Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Power of Anime

As one of the most influential and well-known animators of all time, Hayao Miyazaki has captivated the world with his stunning and thought provoking animated creations as a film director, producer, screenwriter, animator, author, and manga artist. Being nominated for and winning multiple awards such as best picture at the Japan Academy Awards for Princess Mononoke, Miyazaki has popularized anime for both children and adults using themes of love, war, and nature.

Born on January 5, 1941, in Tokyo, Japan, Miyazaki grew up living through post-World War II Japan. Learning of the destruction of the war, Miyazaki pursued to exemplify the horrors of war and conflict through his art and films. He joined the anime business in 1963 when he entered Toei Animation studios as a storyboard assistant artist. Through this medium, he was able to get his foot in the door of animation. He worked tirelessly to get his personal creations publicized and worked with many different other projects as an assistant for 16 years until he directed his first feature film The Castle of Cagliostro in 1979. Just like Jonah Lehrer's article "Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Giving Up," Miyazaki continuously used his unpopular and unpublicized work for 16 years to develop a worthy creation. He was able to take what worked and discard what didn't. The success of his next feature film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind would then realize his potential and passion to leave Toei Animation and start his own studio with his close friend and anime director Isao Takahata. They started the now internationally known Studio Ghibli.

As one of his most popular works, Princess Mononoke embodies his passion that represents his creative style. Using the backdrop of mystical medieval Japan, Princess Mononoke creates the scene of a conflict between man and nature and one man's quest to bring balance between the two. Heavily emphasizing the importance of the environment around us and how man has taken advantage of it to create deadly weapons, Miyazaki expresses his anti-war beliefs in a powerful and moving story of love and a quest for meaning. 


  1. This is so cool! I knew about some of his movies, like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away but I just never knew much about his desire to showcase his ideas about war and conflict.

  2. Miyazaki is certainly an innovator in his field. Thank you for illuminating the ways in which he expresses his political message through his films. It's also interesting to look at how he is influencing animators and designers outside of his context. Just as many of our eminent creatives like Gandhi influenced mass movements of nonviolence, it seems that Miyazaki and the Studio Ghibli brand are also influencing non-Japanese and non-Asian filmmakers. I think it would be worthwhile to explore how contemporary animators find inspiration in Miyazaki's films.

  3. miyazaki is one of my favorite animators. he has really pushed the boundaries of animation and of what is considered anime. I find it amazing that he incorporates his backstory of the war and his love for flying and airplanes into his works. I am a huge anime and manga fan, but a lot of people see shows like Naruto and One Piece as Japanese and interesting to watch, but not really "american". Anime is loved because it is seen as different. A lot of miyazaki films though are accepted in the US. the movie Ponyo and The Secret World of Arriety were played in movie theatres in the US much like a Disney film and they were accepted. His classics such as Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke are all names that most people have seen or at the very least heard and they are loved in every age range. his art style is amazing and so distinctly his now. I want to go watch Spirited Away now! I heard he came out of retirement to create one last movie that will be coming out soon!


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