Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hayao Miyazaki - Part One

Sorry for the lack of posts! I've been having some troubles lately, but nothing too serious. I'd really like to keep this a place of positivity so I won't go into detail, but I've found something to be cheered up about! Not fashion or vintage related, but I hope you enjoy it :D! (And don't worry, I'm cooking up some of those posts, too!)

I have loved Hayao Miyazaki (Born January 5, 1941) films ever since I first saw My Neighbor Totoro as a little girl. First of all, if you don't know who he is, he is a Japanese filmmaker/writer/director/artist who has been called the "Walt Disney of Japan." (Though supposedly he hates being called that.) In fact on his last few films he now works with Disney Studios. Surprisingly, he graduated college with a degree in political science and economics, not art or film. In 1985, he founded Studio Ghibli, which is now quite famous.

Here are some of his most well-known films, in order of release date, and some brief thoughts on them:

1984: Kaze no Tani no Naushika (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind).

Famous voices (in the dubbed version): Uma Thurman, Alison Lohman, Patrick Stewart, Shia LaBeouf.

Thoughts: I don't enjoy war/conflict themed stories as much as other people might, so I'm a little biased I guess. This is the first time I saw his flying/aircraft and creature work. I was also impressed with the female lead, which I came to realize is very common in his films. It deals with technology and also portrays an obvious concern with human impact on the environment.

1986: Tenku no Shiro Rapyuta (Laputa: Castle in the Sky).

Famous voices (in the dubbed version): James Van Der Beek, Anna Paquin, Andy Dick, Mark Hamill.

Thoughts: This one was very sweet. It's sort of that classic "treasure hunt" plot, where they go in search of a mythical land. I loved that this one took place in the sky, with all the floating/flying/etc. LOTS of aircrafts in this one, but much less military-esque and dark than Nausicaa. Definitely one his most most adventure-themed movies.

1988: Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro).

Famous voices (in the dubbed version): Dakota Fanning.

Thoughts: This is probably my second favorite. It was actually dubbed twice, the most recent one featuring Dakota Fanning. I actually HATED this new one, so I highly suggest seeing the original dubbed version! This is just a story about the magic of being a child, and the bond between sisters and between fathers and daughters. It's a very sweet, innocent story. Plus it has a very catchy theme song O_O.

1989: Majo no Takkyubin (Kiki's Delivery Service).

Famous Voices: Kirsten Dunst, Matthew Lawrence.

Thoughts: I really identified with this one, as I think a lot of young girls did. It was probably most easy to relate to of all his films. It's about a young witch growing up, trying to find her place in life. I also think this is as a close to a romance as Miyazaki gets in any of his films (probably because these characters seem the oldest he's dealt with). I also really liked her cat companion. I guess growing up in America, you can't help growing up with a love of talking animals haha.

Sources: Youtube, Wikipedia, International Movie Database.


  1. Oh, I adored this post. So wonderful!

    I've been a fan of Miyazaki's films for a few years now ever since I saw Kiki's Delivery Service as a young tween. It's probably my favorite just because I've got some sentimental value attached to it. It's such an adorable movie and I quite loved Kirsten Dunst as Kiki! Also, Phil Hartman as Jiji the cat is classic! Aah, I just miss Phil Hartman in general.

    I haven't seen Nausicaa or My Neighbor Totoro yet (I know, I have to see this!) but Castle in the Sky was pretty good as well. I loved all of the whimsicality employed in Miyazaki's films.

    The last one I saw was Spirited Away...I have yet to see Howl's Moving Castle. Have you seen Ponyo yet?? My brother saw it the other day and he said it was fantastic.

    Anyways, great post!! As you can judge by my long comment, I really enjoyed it. I anxiously await Part Two!

  2. Wow! I learned quite a bit, thanks for sharing that! I can't believe that his area of study wasn't connected to the arts.

  3. This is the first time I've seen the face behind all these cool films. What a distinguished looking dude! And I love learning about people who do totally different things from what they studied, or who have such diverse interests and skills.

  4. I hope everything is alright. Thanks for the kind words on my blog (as always:) I'm glad you like the night shots. I'm still trying to get it down, but they're getting better.