Click here for part 1 of this tribute to Hayao Miyazaki.
As promised in my blog from yesterday I will continue my overview of Hayao Miyazaki’s films here. This overview will mostly consist of movies that are probably pretty well-known among the general public, this because his fame outside of Japan grew after 1997.
I hope you have fun reading this addition to the overview from yesterday and that it showcases Miyazaki’s diversity well.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
The movie that gained Miyazaki his face in the west. Princess Mononoke is a movie with a hystorical theme in which Prince Ashitaka gets involved in the battle between the Spiritual protectors of the forest and the human inhabitants of Iron Town who are exhausting and destroying the resources and supplies of the forest for their own personal gain. He meets San, also known as Princess Mononoke who, raised by wolves, uses her hatred towards people to fight for the preservation of the forest and it’s spirits.
A very impressive movie that I have a high appreciation for because of the important theme that is of course nature. It isn’t my favorite movie but it is definitely one I’d recommend to watch at least once.
Whisper Of The Heart (1995)
A collaboration with Disney led to the release of this movie. Whisper of The Heart is a very beautiful movie of which the title clearly reflects the movie itself. Another move that is, in my opinion, very sweet and heartwarming. I have to say this is one of my favorites. What I really like about this movie is that there are several Ghibli characters worked into the movie, as background characters or decorations. For instance you can spot a Kiki sitting on her broom hanging around and other fun cameos.
The film was written by Miyazaki and follows the 14 year old Shizuki Tsukishima who loves to write and read books. By following a cat in the train she manages to find an antique store that inspires her and brings her joy. When she meets the grandson of the owner Seiji Amasawa she gets confused and doesn’t exactly know what she wants from her future anymore but through his perseverance and the connection the two share she eventually finds her way.
Spirited Away (2001)
Probably one of the most famous movies Miyazaki ever made that was also awarded with an Academy Award in 2003, which isn’t even the only award this movie received.
Spirited Away follows the little girl Chihiro as she moves to a strange town, which she isn’t very thrilled about. During their move she and her parents end up in a remarkable place which they can’t immediately leave. A yokai world where humans are unwanted. Chihiro meets Haku who helps her protect herself and find a way to return to her own world.
In my opinion one of Miyazaki’s best and most fun movies. I am a big fan of Yokai so this movie came as a big surprise to me. Personal development, friendship and trust are recognizable and important themes that help make this movie special.
The Cat Returns (2002)
The Cat Returns could be considered a spin-off of Whisper Of The Heart since it features The Baron, one of the main characters of Whisper Of The Heart. In this movie you follow Haru, a girl who has the ability to talk with cats. One day she saves the life of a cat that is carrying a gift and the next day she realizes her ability has kicked in. The cats kidnap her to their world and with the help of the Baron she manages to escape before being forced to marry the cat prince.
This movie was produced by Miyazaki. I think it’s a very nice and funny movie. Worthy of being named in this list.
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
To me this is the best one in this list, my absolute favorite which I’ve watched probably an uncountable amount of times. A movie full of action adventure and some danger. It’s an exciting movie with stunningly beautiful animations and a timeless theme, unconditional love and trust without it becoming too mushy in my opinion.
Howl is a wizard living in different parts of the world. Through his moving castle he works as a wizard known by many different names while there’s a war going on in a different part of the world as well. Sophie is a hat maker who meets him by coincidence after she ends up in an awful predicament. Their meeting is only the start of a magical adventure since Sophie had the bad luck of running into a witch who doesn’t appreciate that Howl met her and puts a curse on Sophie.
A very cute movie about a goldfish named Brunhilde who becomes friends with a human boy named Sosuke. She wants to see more of the world and rides on the back of a jellyfish to a cliff to achieve this, here she meets Sosuke who names her Ponyo. Ponyo is so happy that she wishes to become a human girl just so she can stay with Sosuke. Her father, who has bad memories of the human world, isn’t very thrilled about this.
As I mentioned I thought it was a very fun and cute movie, the father serves as “bad guy” in this story although that’s not the right name for it. Again, a very sweet movie.
The next movie will be Miyazaki’s last work as a filmmaker at Studio Ghibli. It’s one I haven’t seen yet, so I won’t be giving my opinion on this one.
The Wind Rises/Kaze Tachinu (2013)
This movie is based on Hayao Miyazaki’s own manga which was released in 2009. The story centers around the life of Jiro Horikoshi, who dreams of flying an airplane that looks like a bird. It’s a fictional biography of Jiro Horikoshi, a man who has built warplanes during World War Two. The film is referred to as an animated historic fantasy story.
The movie premiered in Japan on the 20th of July in 2013. I think it’s a nice initiative that Miyazaki rounds of this aspect of his career with a film based on his own manga.
With the last movie which is also his last work I happily conclude this article. I thought it was very fun to have a little peek into his world in this way and I hope everyone enjoyed reading about it. Despite the fact that it’s very unfortunate that Miyazaki is going to quit making movies I still have a lot of respect for him, his work and everything he has achieved. I will keep enjoying the amazing movies that he has given us.
At the very least I thought it was very fun to take a look into his world and to tell all of you about this.