My first introduction to a Hayao Miyazaki film was with Li Yang (who I will forever be grateful to for introducing me to his magical works.) It was during the New Zealand International Film Festival held at The Civic and the film was called ‘Howls Moving Castle’. It was my first time there and it was the perfect setting to popping my Hayao Miyazaki cherry.
The lights dimmed, stars revolved above us…
From the start right to the credits I was in awe. I had cried, laughed, and felt so very sad when the move ended. I wanted it to never end. It was addictive and thus became the start of my love for all of Hayao Miyazaki’s works.
From then on I bought every movie I could get my hands on that was produced by Mr Miyazaki. I have watched Howl’s Moving Castle a dozen times or so and every other movie of his at least half a dozen times. I’m obsessed.
I have often wondered why I am so obsessed with his works and I have come to the conclusion that it is largely because it is very pro women. His protagonist are usually strong women, intelligent, insightful, fighters, who do not sacrifice their femininity to be dominant. Most of the stories have a link to our disregard for the environment and the other living beings we share this earth with.
Along with the deep messages of the films regarding our links to the world around us and feminism. There is the undeniable magic that every one of his movie seems to have. The ability to pull the viewers in and immerse themselves in the character and story.
My top 5 movies from Hayao Miyazaki (in no particular order):
1. Spirited Away
2. From Up on Poppy Hill
5. Howl’s Moving Castle
There are another two movies that I love that were not written by Hayao but made by Studio Ghibli which are ‘When Marnie Was There’ and ‘The Tale of Princess Kaguya’.
It really broke my heart when he decided to retire. It also triggered another movie marathon which made me even more depressed as I hate it when a movie ends. I just want it to go on and on and on and forever more.
But I did read somewhere that he is semi out of retirement to work on something new and I can’t wait.
Are you a fan of any of his works? What are your favourites? Share with me in the comments section.