• Miyazaki

    Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki is retiring, what on earth are we going to do?

Opinion

Opinion: Studio Ghibli's Hayao Miyazaki is retiring – what are we going to do?

Posted by Liv Siddall,

Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli and creator of such films as Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke is retiring. Liv Siddall asks if his legend can live on, and whether Studio Ghibli films can be the same without his utterly unique input. As always we welcome your comments below…

Upon hearing the sad news that writer, director and legend of the animation world Hayao Miyazaki had announced his retirement, the first thing I did was text anyone I knew was a fan so we could discuss this travesty. The second thing was to look him up and actually read about his unique career – something I had somehow, embarrassingly, neglected to do in all the years of enjoying the fruits of his career.

In case you don’t know who he is (which is much more probable than the average fan can bring themselves to believe) Hayao Miyazaki is an incredibly talented Japanese illustrator and animator who in 1985 set up an animation studio called Studio Ghibli with his friend and director, Isao Takahata. The studio began creating and releasing feature films like no one had ever seen before. At the height of Disney’s power, these guys were creating animations that adults and children alike could enjoy together, on a seemingly much more profound level. Films like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and My Neighbour Totoro received critical acclaim and were enjoyed worldwide by small children, teenagers and fully-fledged adults due to the strange spoonfuls of magic that Hayao was able to pour discreetly into them.

I first came into contact with Studio Ghibli when my brother showed me Spirited Away. He told me that the main character reminded him of me when I was about eight years old, so I watched that film open-mouthed from start to finish, immersed in a world of luscious meadows, kindly spirits and dumplings I could almost taste, all drawn in such rich colours and animated to perfection. It was a feast for the eyes, and it genuinely made me feel eight again.

That’s the beauty of Hayao Miyazaki’s work, he makes you feel little and brave. Amid his worlds of mythical ghouls, spirits, animals, monsters, gods and machines with thrilling stories interweaving throughout, the fundamental storylines are those classic Disney formulas of good triumphing over evil, of family values and love conquering over all. What differentiates his films from others is the skill, the pure, jaw dropping art with which each and every one is made.

He’s not just making animations with clever storytelling and loveable characters, Hayao Miyazaki is using beautiful, incomparable draughtsmanship and skill to encourage you to go outside more, to make more friends, to enjoy nature and to love your family. I don’t know any other director who can promote these things even half as well as he did.

Before embarking on what my imagination proves to be one of the most picturesque and relaxing retirements in history (picture it, Ghibli fans: apple-green grass, a deck chair, the flap of a newspaper in the breeze, Totoro waddling past) Miyazaki has left us a goodbye note in the form of The Wind Rises. The film, compared to the astounding fiction present in his earlier work, is based on a true story of Jiro Horikoshi, the Japanese man who designed a plane that was eventually used heavily in World War II. His grief at having unwittingly designed a weapon of war is what inspired Hayao to make a film about him, and to watch the trailer in the knowledge that this is his last film – his final wave – is enough to make you sob into your sleeve.

Apple hasn’t been the same since the lack of Steve Jobs. Nirvana wasn’t quite the same when Kurt Cobain died. Maybe the films will continue, but I sincerely doubt that such a rare, delicate level of magic will still be prevalent without this man to steer the ship.

Luckily we have one of the most magnificent and timeless back-catalogues of any filmmaker in history, and Hayao Miyazaki’s wise and beautiful quotes to keep us going for now.

comments powered by Disqus
Ls-300

Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Opinion View Archive

  1. List

    In recent months the question of so-called spec work has been raised with us over social media in light of various design competitions we have helped promote. Off the back of that we have spent a lot of time discussing this thorny issue with various people so as to formulate a consistent approach, although the nature of these things is that each is best analysed on a case by case basis.

  2. List

    This week Rob Alderson reflects on the launch of the new Design Museum website and the strange suggestion that the redesign should have been given to a British agency rather than Dutch studio Fabrique. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  3. Opinion-list

    In the wake of the launch of Printed Pages Autumn 2014, Editor James Cartwright wonders and worries about the secret of designing a great magazine cover and asks for any handy hints you might have. Do him a favour and add your thoughts in the comments section below.

  4. Main

    In light of New York Fashion Week’s main event, a star-studded play put on by Opening Ceremony entitled 100% Lost Cotton, the It’s Nice That team began to ponder their own individual dream play, and what that would look like if they were given the chance to direct it. The results are pretty weird to be honest, but you can’t deny the appeal of each and every one in its own way.

  5. Main

    This week Editor Liv Siddall addresses the world’s distraught reaction to the announcement that MSN Messenger will terminate after 15 years in operation, and wonders if we should get so nostalgic and wet-eyed over technology.

  6. Main

    This week editorial assistant Amy Lewin ponders the cultural impact of the potential England/Scotland split. As ever, feel free to leave comments below.

  7. Main

    We’ve been posting music-related art and design articles on It’s Nice That since the very beginning. In fact the first music video ever posted on It’s Nice That is this one by Koichiro Tsujikawa back in May 2007. Since then we’ve covered countless festival posters and identities, record sleeves, band logos, ad campaigns and tour photography amongst pretty much every other kind of music-related content you can think of, barring only reviewing music itself.

  8. Opinion-list

    This week editor James Cartwright wonders whether it was right to remove the Chapman Brothers’ controversial sculpture Piggyback from a Roman gallery or whether it’s an affront to creative freedoms. As ever your comments are welcome below…

  9. List

    Last week we were duped into running a project on the site that turned out to be a hoax. Here Rob Alderson explains what happened and why it’s left an unsavoury taste, while James Cartwright disagrees and congratulates the artist on a spoof well done. As ever you can leave your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

  10. List

    Two weeks ago we featured DesignStudio’s Airbnb logo. One week ago copywriter Rob Mitchell of We All Need Words wrote an Opinion piece calling for an end to convoluted brand stories. His article was cheered by some people and incensed others; Sam Peskin and Liam Hamill of VentureThree want to have their say and defend brand strategy. Again you can add your views using the comment thread below…

  11. List

    We were pretty impressed with the new Airbnb logo when it launched last week, but for a different perspective, here’s Rob Mitchell from We All Need Words. He tells us why he’s had enough of “over-cooked brand stories masquerading as strategy” and as ever you can add your thoughts below…

  12. List

    In light of our recent changes and the launch of the new-look Design Observer, Rob Alderson reflects on design websites’ redesigns. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below, and we’re particularly keen to hear what you’re making of our new look!

  13. List

    This week James Cartwright wonders what the V&A is up to with its policy of “Rapid Response Collecting” and whether it really marks a shift in their curation policy. As ever you can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below.