I think the first Japanese animated film I ever saw was NAUSICAA OF THE VALLY OF THE WIND back in the 80′s. I had seen the trailer on TV, and it intrigued me, so when it hit the theaters, I went to see it (alone, as I did with many movies back in my early 20′s). It was a revelation for me– NAUSICAA was a beautiful film with an epic scope and it immediately emblazoned the name Hayao Miyazaki… the creator and director of the movie…. on my young mind. NAUSICAA is the story of a young princess who desperately tries to stop a war between her people and their greatest enemies– and in doing so, also tries to stop the very destruction of her planet. Many parts of her world have become poison zones– populated by fascinating and bizarre insectoid creatures. These poisoned zones hold a key to the survival of the planet even as they threaten the survival of NAUSICAA’s people.
I always remembered the NAUSICAA film…. and years later, when I became more aware of the diversity that Japanese animation offers, I bought almost everything I could get my hands on that looked like it would be of interest to me. I amassed a rather large collection of anime (as it’s known) over the years…. but sort of fell out of love with it a while back. I gave away most of my tapes to friends– I only have a few absolute favorites left like GIANT ROBO and APPLESEED….. but the anime most special to me is the work of Miyazaki that’s been released here in the States in the years since NAUSICAA. Films like MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE, PRINCESS MONONOKE, and SPIRITED AWAY hold a very honored place in my DVD collection… they’re wonderful gems that I never get tired of watching over and over again. Hayao Miyazaki has been referred to as Japan’s Walt Disney– but I think that does him a disservice. Miyazaki’s films are so epic in scope and deep in meaning– often exploring the themes of man’s struggle to co-exist with nature… and each other– that they are timeless fantasies that strike a major chord in my heart. I have enjoyed many Disney films over the years, and count many of them as influences on my artistic growth– but Miyazaki’s films move me in ways that no Disney film ever has.
Any other Miyazaki fans out there…..?
This is Entry 282.