Magic, Nature, and War: 10 Animated Movies by Hayao Miyazaki

Appeared in Okko a collection of anime films directed by Hayao Miyazaki and his Studio Ghibli. Between them – “Walking castle”, “Away from the spirit”, “My neighbor Totoro”, “Ponyo Fish on the Cliff”, “The wind is getting stronger” and other masterpieces of the Japanese artist. For several decades, Miyazaki has inspired more than one generation with his work. We are talking about 10 bright and unusual works of the master.


My Neighbor Totoro, dir. Hayao Miyazaki

One of the first paintings of the teacher. The plot of the eco fantasy anime takes place in the post-apocalyptic world. The remnants of humanity are trying to exist on Earth, which has survived a natural disaster. Industry is being destroyed, precisely because of its harmful emissions the flood on the planet. Endless forests have formed on Earth and humans live in their shadow.

In the ruins of the former states there is the Valley of the Winds – a kingdom where people live in peace and harmony. However, this does not last long, because even the revelation is not able to change human morality and the desire to acquire as much valuable resources and lands of nearby neighbors as possible. Miyazaki’s animated film raises important issues for the whole world. The artist draws attention to the need for peaceful coexistence in a rapidly changing aggressive environment.

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The first film of the Ghibli animation studio founded by Miyazaki and his colleague Isao Takahata. If “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” was a film adaptation of the manga of the same name (written and designed by Hayao himself), then “Castle in the Sky” has its roots in English literature. The castle of the same name, in particular, appeared in Jonathan Swift’s book The Travels of Gulliver.

This time, Miyazaki sends viewers to an alternative Earth in the early 20th century. A girl named Sita discovers an unprecedented artifact, the Flying Stone. Both government agents and pirates tried to find him, but to no avail. Now Sita is in great danger, because a real hunt is arranged for her. Trying to find out what the secret of the Flying Stone is, Sita meets the young miner Pazou and discovers that thanks to Petra’s energy, the flying island of Laputa can be found. According to some sources, a huge military force is concentrated there, according to others – countless treasures.

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Perhaps the most polite and moving anime of the master, which later became one of Miyazaki’s most famous works (and, paradoxically, outside of Japan). The main characters of the cartoon, sisters Mei and Satsuki, move with their father to a small house located in a small village. There is a forest near the village. Settling in a new place, the sisters fall on an unknown creature – a little spirit of the forest.

It turns out that the forest is full of such spirits! They lived there for decades under the leadership of the good lord Totoro. Gradually, Satsuki and Mei get closer to Totoro, who helps the girls with the housework – their mother is in the hospital and their father disappears from work. It is true that forest spirits (including Totoro) remain invisible to adults. Unfortunately, they have many reasons to hide.

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Most of Miyazaki’s work was based on original scripts. However, “The Witch’s Delivery Service” is the author’s second cartoon, which he designed and directed based on someone else’s material. The screenplay is an adaptation of Japanese author Eiko Kadono’s children’s book “Kiki’s Delivery Service” (the same name for the box in the English-language box office) and repeats only a few chapters of the original source.

A young girl named Kiki is a practicing witch. It is difficult to attribute to light or dark forces. the little naughty girl is just taking the first steps in this dangerous art. Her 13th birthday is approaching, according to the rules of magic, Kiki should live among people for a while. On a trip to the city, he is accompanied by a Gigi cat, and among the first human acquaintances, a good-natured baker successfully appears. An expert in flour and dough offers Kiki a job to organize a delivery service and thus help the locals. Kiki’s adventures will not keep you waiting long!

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Probably the main anti-war statement in Hayao Miyazaki’s work. Contrary to popular belief that cartoons are mostly content for children, Miyazaki did not set such age limits. In the fabric of many of his works, he performed far from childish tones, and Porco Rosso is a living example of this. The image was created based on a manga written by the director himself against the backdrop of military events in Yugoslavia.

The main character, an anthropomorphic pig, is an ardent antifascist and an experienced pilot. Once called Marco, he was a war hero – he survived World War I – but his belief in the peaceful coexistence of humans has been greatly diminished. This served as the hero’s curse – his head turned into a pig. Since then, taking the name of Porco Rosso, the character has been chasing pirates in the 1920s, unable to resist the curse. The destruction of dozens of enemies and robbers, however, allows Porco to escape the empty dreams of one day becoming a man again.

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Another of Miyazaki’s ecological work that became the highest grossing film in Japanese history (later the Titanic took over). At the center of the story is the Mononoke forest princess, who once raised a wolf. A kind of Japanese Mowgli, she could become the mistress of wild animals. Now Mononoke maintains the balance of power in the thicket and protects the locals from any misfortunes.

On the other side of the Earth, the young prince Ashitaka, having killed a boar while hunting, brings a curse. A journey begins to recover from a mysterious illness. The paths of Ashitaka, Mononoke and the insidious Lady Eboshi intersect. Not only the homeland of the young prince and Mononoke is threatened, but the whole world, which Eboshi is in danger of destroying with his longing for the absorption of the resources of neighboring areas.

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The film about a girl who goes to the spirit world to save her parents won the main prize of the Berlin Film Festival and later the Oscar. In his hometown of Japan, the film became not only the highest grossing film of the year, but also the box office’s entire history. This time, Miyazaki overtook Cameron and his Titanic. In the future, the film was included in all sorts of lists of the best cartoons in the history of cinema.

Ten-year-old Tsichiro is moving with her parents, the family is waiting for a house party. But on the way to the desired point, they fall on a strange city in which they do not meet a single person. All around it is quiet and soft and a surprisingly majestic table, filled with all kinds of dishes. The parents, quite hungry, rush to the food and, to the horror of the little girl, literally turn into pigs. This is the magic of the evil Yubaba witch. Left alone, Chihiro does not lose heart – the girl goes to the world of Yubaba to return her parents in human form.

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An unusual work by Miyazaki of the mid-2000s, in which the master turns again to English-language material, but not only! The animation is based on a fairy tale novel by author Diana Wynn Jones, while Miyazaki was inspired by the futuristic work of illustrator and cartoonist Albert Robida. Surprisingly, a Russian chicken-legged hut became the prototype of Khaulu Castle itself.

The focus is again on magic and sorcery. An insidious witch turns an eighteen-year-old girl named Sophie into an advanced lady. Finding herself in an unusual position, the heroine escapes from the city, where even her relatives do not recognize her. Sophie meets the inhabitants of an amazing “house on foot” in which the demon Calcifer and the magician Howl live. The former serves the latter with a secret contract and looks very tired. The brave Sophie decides to help the demon, because the looks can often deceive.

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At first glance, Ponyo Fish looks like an Asian version of the Little Mermaid, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Andersen’s well-known fairy tale of the same name was the basis of the plot, but only in the early stages of the development of the idea. In the future, Miyazaki has moved away from the original source, so the author’s eighth cartoon, created in Studio Ghibli, can not even be called a variation of the theme.

The story begins with an introduction to Ponyo, a hyperactive fish, the daughter of a sea goddess and a magician. She is so curious that every time she tries to swim across the borders of the sea kingdom to see how people live. During one of these dives, Pony gets stuck in a box, which flies ashore. The unlucky fish locates a five-year-old Sosuke boy. A strong bond is created between the Ponyo and the little man. Now Ponyo only dreams of becoming a man! Little Sosuke’s prototype, by the way, was Miyazaki’s son, Goro.

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Finally, Hayao Miyazaki’s latest (to date) feature film. Again, the screenplay is based on the artist’s Japanese manga of the same name, published in the late 2000s. In the cartoon, the themes of peace and creative freedom, which Miyazaki raised in his previous works over the years, clash.

A young man named Giro suffers from myopia. This does not stop him from dreaming that he will fly at the helm of an airplane. Having matured, Jiro decides to design such an aircraft that will beat even the speed of light. Over time, the hero gains power among colleagues and becomes the best aircraft designer in the world. But in a few decades, his creations will become weapons of war, which Giro will often regret.

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Author: Timur Aliev

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