Posts Tagged ‘Hayao Miyazaki’


Hayao Miyazaki’s films often feature the sea. Porco Rosso’s aerial battles took place above the sea and his hiding place was a sandy beach hidden away in a cove. But never has the sea been such an important part of Miyazaki’s films as in Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. Most of the movie is spent either underwater or then sailing.

The sea as a setting is in many ways a good fit for Miyazaki. It gives him a chance to show his drawing skills and the viewer is treated to some stunning underwater vistas and sea-creatures. It also gives the chance for a few opinions concerning pollution of the seas on our planet, a very important topic. Especially one of the side-characters, who left humanity for a life underwater precisely because of pollution and the carelesness with which many treat nature and especially the sea.

The story of Ponyo, a magical sea-creature who wants to turn into a human, can be seen as reflecting human nature, especially our selfishness. Ponyo casts a spell that allows her to turn into a little girl, but the spell has bad consequences and the balance of the world is put in danger. A selfish act results in terrible consequences. Isn’t that the biggest problem with us and nature? Reaping the bounties of mother nature with a concern only for short-term gain.


I may of course be adding too much thought into the movie, as it is at its basis a children’s film. I can safely say that kids are going to love this movie, younger kids at least. But there is a lot to like for a more adult viewer as well. The beauty and life coming from Miyazakis pen is something amazing and proves that handiwork beats digital animation in many ways. Pixar’s Finding Nemo perhaps looks more realistic but the more artistic and occasionally painterly approach of Miyazaki does not look dated at all in comparison.

Ponyo by the Cliffs by the Sea is Miyazaki at his best. The plot is not too complicated, which is a problem with many of his films. The animation is some of the best I’ve seen from Miyazaki. With Ponyo he combines the childishness of My Neigbor Totoro with a message against pollution. Definitely a must-see for anyone who is in touch with their inner child, failing that at least take your kids to see it.

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I watched Miyazakis movie Spirited Away tonight and thought I’d post on Mr Miyazaki and how certain things seem to reoccur in all or most of his movies.


First off all there’s always a flying scene in his movies. He probably only put a dragon in Spirited Away so he could make Chihiro fly on him. What’s cool about the flying scenes in my opinion is the ground below which is always beautifully drawn. The movement on things in his movies is also superb. Haku looks like he could really fly even though he doesn’t have any wings, well, okay it is magic world.


This isn’t true about all his movies but at least in Spirited Away there’s so many weird creatures that at times you just wonder what just passed across the screen. Also noticeable in the end is the hamster and the bird carrying him. In my opinion their only function is to provide some humour during the more quiet end part of the movie. In the train the little guys lighten the mood a lot by doing pretty ridiculous looking stuff. My Neighbour Totoro also has all kinds of little and cute things. That seems to recur in other anime movies and series also. Hmmm, perhaps the Japanese like cute stuff…


Thirdly what I noticed in Spirited Away was the amount of screen time given to pretty mundane and boring stuff that in another film would probably have been left out. As in the scene where Chihiro goes down the stairs. Miyazaki makes this very exciting. When she actually gets down, her hopping is beautifully filmed, even opening the door is wholly filmed.


Nature and what pollution is doing to it is powerfully pictured in some of Miyazakis movies, especially in his first one. Giving a bath to the River God is my favourite scene in the movie. The filmography in it is simply wonderfull. Chihiro giving a bath is a very brave thing to do and when she succeeds everyone accepts her, hoah, wonderful. What’s troubling the river god is people polluting his river. The amount of stuff inside the god is simply amazing. He seems to be very relieved listening to the sound of delight he makes after all the trash is out of him. Wish all pollution could be dealt with in this fashion. We never are told what Yubaba does with the trash, perhaps throws it into the sea? Wouldn’t put it below the old bitch.

Can you think of anything else that is common in Miyazaki’s films?

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