Hayao Miyazaki

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Miyazaki and his films- in particular his early work- generate a lot of key themes and motifs that I personally can connect in visually compelling ways. I think his insistence on using hand-drawn frames brings something more personal to the animation, and gives it a life CGI or other purely technologically derived models could not do. His film work is still quite varied, though the central themes carry- either subtly or directly- throughout. He does use linear narratives, but with great visual and written metaphors, telling his viewers many things about the interactions between man and nature, man and machine, or man and man. His life and influences can be seen overtly in many of his early pieces, though Princess Mononoke stands out as a more obvious example (e.g. the introduction of warfare, the destruction of natural land for "economic betterment", etc). His work does become a bit more softer and readily accessible to younger audiences as his career continues, though in large part I would owe that to the influence of Disney on his work. In either case, Studio Ghibli makes some very powerful statements on the nature of morality. I appreciate that his work does not simplify issues to a base dichotomy, instead showing that people are not simply good or evil, but operate on a broader plane. He shows how perspective can change a villain into a hero and back again.

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