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Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿, Miyazaki Hayao, born January 5, 1941 in Tokyo, Japan) is a famous director of many popular anime films. He also co-founded Studio Ghibli, along with Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki. He was almost unknown in the West until the release of Princess Mononoke in 1997. His later film, Spirited Away, went on to be the first anime to ever win an Academy Award. Howl's Moving Castle was nominated for an Academy Award but did not win.

Miyazaki's films usually have common themes among them, including the typical struggle between good and evil, environmentalism, and politics. The protagonists are usually strong, independent girls or young women and the villains are typically uncertain in nature with redeeming qualities.

He was announced to retire right after his last feature film, The Wind Rises, but will continue to work on short films.

Animation Style/Themes

Good & Evil

Most of Miyazaki's films feature some sort of struggle between good and evil. For example, in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Nausicaa is struggling to save the Valley of the Wind after it is invaded by the Tolmekians. Also, in Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Pazu must save Sheeta after she is captured by Muska.

Environment

Several of Miyazaki's film go into man's concern for nature. Such as, in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Nausicaa spend a portion of the movie doing research to find a cure for the toxin plaguing their lands. And in Princess Mononoke, San, being raised by wolfs, is very angry at man for destroying their forests.

Anti-War

Anti-War is a big theme in both Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and in Princess Mononoke. In both movies, the main characters are trying to stop all of the wars. Nausicaa wants to stop the animals from fighting, as well as the main battle against the Pejitans and the Ohmu.

Flight

Flight is a recurring theme in many of Miyazaki's films, in one form or another. In Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Nausicaa uses a glider to get to places. And there are many airships in the movie, as well. There are also airships in Castle in the Sky and Porco Rosso, as well. And Porco Rosso is an air delivery pilot. In Kiki's Delivery Service, Kiki regularly flies around on a broom and there is a blimp, as well as a homemade plane in the movie, too. In Spirited Away, Haku can turn into a dragon to fly around. In My Neighbor Totoro, Totoro flies around on a spinning top. And then, in Howl's Moving Castle, Howl can turn in a bird and fly around. Howl's Castle turns into a flying castle.

Visual Devices

The use of visual devices is common in all of Miyazaki's film. He will pan away from the action for a few seconds to add a momentary lull to the movie. For instance, showing raindrops hitting a rock and darkening it has been used in several of his movies.

Politics

Miyazaki's early interest in Marxism is apparent in a few of his films, such as Porco Rosso. In Castle in the Sky, the working class is portrayed in idealized terms.

Influences

Miyazaki's main influence comes from French animator Paul Grimault. Also influencing him a lot is the Russian film, The Snow Queen. Other contemporary animation directors that influence him are Yuri Nordstein from Russia and Frederick Bach from Canada.

Filmography

Director

Producer

Writer

Art Department

Animation Department

Editor

Soundtrack

  • Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (2008 film) (Writer: Ponyo on the Cliff)

Miscellaneous Crew

Actor

Self

  • The Art of "Spirited Away" (2003 video)
  • Princess Mononoke: Making of a Masterpiece (2004 video)

Personal Life

He is married to Akemi Miyazaki.