Hayao Miyazaki

Prolific Japanese film director, animator, manga artist, illustrator, producer and screenwriter Hayao Miyazaki was born January 5, 1941 in Bunkyo Tokyo. Through a career that has spanned six decades, Miyazaki has attained international acclaim as a maker of anime feature films and, along with Isao Takahata, co-founded Studio Ghibli, a film and animation studio. The success of Miyazaki’s films has invited comparisons with American animator Walt Disney, British animator Nick Park, and American director Steven Spielberg.

Mayazaki Began his animation career in 1963, when he joined Toei Animation. From there, Miyazaki worked as an in-between artist for Gulliver’s Travels Beyond the Moon where he pitched his own ideas that eventually became the movie’s ending. He continued to work in various roles in the animation industry over the decade until he was able to direct his first feature film Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro which was released in 1979. After the success of his next film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, he co-founded Studio Ghibli where he continued to produce many feature films. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind takes place Far in the future, after an apocalyptic conflict has devastated much of the world’s ecosystem, the few surviving humans live in scattered semi-hospitable environments within what has become a “toxic jungle.” Young Nausicaä lives in the arid Valley of the Wind and can communicate with the massive insects that populate the dangerous jungle. Under the guidance of the pensive veteran warrior, Lord Yupa, Nausicaä works to bring peace back to the ravaged planet.

While Miyazaki’s films enjoyed both commercial and critical success in Japan, he remained largely unknown to the West until Miramax Films released Princess Mononoke. This takes place In the 14th century, the harmony that humans, animals and gods have enjoyed begins to crumble. The protagonist, is a young man named Ashitaka who is infected by an animal attack,and seeks a cure from the deer-like god Shishigami. In his travels, he sees humans led by Lady Yiboshi causing polution, chpping down the forests and generally ravaging the earth, bringing down the wrath of wolf god Moro and his human companion Princess Mononoke. So Ashitaka attempts to broker peace between her and the humans brings however this only brings more conflict.

Princess Mononoke was the highest-grossing film in Japan—until it was eclipsed by another 1997 film, Titanic—and the first animated film to win Picture of the Year at the Japanese Academy Awards. Miyazaki returned to animation with Spirited Away. This concerns a young girl whos parents discover an abandoned theme park and she has to rescue them when they are changed into pigs by a witch named Yubaba and ends up working at a bath house for the spirits.

Spirited Away topped Titanic’s sales at the Japanese box office, also won Picture of the Year at the Japanese Academy Awards and was the first anime film to win an American Academy Award. He next co-wrote the films Arrietty and From Up on Poppy Hill. Miyazaki’s next film The Wind Rises was released in 2013 and concerns a Aeroplane designer during World War II. Miyazaki then released “When Marnie Was there” a heart warming tale which concerns a troubled young girl who moves to a new area where she discovers an abandoned house and become friends with another troubled young girl and they gradually find their lives becoming intertwined. Miyazaki’s next film was the Tale of Princess Kaguya. This concerns an otherworldly girl who is found in the bamboo forest by a woodcutter, who decides that she deserves better than a lowly Woodcutters upbringing, and decides to make her a princess with interesting results.

Miyazaki’s films often contain recurrent themes like humanity’s relationship with nature and technology,(Such as Princess Mononoke) and the difficulty of maintaining a pacifist ethic. The protagonists of his films are often strong, independent girls or young women. While two of his films, The Castle of Cagliostro and Laputa: Castle in the Sky, involve traditional villains, his other films like Nausicaä and Princess Mononoke present morally ambiguous antagonists with redeeming qualities. In addition to his acclaimed film work, Miyazaki has also created manga that has reached world wide audiences. Among Miyazaki’s best films are Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Castle of Cagliostro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Laputa:Castle in the Sky, Howl’s moving Castle, Kiki’s delivery Service, Porko Rosso, My Neighbour Totoro, Ponyo, Arrietty, Up on Poppy Hill, When Marnie Was there and the Wind Rises.

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