Hayao Miyazaki is one of the few living legends of anime. Born on January 5, 1941 this Japanese film director and co-founder of Tokyo-based Studio Ghibli is looking back on a career that has spanned five decades.
Miyazaki, who also worked as producer, screenwriter, animator, author, and manga artist, has attained international acclaim as a masterful storyteller. We owe him a number of beautiful anime feature films, most of which were publishd under the roof of Studio Ghibli, a world-renouned film and animation studio that he co-founded with Isao Takahata in 1985.
Born in Bunkyō, Tokyo, Miyazaki began his animation career in 1963. Back then he joined Toei Animation, working as an in-between artist for Gulliver's Travels Beyond the Moon. When he directed his first feature film, Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979) it marked the beginning of a great sucess story. His next film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) turned out a big sucess and lead to Miyazaki co-founding Studio Ghibli in Tokyo. Ever since, he has blessed his audience with a number of great feature films that have enjoyed both commercial and critical success in Japan long before being discovered in western countries.
His career in Europe started, when Miramax Films first released his film Princess Mononoke, a 1997 production. Until it was eclipsed by Titanic, Princess Mononoke was said to be the highest-grossing film in Japan in 1997. It became the first animated film ever, to win Picture of the Year at the Japanese Academy Awards. Miyazaki's next film, Spirited Away (2001) turned out an even bigger success. This prodution also won Picture of the Year, and was the first anime film ever to win an American Academy Award. It even received an Oscar in 2003 for its masterful and disturbing critique of modern industrialism.
All of Miyazaki's films are defined by a very special rhythm of storytelling, fantastic artistic craftsmanship and beautiful characterization. Very often we find recurrent themes of spiritualistic encounters or humanity's relationship with nature and technology. In From Up on Poppy Hill feminism plays a major role and the difficulty of maintaining a pacifist ethic is one of the underlying topics depicted in his last great production, The Wind Rises, which aired in Japan in 2013. The protagonists of his films are often strong, independent girls or young women. Some films involve traditional villains, and even morally ambiguous antagonists, people who have left their footmark on history, or children who delight us with their simple logic and great ideas about friendship. His most liked character could be Totoro - a fantastic figure from the 1988 film My Neighbour Totoro that subsequently morphed into the signature trademark of Studio Ghibli.
On September 1, 2013 Miyazaki announced The Wind Rises to be his final feature-length film. Still, according to international media, he has revealed plans for his first fully computer-generated short film about a tiny hairy caterpillar in July 2015. According to Miyazaki, the new film, titled Kemushi no Boro (Boro, The Caterpillar), will be produced for screening at the Ghibli Museum and is scheduled for completion in 2018. It represents a new development in the artist's career who has been most famous for his masterful use of traditional animation processes and techniques in his movies.
His oevre was greatly honoured in November 2014, when Miyazaki finally was awarded an Honorary Academy Award for his impact on animation and cinema. He is the second Japanese to win this award, after Akira Kurosawa who received it in 1990. In 2002 American film critic Roger Ebert (1942-2013) wrote that many of his colleagues considered Miyazaki one of, if not "THE best animation filmmaker in history". And you know what? They might just be right! (Read more about Hayao Miyazaki here: http://www.rogerebert.com/interviews/hayao-miyazaki-interview)
Filmography of Hayao Miyazaki:
1979 The Castle of Cagliostro
1984 Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
1986 Castle in the Sky
1988 My Neighbor Totoro
1989 Kiki's Delivery Service
1991 Only Yesterday
1992 Porco Rosso
1994 Pom Poko
1995 Whisper of the Heart
1997 Princess Mononoke
2001 Spirited Away
2001 Whale Hunt
2002 Koro's Big Day Out
2002 Mei and the Kittenbus
2002 Imaginary Flying Machines
2002 The Cat Returns
2004 Howl's Moving Castle
2006 Monmon the Water Spider
2006 The Day I Harvested a Planet
2010 Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess
2010 The Secret World of Arrietty
2011 From Up on Poppy Hill
2013 The Wind Rises
2018 Boro the Caterpillar