"In order to grow your audience, you must betray their expectations."
— Hayao Miyazaki
And that's why he won the Oscar.Hayao Miyazaki
, is both the co-founder of Studio Ghibli
and the single most successful and renowned animator in Japan since Osamu Tezuka
(which also makes him the most famous Japanese animator worldwide).
Miyazaki's father and uncle owned a large airplane factory, and as a child, Miyazaki mostly drew airplanes when he first learned how to draw; the influences of growing up around flying machines have resonated throughout his work since.
He began his career in the early-'60s at Toei, but came to prominence writing and directing anime for television in the '70s, including several episodes of the Lupin III (Green Jacket)
TV series. This led to his first feature film work as director of an action-adventure caper flick starring the Lupin
characters: The Castle of Cagliostro
(which, despite its liberties with the characters, has become an acknowledged classic for both the Lupin
franchise and Miyazaki). In addition to his early writing and directing work, he also lent his artistic talents to numerous anime series during this time by providing (among other things) storyboards, scene design, organisation, and occasional key animation for the early entries into the World Masterpiece Theater
In 1984, Miyazaki and producer Isao Takahata
scraped together a staff and enough financial support to make a feature film: Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind
, based on a Miyazaki-penned manga. The film's success allowed Miyazaki and Takahata to set up their own studio — Ghibli
— which became their base of operations from then onwards.
One indicator of the stature and craftmanship of Miyazaki comes from who licenses his films in the United States: Disney paid exorbitant amounts of money to become the exclusive distributor of his works in English on his terms
suffered both a Macekre
(Warriors of the Wind
) and video game derivatives
that completely missed the point
of the film; when he heard that Miramax would alter Princess Mononoke
for American audiences, he allegedly sent the American-language version's producers a katana with a two-word note attached: "No cuts".
Miyazaki has gained notoriety for vocalizing his beliefs regardless of whom he might offend, which makes him a unique case of an executive who goes by his word. He didn't accept his 2003 Academy Award in person because America had gone to war with Iraq and he had refused to travel to the US. He also considers himself a feminist, which should make it no big surprise that nearly all of his films feature female main characters. He doesn't keep in touch in high-tech gadgets and consumer products; only his most popular titles have CG elements in them, and he later shut down Ghibli's entire CG department.
He has also openly criticized high-tech materialistic societies (he once compared the iPad to "masturbation"
) and has criticized the anime industry for being overrun by Otaku, who "don't spend time watching real people" and are "humans who can't stand looking at other humans."
Miyazaki currently stands alone as the only anime director recognized by Hollywood's highest honor, the Academy Award. His 2001 film Spirited Away
won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film in 2003, improbably defeating both Ice Age
and Disney's own Lilo & Stitch
. The film's unprecedented — and unexpected — Oscar win caused Disney to widen the film's theatrical release for a few weeks prior to the film's DVD release; both film critics and fans of animation (Japanese or otherwise) heaped praise upon the film. (Miyazaki received a nomination for the same award in 2006 with Howl's Moving Castle
and in 2013 for The Wind Rises
He enjoys Green Aesops
and Scenery Porn
. He has an unexplained love for pigs. Animation fans consider him responsible for a fair amount of Nightmare Fuel
. His films (save for Mononoke
and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea
) all have flying scenes in them, further showing his affinity for airplanes.
He dislikes the simplicity of Black and White Morality
(i.e. "good vs. evil"); he eschews this approach by placing both sides in the grey.
He has his own fan-made religion.He has reportedly retired from making feature films
after the release of The Wind Rises
. He has plans for a future manga title, however, and he's retired
from filmmaking at least twice before....
- Hustle Punch, Toei Animation, 1965, key animation
- The King Kong Show, Toei/Rankin/Bass, 1966, key animation
- Sally the Witch (60's version), Toei, 1966, key animation
- The Mouse On The Mayflower, Toei/Rankin Bass, 1968, key animation
- The Smokey Bear Show, Toei/Rankin Bass, 1969, key animation, Miyazaki's last production at Toei
- Lupin III (Green Jacket), Monkey Punch/TMS stationed at A-Productions, 1971, co-directed (with Isao Takahata) episode eight onwards
- Panda Go Panda, TMS, 1972, Screenplay and key animation
- Jungle Kurobe, TMS, 1973, original concept
- Vicky The Viking, Zuiyo Eizo (now known as Nippon Animation), 1974, key animation
- World Masterpiece Theater (pre-1977), Zuiyo Eizo/Nippon Animation, key animation
- Lupin III (Red Jacket), Monkey Punch/TMS, 1977 (episodes did not show up until 1980) stationed at Telecom Animation Film, the two episodes he directed were compiled as Lupin III Tales Of The Wolf and localized to America
- Future Boy Conan, Nippon Animation, 1978, writer and director
- Ulysses31 (pilot), TMS/DiC Entertainment stationed at Telecom, 1980, key animation
- Tetsujin 28, TMS, 1980, key animation
- The New Adventures of Zorro, TMS/Filmation stationed at Telecom, 1981, episode animation director
- Inspector Gadget (pilot), TMS/Dic stationed at Telecom, made in 1982 but did not aired until 1983, key animation
- The Littles, TMS/Dic stationed at Telecom, 1983, chief Telecom director during season 1 (Nobuo Tomizawa was the chief Telecom director during season 2) and episode animation director
- Sherlock Hound, TMS/RAI, 1982 (aired in 1984), director, 5 episodes (people tend to say 6 episodes, however, one of said episodes ["The Sovereign Gold Coins"] is really directed by Nobuo Tomizawa)
- Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, 1979 (his last effort on the Lupin franchise and his first feature film)
- Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind, 1984
- Laputa: Castle In The Sky, 1986
- My Neighbor Totoro, 1988
- Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland 1989 (he worked on the pre-production of the film, but considered it one of the worst experiences he ever had in his professional career)
- Kikis Delivery Service, 1989
- Porco Rosso, 1992
- Whisper of the Heart, 1995 (scriptwriter only)
- Princess Mononoke, 1997
- Spirited Away, 2001
- Howl's Moving Castle, 2004
- Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (aka Ponyo), 2008
- The Borrower Arrietty, 2010 (scriptwriter only)
- From Up on Poppy Hill, 2011 (scriptwriter only)
- The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu), 2013
Tropes within his works:
- Adaptation Inspiration: Many of his works are adaptations, but he molds into his signature style.
- Author Appeal: Planes, pigs, Italy and strong female characters.
- Cool Plane: Most of his films also feature at least one fantastic flying machine. Many of his films feature flight as a prominent theme.
- Creator Thumbprint: He has a distinctive style that is made up of many of the tropes listed here.
- His films have at least one scene depicting characters at great heights or at the edge of a precipitous drop.
- He often likes to include pigs.
- Expressive Hair: His characters get so angry/horrified/surprised that their hair levitates.
- Grey and Gray Morality: He's very big on making people empathic to both sides of an issue, expressed best with the following quote.
Miyazaki: The concept of portraying evil and then destroying it - I know this is considered mainstream, but I think it is rotten. This idea that whenever something evil happens someone particular can be blamed and punished for it, in life and in politics, is hopeless.
- Plucky Girl: Because of his strong feminist views, many of his female leads will have strong personalities.
- War Is Hell: A common theme in many of his works.