About Hayao Miyazaki
Early Career/Animation Career
In April 1963, Miyazaki got a job at Toei Animation, working as an in-between artist on the theatrical feature anime Watchdog Bow Wow (Wanwan Chushingura) and the TV anime Wolf Boy Ken (Ōkamishōnen ken). He was a leader in a labor dispute soon after his arrival, becoming chief secretary of Toei's labor union in 1964.[e] He first gained recognition while working as an in-between artist on the Toei production Gulliver's Travels Beyond the Moon (Garibā no Uchuu Ryokō) in 1965. He found the original ending to the script unsatisfactory and pitched his own idea, which became the ending used in the finished film. Through the collaborative process adopted for the project he was able to contribute his ideas and work closely with his mentor, Animation Director Yasuo Ōtsuka, whose innovative approach to animation had a profound impact on Miyazaki's work. The film was directed by Isao Takahata, with whom he continued to collaborate for the remainder of his career. In Kimio Yabuki's Puss in Boots (1969), Miyazaki again provided key animation as well as designs, storyboards and story ideas for key scenes in the film, including the climactic chase scene. He also illustrated the manga, as a promotional Tie-in, for this production of Puss in Boots. Toei Animation produced two more sequels with the 'Puss in Boots' from this film, during the 1970s, and the character would ultimately become the studio's mascot, but Miyazaki wasn't involved with any of the sequels. Shortly thereafter, Miyazaki proposed scenes in the screenplay for Flying Phantom Ship, in which military tanks would roll into downtown Tokyo and cause mass hysteria, and was hired to storyboard and animate those scenes. In 1971, Miyazaki played a decisive role in developing structure, characters and designs for Hiroshi Ikeda's adaptation of Animal Treasure Island and the adaptation of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves by Hiroshi Shidara. Miyazaki also helped in the storyboarding and key animating of pivotal scenes in both films and made a promotional manga for Animal Treasure Island.
Miyazaki left Toei for A Pro in August 1971, where he co-directed 14 episodes of the first Lupin III series with Isao Takahata. That year the two also began pre-production on a Pippi Longstocking series and drew extensive story boards for it. However, after traveling to Sweden to conduct research for the film and meet the original author, Astrid Lindgren, permission was refused to complete the project, and it was canceled as a result. In 1972 and 1973 Miyazaki conceived, wrote, designed and animated two Panda! Go, Panda! shorts which were directed by Takahata. After their move to Zuiyo Eizo, in 1974, he worked as an animator on the World Masterpiece Theater with Takahata, which included their adaptation of the first part of Johanna Spyri's Heidi novel into the animated television series Heidi, Girl of the Alps. The company continued as Nippon Animation in 1975. Miyazaki also directed the television series Future Boy Conan (1978), an adaptation of the children's novel The Incredible Tide by Alexander Key. The main antagonist is the leader of the city-state of Industria who attempts to revive lost technology. The series also elaborates on the characters and events in the book, and is an early example of characterizations which recur throughout Miyazaki's later work: a girl who is in touch with nature, a warrior woman who appears menacing but is not an antagonist, and a boy who seems destined for the girl. The series also
Miyazaki left Nippon Animation in 1979 in the middle of the production of Anne of Green Gables and moved to the TMS Entertainment subsidiary Telecom Animation Film to direct his first feature anime film The Castle of Cagliostro (1979), a Lupin III adventure film. In 1981, a delegation of TMS animators, including Miyazaki, visited the Disney animation studio in the United States where they presented a clip from The Castle of Cagliostro. That clip deeply moved and strongly influenced a young Disney animator named John Lasseter, who would become one of Miyazaki's biggest fans, and after becoming a successful director at Pixar would use his own influence to expand awareness of Miyazaki's work among American audiences. During the early 1980s, Miyazaki also directed six episodes of Sherlock Hound, an Italian-Japanese co-production between TMS Entertainment and the television station RAI, which retold Sherlock Holmes tales using anthropomorphic animals. These episodes were first broadcast on TV in 1984–85. In Japan a short film based on the first two episodes had a theatrical release in March 1994. Miyazaki's next film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, released on March 11, 1984, is an adaption of his manga series of the same title. A science fiction adventure in which he introduces many of the recurring themes he would go on to explore throughout his career: a concern with ecology, human interaction with and impact on, the environment; a fascination with aircraft and flight; pacifism, including an anti-military streak; feminism; morally ambiguous characterizations, especially among villains; and love. Starring the voices of Sumi Shimamoto, Yōji Matsuda, Iemasa Kayumi, Gorō Naya and Yoshiko Sakakibara, this was the first film both written and directed by Miyazaki. The film and the manga have common roots in ideas Miyazaki mulled over in the early 1980s. Serialization of the manga began in the February 1982 issue of Tokuma Shoten's Animage magazine. The plot of the film corresponds roughly with the first 16 chapters of the manga. Miyazaki continued expanding the story over an additional decade after the release of the film. The successful cooperation on the creation of the manga and the film laid the foundation for other collaborative projects.
In April 1984 the Nibariki office was started, in part, to manage copyrights. In June 1985, Miyazaki, Takahata and Tokuma Shoten chairman Yasuyoshi Tokuma organized the animation production company Studio Ghibli with funding from Tokuma Shoten. His first film with Ghibli, Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986), My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro, 1988), and Kiki's Delivery Service (1989), adapted from the 1985 novel of the same name by Eiko Kadono. Miyazaki's fascination with flight is evident throughout these films, ranging from the ornithopters flown by pirates in Castle in the Sky, to the Totoro and the Cat Bus soaring through the air, and Kiki flying her broom. In 1992, Miyazaki directed Porco Rosso, an adventure film set in the "Adriatic" during the 1920s. The film was a notable departure for Miyazaki, in that the main character was an adult man, an anti-fascist aviator transformed into an anthropomorphic pig. The film is about a titular bounty hunter, voiced by Shūichirō Moriyama, and an American soldier of fortune, voiced by Akio Ōtsuka. The film explores the tension between selfishness and duty. Porco Rosso was released on July 19, 1992.
In 1995, Miyazaki began work on Princess Mononoke. Starring Yuriko Ishida, Yōji Matsuda, Akihiro Miwa and Yūko Tanaka. In Mononoke he revisits the ecological and political themes and continues his cinematic exploration of the transience of existence he began in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Both films have their roots in ideas and artwork he created in the late 1970s and early 1980s but Helen McCarthy notes that Miyazaki's vision has developed, "From the utopian visions of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind to the mature and kindly humanism of Princess Mononoke." The film was released on July 19, 1997 and was both a financial and critical success; it won the Japan Academy Prize for Best Picture. Yvonne Tasker notes, "Princess Mononoke marked a turning point in Miyazaki's career not merely because it broke Japanese box office records, but also because it, arguably, marked the emergence (through a distribution deal with Disney) into the global animation markets". Miyazaki went into semi-retirement after directing Princess Mononoke. In working on the film, Miyazaki redrew 80,000 of the film's frames himself. He also stated at one point that "Princess Mononoke" would be his last film. Tokuma Shoten merged with Studio Ghibli that June. During this period of semi-retirement, Miyazaki spent time with the daughters of a friend. One of these friends would become his inspiration for Miyazaki's next film which would also become his biggest commercial success to date, Spirited Away. The film was released on July 2001 and grossed ¥30.4 billion (approximately $300 million) at the box office. Critically acclaimed, the film was considered one of the best films of the 2000s. It won a Japan Academy Prize, a Golden Bear award at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival, and an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. In his book, Otaku, Hiroki Azuma observed: "Between 2001 and 2007, Otaku forms and markets quite rapidly won social recognition in Japan.", and cites Miyazaki's win at the Academy Awards for Spirited Away among his examples.