Enter the realm of fantasy, a place in which the laws of science have no bounds, where the impossible becomes possible, and where beauty flourishes in its own unique way. Hayao Miyazaki, one of the most talented, mysterious, and inspirational people that have ever existed within the world of animation. Miyazaki’s art knows no limits and this can evidently be seen through his cinematic works of art such as Spirited Away (2001), Princess Mononoke (1997), Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) and many others.
There is something that is quite mesmerising about a Miyazaki film compared to any other animated movie, is it the colours, the emphasis on freedom through his obsession with flying, or is it the beautifully animated landscapes? Or maybe all of them. One thing for sure though, Hayao Miyazaki is a genius at creating art. An aspect of animation which can be so overlooked is how an animated piece of work can be more human than a real-life acted movie. Animation allows us to dramatise and enhance human emotions, situations, people, and places. It can bring truth to our perception of beauty by simply creating it as we want to see it or how we feel we see it. For example, take Princess Mononoke, Mayazaki creates stunning forests filled with beautiful creatures and colours, a magical place that could only exist in an animation.
Often thought is that animations are a replication of reality, however, I don’t think this to be the case. I firmly believe they are of another world, another realm in fact where reality cannot exist. Nevertheless, although not replications of reality, they are obviously intertwined with it as they instead convey feelings within reality through art. There is an overwhelming sense of nostalgia in Miyazaki’s works, but nostalgia for what? It most definitely evokes feelings of nostalgia every time I watch a Studio Ghibli film, but again, for what? Sometimes it can seem like its nostalgia for something that doesn’t exist or for something I do not know. His films have the ability to take you back to childhood memories that seemingly have no connection to his films. This type of nostalgia reminds me of the Portuguese word Saudade, which does not exist within the english language, however has been described on Wikipedia as “a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for something or someone that one cares for and/or loves”. I would say that partially sums up this sense of nostalgia within a Miyazaki film, however not completely as it is something that can only truly be experienced, other than explained.
If you have never seen a Studio Ghibli film I encourage you to start with Spirited Away (2001), the most famous, yet in my opinion still the best, and get lost in Miyazaki’s magical world of nostalgic fantasy.