• 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 worked across online, print, events and latterly Features Editor before leaving in May 2015.

Most Recent: Opinion View Archive

  1. List

    Portuguese graphic designer and illustrator Braulio Amado – who we interviewed here and who currently works for Bloomberg Businessweek – recently got in touch about the huge expense of entering (and winning) design awards. Here he is on the confusing reality of it costing more than $400 to receive awards from the Type Directors Club.

  2. V2-obama-selfie-itsnicethat-list

    Did you know that there are more images published every day now than there were in the whole of the 19th Century? Nicholas Mirzoeff has written a brilliant book about this fact, entitled How to See the World. Here’s Nicholas on the myriad ways in which this mass of visual information impacts our perception and creativity, and the “exciting, inspiring and anarchic” effect it might have.

  3. Tracey-emin_-sex-1-25-11-07-sydney-courtesy-tracey-emin-list

    Earlier this week I came across cover artwork Tracey Emin has created for the new Penguin editions of Henry Miller’s twin novels Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. Knowing full well Tracey Emin is a notoriously polarising force I was still taken aback by some of the vitriol this inspired. By all means opposing opinion and varied taste is what makes life more interesting, but sometimes I think people dismiss her work too quickly.

    People frequently decry her lack of technical skill. “She can’t draw,” they say. I think this tends to miss the point as much as the worn out reproach, “my three year-old could do that.” In the context of contemporary art, perhaps far more important than being an accomplished draughtsman is the ability to produce gesture and affect. Emin can do this. I also happen to respond well to her loose, evocative hand and think her gouache nudes are visually very strong. I remember reading a typically scathing review from Brian Sewell in the Evening Standard a couple of years ago where he described one of her drawings as a “squalid smudge.”

    Elsewhere I’ve read that based on her ability she is undeserving of her success, that there are more talented artists who will never reach her dizzying heights, that her emphasis on sex is gratuitous and that she shows contempt for anything that is pleasing to the eye. I’m not going to pick apart every criticism, but because Emin is successful and someone else is not fails to invalidate her work (I’d also add that the two are not contingent on one another), to channel her sexuality into her work is her prerogative as a woman in the 21st Century, and as for the question of beauty, by now art has shown it can be ugly and still worthy.

  4. Sm_lcc_invite_itsnicethat-list

    The days of beers in the park and ice lollies at lunchtime are nearly upon us, and with that comes degree shows, and lots of them. But who should be charged with designing the identity for a university degree show – should it be the students, or an external agency? Indeed, do degree shows need identities at all? We want to hear from you; you can add your thoughts to the comments section below.

  5. Marcel-ingloriousfruits-itsnicethat-list

    After the Design Museum names its six category winners for the 2015 Designs of the Year, Rob Alderson argues that the victor in the graphics section is a very worthy winner. You can add your thoughts using the comment thread below.

  6. List

    Ben Tallon’s new book explores the difficult transition to going freelance which many in the creative world make, and by which many more are tempted. To mark the publication of Champagne and Wax Crayons Ben has written a piece about how he found taking that giant leap. You can add your thoughts below…

  7. Grayson-perrys-dream-hous-007-list

    A few years ago, you wouldn’t have expected Channel Four to show a documentary about a cross-dressing artist making a house in Essex on a Sunday evening. But that’s the magic of Grayson Perry: there’s no such thing as low and high culture, no such thing as people not being “into” art, no such thing as stereotypes.

  8. List_sarah_lucas_i_scream_daddio_its_nice_that_

    One of my favourite exhibitions of the last few years was Sarah Lucas’ Whitechapel show, described by The Guardian as “Breasts, bums, blokes and their bits.” Naturally, I was thrilled when Sarah was announced as the artist creating the British Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. Like the work of Jeremy Deller, the artist chosen in 2013, Sarah’s art can be messy and funny and fearless. It’s hard to make sense of, and big issues are frequently masked with a wry humour. Britain could be said to be the same; for all our perceived stuffiness, as a nation there’s a gloriously dishevelled side – a bold sense of “why the fuck not,” experimentation and our famed eccentricity which has made such a small place such a big deal when it comes to creativity.

  9. Oliviacharlesworth-itsnicethat-1

    At a time when debates surrounding art and design education and the way they prepare students for the creative industries are intensifying, Kingston University tutor Zelda Malan explains why it’s still so important that creative courses continue to teach ideas. You can add your thoughts using the comments thread below…

  10. Marianbantjes-designawards-itsnicethat-list

    It’s design award season (like the film world equivalent but fewer red carpets and more pictures of people staring at posters) and as ever the winners will be much discussed across the creative industries. But genuinely useful advice for those who enter has been thin on the ground, until now. Having relaunched her website, the brilliant Marian Bantjes has also started a new blog (huzzah!) and recently wrote a series of tips for those designers putting their work up for awards, based on her extensive experience as a judge. You can add comments below, or just soak up the wisdom…

  11. Newswall-itsnicethat-list

    Yesterday saw the launch of a brand new form of news presentation by Channel 4 in 4NewsWall – a Tumblr-hosted website dedicated to the day’s top news stories, listed chronologically, with each presented by a GIF. Thought up by 4Creative’s Jack Croft and Stacey Bird and developed by the creative team, it’s flashy, image-led and uncluttered – with each GIF offering a click-through button to a more detailed report – and looks set to be an interesting and exciting progression for news journalism.

  12. Graphicdesign_-opinion-itsnicethat-list

    A couple of months ago there was a lot of interest in this survey in which clients described the four worst types of creative agencies as they saw it. Now we have a chance to hear from the practitioners themselves, by way of Graphicdesign&’s in-depth industry study. Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright have partnered with social scientist Nikandre Kopcke to create a questionnaire which explores “practice, perceptions and prejudices alongside the usual questions about age, education, work and pay.”

  13. List

    It’s fast approaching the time of all-nighters (not the fun ones), tears, last-minute panics and all the other things that come with the end of learning and the impending beginning of the terrifying thing they call real life. But like the mum that tells you you’re always the best and most talented and most beautiful, or the best friend that bursts into your house and pops the kettle on/pours the gin, we’re here to remind you of some of the advice that might be able to help you.