Japanese Cinema: 4x Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki (born 1941) is the famous Japanese animator. I fell in love with his films when watching Spirited Away when it was running in Sweden. Among other rewards, it received an Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2002. I even have it on dvd!

Some year ago, I watched Kiki’s Delivery Service with my Japanese sensei. Yesterday I watched Princess Mononoke and today I’ve started watching Future Boy Conan, a children’s anime series from the 1970s, set in the future, after “the War” and “the Great Disaster”, when all continents sank into the sea. The future = year 2008 … Remember how exotic those 2000 something years were back then?

So here are my four Miyazakis:

  • 未来少年コナン (Mirai Shōnen Konan/Future Boy Conan, 1978)
  • 魔女の宅急便 (Majo no Takkyūbin/Kiki’s Delivery Service, 1989)
  • もののけ姫 (Mononoke-hime/Princess Mononoke, 1997)
  • 千と千尋の神隠し (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi/Spirited Away, 2001)

I already loved Spirited Away, with its wonderful bathhouse, whose guests of various shapes and sizes I always come to think of when I’m in a sauna.

Scene from Princess Mononoke (1997).

But Princess Mononoke actually topped Spirited Away. It’s a classic adventure, a saga of good and evil, the temptation of Man to destroy Nature, the challenge to live in harmony with it. Add some love between a beautiful boy and a wolf girl – I was sold! The battle scenes reminded me a lot of those in Kurosawa’s Ran. The forest with all its animals and fantasy creations reminded me of the rich worlds in Haruki Murakami’s novels – you just want to stay there forever.

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