Who loves Miyazaki?? I do!!
I’m trying to remember the first time I saw a Hayao Miyazaki film. I know my boys were pretty young – at tops 5 and 8 years old – based on my memory of where we lived while we watched them. I’m pretty sure we rented a DVD (or VHS, even??) from Vidiots, and that once we watched one, we had to watch EVERY Miyazaki movie that was available at that moment. Well, not Princess Mononoke… yet. A little graphic, that one.
Previous to our discovery of Miyazaki, we had explored everything Disney. The older boy liked to pause Bambi and draw from the stills. We also loved everything Japanese. Japan’s influence was there from the beginning for me because my dad had been stationed in Japan after WWII. My husband and I had both grown up collecting Japanese stickers (how I loved Hello Kitty!) and watching Speed Racer. As parents we had made sure our boys were exposed to everything from the wonders of eel sushi in Little Tokyo to Giant Robot on Sawtelle.
Back to Miyazaki… We started with Panda! Go, Panda! (screenplay by Miyazaki), The Cat Returns (executive producer), and Porco Rosso (director and story). Next, I think we got into Kiki’s Delivery Service (director, producer, writer) and Castle in the Sky (writer and director). We didn’t have access to any more films that we knew of until years later with the American releases of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (my favorite film, period!), and Howl’s Moving Castle.
I could go on FOREVER about my favorite Miyazaki characters, but this Clothes Story is about Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle who I wear so proudly on my shirt above. I’ve read on the internets that many a young girl has fallen in love with the Howl of the novel, Howl’s Moving Castle, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was true about the movie character. I love this writer’s read of the movie’s metaphors, especially of seeing the moving castle as representing Howl, himself with it’s many faces, baggage, and stealing away to undisclosed locations. I have a similar character in the graphic novel I am working on. Who doesn’t love a complex, dark, love interest who hides his heart behind a shallow-seeming front? They are irresistible – especially when he is a ridiculously handsome wizard with at least three different names, secretly doing good deeds and secretly falling in love with his 90 year old cleaning lady! (Ooh! Another similarity to my project!) I love Howl because he illustrates that our higher self is always within reach, and sometimes it is witnessing another’s acts of love – in this case, Sophie’s – to move us toward embracing that higher self.
Oh, and Morrissey, “A Heart’s a Heavy Burden” NEEDS to be the title of your next album. Hello, Morrissey? Can you hear me??
Photos by Evan Hartzell.