This past summer, a wonderful friend of mine, Carol Zaloom, an fellow artist, wiser and kinder to those lucky to know her, piqued my interest in watching Japanese anime, specifically watching the works of Hayao Miyazaki. For those who don’t know, Miyazaki is the transformative mastermind behind the works of Studio Ghibli. I had not done so up until that point, mostly financial reasons or looking for streams of his works, which made that hope a pipedream at best.
Enter my local library.
It seems so obvious now, but it was not on my mind at that time, but as I thought about it, my local Library was the best choice to go to rent Ghibli movies. Within two months or so, I’ve seen Ponyo, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and I’m working on seeing Totoro this weekend. Watching Miyazaki’s works are unlike anything I had ever seen before, there’s a lot of messages between the works, balance between nature and humanity, the environment, conflict, war among so many other things. It’s no wonder why he has left an indelible mark on our world, as a storyteller and an artist.
Another thing to keep in mind that the fact that Studio Ghibli does this all without editing things, or cutting scenes out of the movies, even in Princess Mononoke, some of the scenes that would be cut from seeing them on TV weren’t because of one of the major themes was about war, it shows war and conflict in all of its ugliness, a far cry from watching anything from the cursed empire known as 4Kids, long since decried for cutting and editing to the point where the message is lost because of this decision.
Another thing that Miyazaki is well known for are the strong characters he crates in all of his masterpieces, most notably the fact that the major characters are young girls and women. One key heroine is Chihiro from Spirited Away, the change she undergoes from the beginning to the end is remarkable and inspiring. No spoilers, of course, but it’s worth watching, savoring it like a fine wine.
If I could recommend any artistic mind to study as it comes to masterful storytelling, Miyazaki would be at the top of the list. He makes masterpieces of all of his stories, his characters strong, the stories themselves are compelling. He shows us how to excel at what you’re passionate about and he can inspire us to make our dreams come true and help us all…