Hayao Miyazaki – A Genius Storyteller of Children’s Tales [★]

If you are fond of Japanese animations, you already might have heard of Spirited Away. It’s a story of a young girl who get’s lost in a mysterious temple where her parents were turned to pigs and in order to save them, she serves in a bathhouse for spirits. This is an internationally celebrated film by Hayao Miyazaki, which he created together with Studio Ghibli.

Curious with his other creations, I researched for his other films. I was not disappointed  because they are just as good as Spirited Away. I enjoyed every one of them because they enticed the child in me, feeling the thrill of a magical adventure comparable to CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and also to Walt Disney’s tales. Miyazaki weaves out a unique universe with each of his films with creatures that exists only in his world.

In watching each movie, I noticed common themes in his creations. Here are some that are worth mentioning:

Fairy tales will always have this ingredient. In his stories, magic is presented like it’s the next most common thing in the world. It would be really nice to make a visit to one of these worlds, right?

Mr. Miyazaki has a fascination for ‘flying’. Notice in his creations, there are lots of aerial views and his characters can fly.

Kiki flying in her broom in Kiki’s Delivery Service

Nausicaä’s glider in 
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 
Marco’s plane in Porco Rosso


If you have watched several of Miyazaki’s films, surely you won’t miss this one out. It’s very apparent in his works. There is always a strong woman in his story, even if it’s the protagonist or the antagonist one. Girl power is almost always evident on each of the plot.

The Castle In the Sky

Sheeta, the heir princess that possesses the
enchanted amulet of Laputa
Dola and her sons, the pirates that want possession
of the amulet

Porco Rosso

Madame Gina, the singer in the bar
that is adored by pirates
Fio, the engineer that repairs Porco’s broken plane

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 

princess Nausicaä saves her people from the attack of insects

Princess Mononoke

San aka Princess Mononoke protects the forest
together with the wolf gods
Lady Eboshi is the leader of a town
of lepers and prostitutes

Spirited Away

Chihiro works for the bath house to save her parents
who were transformed into pigs
Yubaba is the owner of the bath house
where Chihiro will work

Most of the films, if not in another world, are set in the countryside. You will begin to appreciate nature as it is by seeing the green trees and blue waters showed in the films. He seems to be a pro-green revolution because most of his films depict the destruction that human kind causes on nature.

Laputa robot in The Castle in the Sky
various marine life as shown in Ponyo
Totoro’s sleeping haven in My Neighbor Totoro
Totoro teaches the kids how to grow the seeds
the jungle in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

various garbages are in the sea bed showing water pollution in Ponyo

Unusual Creatures

Aside from talking animals, there are animals that could only be seen in the Miyazaki world. Some are cute while others are hideous-looking, but are fascinating all the same.

boar god that turned into a demon

Ohmu creatures of the forest
the soot sprites in Spirited Away
These creatures also appear in My Neighbor Totoro
Mei running after chibi and chu totoros

Most of the creatures are nature spirits that guard their home. In some stories, these gods can turn into demons when overpowered by rage due to destruction of their habitat.

Most of the films have been English-dubbed by Disney. Actually I couldn’t compare the Miyazaki films with the fairy tales of Disney. The former talk about a wider scope of issues (like nature destruction). With Studio Ghibli films, there’s always no dull moment and you couldn’t really predict what will happen next.

It is interesting to note that Miyazaki also plays a role in the Lupin III animated series.

There is actually a Studio Ghibli museum in Japan. I wanna visit this in the future! 

Miyazaki is indeed one of the best animator and narrator for children stories. Watching Studio Ghibli films is like having the adventure of your life. Even grown-ups who would watch them would feel like a child again. 🙂

(credits to the owner, I just found this on tumblr)


All characters in the images herein belong to Studio Ghibli. No copyright infringement intended.

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