The Unparalleled Miyazaki

I was first introduced to director Hayao Miyazaki's work in 2003 when my husband Lance suggested I watch Princess Monokoe. I have to say, I did not immediately fall in love. There was an eerie feeling to the film that unsettled me. And, I suppose, the film is supposed to be a bit unsettling.

However, over the last six years I have come to respect Miyazaki's films as some of the most original, creative, and endearing work out there, especially in the realm of animated film. His ecological and family-centric stories push viewers to think about how we are treating the world and each other. And most of the stories have a strong female lead, which is certainly a plus -- there is not enough of that yet in American animation.

Some of the stories require multiple viewings, especially Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. I get lost in the amazing imagery and quirky characters the first time around. But on the second viewing, I always pick up a message I was meant to hear, usually one that has deep meaning for me at the time. And because there are multiple levels to his films, I learn a new message each time I watch the films.

I just watched My Neighbor Totoro, which prompted me to write this post. It is about two girls who discover a magical forest spirit Totoro in the woods behind their new home. I kept saying, "I want Totoro to live behind our house!" And, I suppose, in some way, he does.

I can't recommend these films highly enough. I suggest you start with Howl's Moving Castle or Spirited Away and move on from there. Each film is a gem.


SewSarah said...

Absolutely in love with Miyaki's work. Did you know that over 200 artists exhibited work inspired by Totoro, to raise money for the Totoro Forest Foundation. It is so worth it to check out these artists in the gallery:

Katrina said...

I knew about the Totoro Forest Foundation, but I didn't know about the art. Thanks Sarah!