Hayao Miyazaki – Movies That Win Our Hearts with Fun, Frolic, and Intense Humane Appeal
Animators have always played a critical role in popularizing animated movies that hold high appeal for all ages. Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki is a living legend who directed several masterpieces that are rare gems in animated movies. In the post-Walt Disney era, Miyazaki is a towering or arguably the tallest figure in the history of animated films. Since his debut on the big screen in 1979 with the movie The Castle of Cagliostro, each movie he made bears his signature style of artistry and filmmaking. His films have been super hits in Japan, broke box office records, and topped the charts frequently besides winning awards and accolades.
Some of the Hayao Miyazaki movies, aka masterpieces, include My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Ponyo, and many others. Today, Miyazaki is no stranger to Hollywood, courtesy of the Oscar award he won in 2003. But it took him long many years to gain Hollywood’s top recognition and draw the world’s attention. However, around the new millennium, Hayao Miyazaki movies started gaining acclaim from animators in the US that gradually turned him into a cult figure of animated films.
Hayao Miyazaki sets out on a new journey
Hayao Miyazaki’s arrival in Hollywood, or rather the arrival of his extraordinary animated films, helped him gain world recognition. He was already a genius in Japan for many years until the end of the twentieth century, and now the world is his stage. The new millennium has been a turning point in Miyazaki’s career when in 1999; he garnered international acclaim for the film Princess Mononoke after its release in the US. The film talked about ecological awareness and won the hearts of the Western world. The animated movie Spirited Away which had a surreal and spooky storyline won an Oscar in animated films in 2003. That the film won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film festival in the earlier year paved the way for its Hollywood triumph.
What’s behind the appeal of Miyazaki’s movies?
Miyazaki’s movies are beautiful works of art, whether they gathered fame or remained obscure. Likes and dislikes are too personal, and films seldom have universal appeal. But no one can deny that Miyazaki’s animated creations have a magical attraction that the audience cannot ignore. The level of perfection of his films is amazing. But it is hard to identify the exact reasons that help to attain such unique perfection. Humanism flows as an undercurrent through all his films as he tries to explore the nuances of human lives and human nature, yet these are never blatant about it. Hayao Miyazaki characters include humans, animals, and nature caught in a world of magic and spirits that have all the elements of fiction.
Identifying some traits
Understanding some traits of Miyazaki’s animated films will help to understand the reason for its appeal.
Relatable and humane themes –
Miyazaki’s films are stories of fiction, but the themes have a very close relation to human lives. The films have a fictional storyline, but the audience can correlate it with many real-life incidents when they try to read between the lines of the narrative. The filmmaker tries to capture the real-life experiences and struggles that appeal to all ages. For example, Howl, the protagonist of the movie Howl’s Moving Castle, ends his life while trying to save others which underlines selflessness and sacrifice for the greater good.
Travel to an imaginary world –
The imaginary world depicted in Miyazaki’s films is another reason for its high attraction as it allows us to escape from reality. The highly artistic animations are a treat for the eyes, and the time spent in an imaginary world relieves us of the stresses we have to endure in our daily lives. He takes us to a surreal world where everyone can breathe easily and rejuvenate in the fun and frolic that keeps the audience captivated.
Superb animation –
The top-class animation of the movies is its asset that seems awesome most of the time. After all, Miyazaki is first an artist and then an animator.
Hayao Miyazaki is a manga artist who later moved into filmmaking which helped him to create cinematic magic with an artist’s mind.