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Hayao Miyazaki: Get To Know The Acclaimed Studio Ghibli’s Director

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Howl’s Moving Castle. Hayao Miyazaki’s legacy is undeniably respected for it’s excellency. After a retirement “threat”, the famous Studio Ghibli director announced The Boy and the Heron, as his last movie before (real) retirement. 

Even though he alleged that, Toshio Suzuki, Studio Ghibli’s producer, has already confirmed to the French newspaper Libération that Miyazaki plans to get his hands dirty again: “He spends all his days thinking about this new project, and I just can’t stop him, I gave up. I don’t even try to discourage him, even if it turns out to be a bad movie […] While he works I won’t retire. He’s 82 years old, and I guess will continue until he’s 90, so I’ll accompany him until the end of the ride”.

Who is Hayao Miyazaki? 

It is safe to say that Miyazaki is one of the greatest names in animation history. The co-founder of Studio Ghibli was born on January 5th, 1941, in Tokyo, Japan. Son of Dola Miyazaki and Katsuji Miyazaki, he entered the animation world in 1963, when Toei Animation hired him, where he stayed until 1971. After that, Hayao started working for a brief time at A Production, which he left in 1973.

From then until 1985, he worked at Zuiyō Eizō, Nippon Animation, Tokyo Movie Shinsha and Topcraft. Finally, in the year mentioned, he created Studio Ghibli along with Toshio Suzuki, Isao Takahata, and Yasuyoshi Tokuma. Since then, only six of Studio Ghibli’s productions don’t count with his name on the credits!

The productions gained a lot of awards, like Mononoke Hime, or Princess Mononoke, which became the first animation movie to win “Movie of the Year” at the Japanese Academy Awards, and Spirited Away, Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, received the Oscar’s “Best Animation Movie”.

5 Top-rated Miyazaki’s movies

Check out Hayao Miyazaki‘s best-rated movies on Rotten Tomatoes:

The Boy and the Heron (2023)

The to-be-released movie already scored 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.

“A young boy named Mahito yearning for his mother ventures into a world shared by the living and the dead. There, death comes to an end, and life finds a new beginning. A semi-autobiographical fantasy about life, death, and creation, in tribute to friendship, from the mind of Hayao Miyazaki”

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

Kiki and her cat, Jiji, also scored 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.

“In this anime feature, 13-year-old Kiki moves to a seaside town with her talking cat, Jiji, to spend a year alone, in accordance with her village’s tradition for witches in training. After learning to control her broomstick, Kiki sets up a flying courier service and soon becomes a fixture in the community. But when the insecure young witch begins questioning herself and loses her magic abilities, she must overcome her self-doubt to get her powers back”

Spirited Away (2001)

The 2003 Oscar’s winning movie scored 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.

“10-year-old Chihiro (Daveigh Chase) moves with her parents to a new home in the Japanese countryside. After taking a wrong turn down a wooded path, Chihiro and her parents discover an amusement park with a stall containing an assortment of food. To her surprise, Chihiro’s parents begin eating and then transform into pigs. In this supernatural realm, Chihiro encounters a host of characters and endures labor in a bathhouse for spirits, awaiting a reunion with her parents”

The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

One of the first movies of Studio Ghibli, released in 1979, has an evaluation of 95%.

“In this animated feature, Arsene Lupin III, the world’s most daring thief, pulls off a heist at a Monte Carlo casino. But, when he discovers his haul is nothing more than a pile of counterfeit bills, Lupin traces the money to a villainous count in the small country of Cagliostro. With his trusty comrades, Lupin travels to Cagliostro, where he meets a beautiful but unhappy princess. As Lupin tries to unravel the count’s secrets, he find himself drawn into a bigger mystery”

Only Yesterday (1991)

The movie inspired by the 1982 manga scores 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

“A put-upon 27-year-old Japanese office worker travels to the countryside and reminisces about her childhood in Tokyo and what life could have been”

🎥 Related: The Renascence of Cantonese Cinema: an analysis on the Hong Kong New Wave and its impact on cinema

The article above was edited by Juliana Sanches.

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