Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿 (http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%AE%AE%E5%B4%8E%E9%A7%BF) Miyazaki Hayao) (born January 5, 1941) is one of the most famous and respected creators of Anime, or Japanese animated films.
Miyazaki was born in Tokyo in 1941. He is the creator of many popular anime feature films, as well as some manga (Japanese comics). Although largely unknown in the west outside of animation circles until his 2002 Animated Feature Oscar for Spirited Away, his films are almost without exception huge box-office and critical successes in Japan. Many of them explore the theme of humanity's relationship to nature.
Miyazaki first gained notice in the field of Anime while working as an inbetween artist on the Toei Co. Ltd. production of Gariba no uchu ryoko (1965) (US title -- Gulliver's Travels Beyond the Moon). He felt that the original ending in the script was lacking and pitched his own idea -- which became the ending that was actually used in the final film.
His first film as a director was The Castle of Cagliostro, a light adventure film based on Lupin III, the second TV series of which he had directed earlier.
Nausicań flying her Mehve
over the Valley of Wind
His next film, Nausicań of the Valley of Wind (1984) (Kaze no Tani no Nausicaa), features many distinctive themes which were repeated in later films: a concern with ecological issues, a fascination with aircraft and the absence of a traditional villain. He adapted it from the manga of the same name, which he had created two years prior. He later co-founded, with Isao Takahata, the animation film company Studio Ghibli, and has produced most (if not all) of his subsequent work through it.
Scene from My Neighbor Totoro
His next three films at Ghibli were more traditional animated fare. Laputa:Castle in the Sky (1986) recounts the adventure of two orphans seeking a magical, floating island. My Neighbor Totoro (1988) (Tonari no Totoro) tells of the adventure of two girls and a magical creature called a "totoro". Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) is the story of a teenage witch who strikes out on her own in a big city.
With Porco Rosso, Miyazaki created more unusual settings and characters for an animated film. The film is a light-hearted adventure set in a fictional world based on 1920s Italy where bounty hunters, aviators and air pirates battle in the skies. Its hero is an anti-fascist aviator whose head has turned into that of a pig.
Miyazaki's next film Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime) released in 1997 returns to the ecological and political themes of Nausicań. The main plot is an epic struggle between the animal gods who rule the forest and the humans who are trying to exploit it for industry. The film was a huge commercial success in Japan where it became the highest grossing film of all time, until the later success of Titanic. It later won Best Picture at the Japanese Academy Awards. Miyazaki retired after making Mononoke Hime, intending it to be his last film as a director.
Scene from Spirited Away
He came out of retirement after meeting the daughter of a friend who became the inspiration for Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi), a story of a girl who is forced to survive in a fantasy world centred on a bathhouse for gods after her parents are turned into pigs. The film, released in Japan in July 2001, broke the attendance and box office records previously set by Titanic with ą30.4 billion in total gross earnings from over 23 million viewings. It has received numerous film awards, including Best Picture at the 2001 Japanese Academy Awards, Golden Bear (First Prize) at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival, and the 2002 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, the first Oscar awarded to any anime production.
Press Image of first poster for Howl's Moving Castle
In July 2004, Miyazaki finished production on Howl's Moving Castle, an anime film adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones' fantasy book for which he was forced to come out of retirement again following the sudden departure of original director Mamoru Hosoda. The film premiered at the 2004 Venice International Film Festival and won the Golden Osella award for animation technology. On November 20, 2004 Howl's Moving Castle opened to general audiences in Japan and earned ą1.4 billion in its first two days, continuing the record-setting trend of Miyazaki films at the box office. On opening day, Howl's' producer, Toshio Suzuki, announced that Pixar's Peter Doctor (director of Monsters, Inc.) would be heading the production of the English version.
One of the most distinctive trait of Miyazaki's later films that sets them apart from classic Western animation (like Disney) is the lack of very bad or very good characters. The characters are human beings and while some can be better or worse than others, they are never perfectly good nor perfectly evil. Even so-called "bad" characters (Yubaaba in Spirited Away and Lady Eboshi in Princess Mononoke), who would be considered undeniably evil in Western animation can have a good side. For example, Lady Eboshi's ironworks, while blatantly exploiting the nearby forests for wood, provide a living for lepers and former prostitutes. In contrast, some of Miyazaki's early films featured undeniably evil villains (Count Cagliostro in Castle of Cagliostro or Muska in Laputa) while others are remarkable for having no villain at all (Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro).
Another trait of his films are the character designs that, at the most basic level, are quite similar. This is often humorously considered an artistic perception that such characters are actors and actresses, reappearing in different films of his.
Miyazaki's work in TV series is less well known than his films. In the 1970s he worked as an animator on the World Masterpiece Theater TV animation series under Isao Takahata. His first directorial credit is for the TV version of Lupin III in 1971 (co-director with Isao Takahata). Later he was to make his first feature film, Castle of Cagliostoro, based on the same character.
Perhaps his most important TV work was directing Future Boy Conan, an adaptation of the children's novel The Incredible Tide by Alexander Key. The main antagonist is the leader of the city-state of Industria who is attempting to revive some banned technology. The series also elaborates on the characters and events in the book but nonetheless is an early example of certain character types who would recur throughout Miyazaki's later work. The character types include a girl who is in touch with nature, a warrior woman who is not her antagonist, and a boy who seems destined for the girl. The series also featured lots of unusual aircraft.
Miyazaki has drawn several manga starting in 1969 with a manga titled Nagakutsu wo Haita Neko (Puss in Boots). His major work in this printed format is the manga version of the epic tale Nausicań, on which he worked from 1982 to 1994 and has sold more than 10 million copies in Japan. Other works include Sabaku no Tami (People of the Desert), Shuna no Tabi (The Journey of Shuna) and Hikoutei Jidai (The Age of the Flying Boat), which formed the basis of his animated film Porco Rosso.
- Future Boy Conan - (未来少年コナン Mirai Shōnen Conan), 1978 (TV series)
- The Castle of Cagliostro (Lupin III) - (ルパン三世カリオストロの城 Rupan sansei: Kariosutoro no shiro), 1979
- Nausicań of the Valley of Wind - (風の谷のナウシカ Kaze no tani no Naushika), 1984
- Laputa: The Castle in the Sky - (天空の城ラピュタ Tenkū no shiro Rapyuta), 1986
- My Neighbor Totoro - (となりのトトロ Tonari no Totoro), 1988
- Kiki's Delivery Service - (魔女の宅急便 Majo no takkyubin), 1989
- Porco Rosso - (紅の豚 Kurenai no buta), 1992
- On Your Mark, 1995
- Princess Mononoke - (もののけ姫 Mononoke Hime), 1997
- Spirited Away - (千と千尋の神隠し Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi), 2001
- Howl's Moving Castle - (ハウルの動く城 Hauru no Ugoku Shiro), 2004
- Helen McCarthy, Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation, Stone Bridge Press, 1999, ISBN 1-880656-41-8
- Miyazaki Information at Nausicaa.net (http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/miyazaki/)
- The Official Studio Ghibli Site (Japanese) (http://www.ntv.co.jp/ghibli/)
- Profile at Japan Zone (http://www.japan-zone.com/modern/miyazaki_hayao.shtml)
- Profile at IMDB (http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0594503/)