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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Disney of Japan: Hayao Miyazaki

O Great Master! I am not worthy!
O teach me your secret techniques of animation & I will be your slave.
I will make coffee & wash your toilet.

That's what I would say to Miyazaki if I ever meet him. For those not in the know, Hayao Miyazaki has been heralded as the Disney of Japan. He is like the Godfather of Anime. In the language of the youths of today, he makes kick-ass animation.

I could still remember my first encounter with his animation on RTM 2 a long long time ago in the mid 80s. I turned on the TV during one of those long nothing-to-do-but-wait-for-people-to-come-to-the-house Chinese New Year holidays. And what I saw blew my brains away. It was like getting hit with a large brain tumour, but in a good way.

Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind (1984)

You can blow in my valley anytime... whatever that means.

You must know that for a primary school kid who grew up watching Disney, Hanna Barbara & Warner Bros' animal cartoons (ducks, mouse, cats, coyotes, birds, dogs), this was like coming out of the farm. I suddenly grew up right there & then. I realised I had actually been watching cartoons for babies all along.

I knew I had stumbled on something good. Miyazaki was different. He wasn't about pop-anime. He told a fantastic story of a world he created, so complete that you felt like it was real & you were living in it. The characters were complex. They weren't simple good or bad guys. In fact, you couldn't even label them. And his stories carried themes of the environment & peace.

Here's a rundown of Miyazaki's films:

Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)

My Neighbour Totoro (1988)

If there's one thing that Mayazaki's most famous for, it must be that fat rodent.

Totoro. The cutest rodent that all girls want to hug. Buy one for your girlfriend and they will do anything for you. But it works only for girlfriends. REMINDER: Wives go for bling blings.

Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)

Porco Rosso (1992)

Princess Mononoke (1997)

Very the terror. This film won the Best Picture at the Japanese Academy Awards & Miyazaki announced his retirement after that. But then he returned again to direct this.

Spirited Away (2001)

For your information, Spirited Away is a non-halal movie. You can watch but please don't eat the poster.

Spirited Away turned out to be power. It kicked Leornado di Caprio & Titanic's asses in Japan. It also won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2003. Feeling very terror, Miyazaki attempted at retirement again, but returned again to make his next feature.

Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

And again, this was supposed to be his last film for the third time. Mr Miyazaki, I wonder if you've heard of the story of the boy who called wolf, or Pinocchio?

Well, the news is that he'll be directing a new animated feature again for release in 2008. It's called Ponyo on a Cliff. I'm not complaining. That's good news.

There's still so much to write about here, but I think I should stop now. I just hope that the bugger can tahan long enough to make more films. Long Live Miyazaki!


Brede said...

totally totally agree! LOng LIvE MiyaZakI!!! watched Spirited Away and been hooked since. Where can i find good quality DVDs of the rest?

Greg Wee said...

Hi brede. The last time I saw Empire (Crowne Square) selling a set of his films. Quite expensive though - about over a hundred?

Otherwise, is the place!

It's good to find a fellow Miyazaki fan!

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