Research: Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki with the cover of The Wind Rises, 2014

Hayao Miyazaki is undoubtedly my favourite animator since childhood till now. He has a very distinctive approach to animation, but what distinguishes him from other animators is the beautiful, humane element infused in his characters, the intricacy in both the physical aspect of the animation, and the hidden metaphors that makes his work not just any simple children’s animation. I watched a short film produced by Lewis Bond on Miyazaki, and his very thoughtful analysis of a selection of his most well-known Studio Ghibli films.

For most of the clip, Bond makes very accurate comments on Miyazki’s works, and how he has achieved his desired effects. Miyazaki stated that he loved the earlier works of Disney for the technical aspect, yet their depiction of emotions were far too simplistic.

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Scene from Kiki’s Delivery Service, Skirt twirl

Bond explains that his concern is not about “external flair, but their internal subtleties”. This is why Miyazaki’s animation tends to have slower and gentler movements, and he wants to tell the audience something about a character through an action as small as Kiki’s twirl of her large skirt.

Miyazaki disliked anime due to the expressions being overly done, making it look quite “cheaply” executed. He truly valued characters acting naturally, so we see them at their most raw, primal state. I agree with Bond’s perception on Miyazaki’s use of silence in films, which many western animations do not have. The silence and stillness could be one of the strongest ways to connect to your viewers.

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Quiet Scenes from Spirited Away

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I’ve gained an insight into an extraordinary way to utilise emotion in animation. These three images above are from my personal favourite, Spirited Away. Miyazaki draws such breathtaking landscapes, and the last scene evokes feelings of solitary and intense reflection when you are still. Every person has experienced this moment whilst travelling on a bus or train, whether the train is packed or not. Miyazaki has encouraged me to think about my own emotions, my small natural actions and who I am as a person, because my animated self will be a portraying this.




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