The Critique of Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki is a famous Japanese anime director who has made a number of titles that will grow well into the future. I personally love anime in general however the creations from Studio Ghibli have really caught my eye on so many levels. Looking at the film Ponyo, the scene starts out with an orchestrated melody and a man in a large bubble on a submersible boat surrounded by sea creatures deep within the ocean depths. Hayao Miyazaki has a way of showing the mundane or what humanity takes for granted, to be something of beauty and wonder.

Ponyo & Sosuke

The audience are shown the characters and their journey, how human intervention has impacted the environment (quite blatantly expressing his thoughts through the characters lines), the social ramifications to opposing traditional values, simplicity of everyday life, how to deal with life’s up’s and downs with a splash of the unordinary. There is a great deal of emotion portrayed within each scene, the characters look and react in a natural way to the partaking situation. Every part of the scene has something going on in it not just the main character, Hayao Miyazaki passionately looks over every frame…yeah crazy right. The colours, framing and detail are either something out of a painting or drawn for animation.

“You see, whether you can draw like this or not, being able to think up this kind of design, it depends on whether or not you can say to yourself, ‘Oh, yeah, girls like this exist in real life. If you don’t spend time watching real people, you can’t do this, because you’ve never seen it. Some people spend their lives interested only in themselves. Almost all Japanese animation is produced with hardly any basis taken from observing real people, you know. It’s produced by humans who can’t stand looking at other humans” (Victor, 2017,

His statement reveals a few clues to Hayao Miyazaki’s belief and what motivates him to create such beautiful masterpieces. The first being able to watch others and not in a creepy way but rather, observe how a single person interacts with their environment and how the environment interacts with the person. Second he has realistic expectations meaning if a character and environment were to meet and interact with an imaginative character, the results would be bound by our world’s rules.

Pazu & Sheeta

“3D animation is a disease that robs artists of creativity” (Andy, 2018,


“Disney movies have black & white storytelling that creates adults with a dangerously righteous view of morality” (Andy, 2018,


“Telling famous Japanese movie directors their WWII movies are dumb and they’re just abusing history for propaganda reasons” (Andy, 2018,


“Telling a Ghibli animator working on Princess Mononoke that, the kid’s never known suffering because if he did he’d be a better animator”  (Andy, 2018,

Miyazaki is not a fan of technology so much perhaps due to his upbringing (which explains why he hand draws a lot of his work) and shows a strong distaste to war, as he discovered the plane parts made by his family’s business was used to supply the war effort in WWII while later on his mother had become sick and passed away. Each moment in his life he has been through emotional turmoil and has channeled this through his creative abilities, not just to show the world but remain true to himself. Hence disliking Disney’s storytelling techniques, by showing unrealistic expectations and how they impact the lives within society.

Sosuke & Ponyo

 “In 1958 Miyazaki became interested in animated movies, his imagination having been stirred by Hakujaden (Legend of the White Snake), a motion picture that was produced by Toei Animation and was Japan’s first colour feature-length anime” (unknown,

This I found to be quite interesting, because I personally found the film unattractive and boring but then again back in those days they wouldn’t have dreamed of thinking up the things we have today. Miyazaki had originally majored in economy and science however his heart was into making manga (comic books), for a lot of the children were very much interested in reading such exciting stories back then.

After researching into Miyazaki’s motivation to the films he makes, I found the journey to be enlightening and a little disappointing. Since the basis of these wonderful films is a collaboration from the sadness in his life. I sense a cliché perhaps? I am however still fresh within the film industry, maybe in time I will understand the Director a little bit more, in the mean time I will enjoy his creations as what they are, an amazing adventure!

ARRIETTY un film de Hiromasa Yonebayashi




Unknown. (2018). Hayao Miyazaki 1941–
Retrieved from

Victor, V. (2017, 01). Saw plenty of anime.
Retrieved from

Andy, C. (2018, 01). Scholar of Asian Arts past to present.
Retrieved from

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Image 3 – https://www.regmovies.commoviesponyo-10th-anniversary-studio-ghibli-fest-2018B0064531292

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