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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Miyazaki films are tangible nostalgia

By Halle Fukawa | Editor in Chief

Vogue magazine

   “I believe that stories have an important role to play in the formation of human beings, that they can stimulate, amaze, and inspire their listeners,” mused Hayao Miyazaki.

   Hayao Miyazaki is a director, producer, artist, animator, screenwriter, and co-founder of the acclaimed Studio Ghibli. Throughout his career he has worked on numerous animated features and has had a leading hand in over 19 movies, seven of which have won numerous awards including an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film and two Japan Academy Prizes for Animation and Picture of The Year, according to the Ghibli Collection.

   However, for me, Miyazaki shaped my life and changed the way I view the world. 

   Unlike many of my friends whose childhoods revolved around these films, I made my way through them slowly throughout elementary, middle, and high school. 

   In third grade, I remember watching “Ponyo” for the first time in my class. It was a few years after it was released by Disney – dubbed with English – and it was like nothing I had seen before. Anyone who has seen “Ponyo” can testify to its mythological beauty, intense music score, and undeniable weirdness that baffles adults but plays perfectly with a child’s logic. 

   From then on, I was hooked. 

   “My Neighbor Totoro” encouraged my imagination and fostered my love for Japanese culture. The imaginative storytelling in movies like “Spirited Away” and “Howl’s Moving Castle” piqued my interest in writing and fantasy. 

   As a wayward middle schooler, “Kiki’s Delivery Service” and “From Up On Poppy Hill” helped me feel content with who I was and made me excited about entering high school. In “Whisper of the Heart,” I saw myself reflected in Shizuku, an unsure but passionate young writer.

   For others, even if they have never seen the film, many people will recognize the grinning face of Totoro or have heard the theme of “Howl’s Moving Castle” on Tiktok. Miyazaki’s work is known by many if they don’t know who Miyazaki is.

   Simply do a Google search of “Hayao Miyazaki Movies” and there will be countless ranking lists from notable sources like The Verge, Rotten Tomatoes, IndieWire, and the New York Times. However, these movies aren’t just another franchise or movies series.

   In keeping with the charm of the early 80’s, each frame is painstakingly drawn by hand, something that is uncommon in today’s big-name animation studios. Paired with Joe Hisaishi’s unmatched music scores, Miyazaki’s colorful storytelling and endearing animation style is truly timeless. 

   Miyazaki movies cannot be compared to each other, because each one has its own characters and story to tell. Although some films are more widely popular than others, everyone can find a favorite.

   Even though they were not all necessarily my childhood movies, each Miyazaki film played a formative part in my life and helped me through times of uncertainty and stress. Now, being separated from my family and friends and unable to go on my own adventures in the outside world, watching Studio Ghibli films allow me to relive some of my favorite memories.

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Miyazaki films are tangible nostalgia