
  • My Neighbour Totoro
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service
  • Porco Rosso
  • Princess Mononoke
  • Spirited Away
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Ponyo
  • The Wind Rises

I look forward to receiving what you have made about the incredible career of Miyazaki.