I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day! As for me, I took the opportunity during this long weekend to just bum around and re-watch my Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿,) collection. Rainy days, hot green tea and great anime are a top-notch combination. The very first Miyazaki's movie that I watched was "My Neighbor Totoro". Needless to say I have become a fan and have tried to watch as many works of his that I can ever since. For some background information on Hayao Miyazaki, one of (in my opinion) Japan's greatest anime masters, do check out this Wikipedia entry.
Clockwise from top left: My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, Howl's Moving Castle.
Other Miyazaki favourites of mine include "Spirited Away", "Howl's Moving Castle" (KL's first Miyazaki movie, now he's hooked too!) and "Kiki's Delivery Service". These are all great titles to check out for those who are curious about Miyazaki's work or for those who simply love a great movie. What I love about Miyazaki is his uncanny ability to capture the innocence of childhood in his movies, without dumbing it down for the adult audience. The protagonists in his movies are all very young, but yet they all rose to the occasion in the movies with grace and learnt something along the way. This all sounds very Disney-ified I guess, but Miyazaki's work is a lot more remarkable....I love the way he handles characterizations and I suspect that adults are a greater fan of his work than children simply because he is able to show adults a window into the way that they once were and spin a fantastic yarn out of it.
A scene from Ponyo On A Cliff By The Sea.
Miyazaki's latest film, released in 2008, is "Ponyo On A Cliff By The Sea". I recall reading it somewhere that it was a cross between "A Little Mermaid" and "My Neighbor Totoro"? "Ponyo" centers on a love story between a mermaid, Ponyo and a human boy. I haven't watched it yet, but you can be sure that I am trying my best to get a copy of it right now!