magical miyazaki

a few months ago, i was exposed to my first ever hayao miyazaki film, princess mononoke. to say the least, i was amazed. it was fantasy like i have never experienced. from the first frame, you can feel the magic in the movie. ashitaka's tribe's agony in letting him go, his absorption of the world beyond his own, the forest spirit, and the symbolism of the whole movie swept me away. i have watched it many times since then. every time, when the little tree spirits click in laughter, i laugh with them. i stare in awe when the forest spirit walks by him for the first time, when it pauses for a second against the light as ashitaka fights his cursed arm. when the forest spirit is beheaded, you can feel everything around you wither away, you feel guilty for the world you're in.

it was this magic that compelled me to watch the next miyazaki film i did, spirited away. and spirited away i was. i was as unsure about the place as chihiro was in the beginning, shocked and confused when her parents turned into pigs, even more confused when haku assures to help her. her meeting with the boiler man and his many hands, with those tiny little creatures bumping into her makes me laugh. through her travails in the bath house, i felt her determination. i love the way haku turns into that majestic dragon. in this movie and in princess mononoke, i was interested in how miyazaki makes friendship such an easy and trusting bond between people. her love for haku takes her on that beautiful, melancholic train journey along with the most unlikely of companions. then, her meeting with the warm zeniba reassures us that everything will be fine. when she figures out where she met haku before, she says, "i knew you were good", and even here, i smile every time i watch it. the way they fly together, holding hands, and he says, "that's why i can't find my way home.."

yesterday, i watched howl's moving castle. miyazaki is such an enticing storyteller. sophie, the plain girl who is always made fun of for being ugly, is rescued by handsome howl, a wizard who flies her into the bakery. then, the witch comes to see her, and the magic has only begun. this movie was delightful. as the story tells itself slowly, it leaves many moments to simply cherish. what i loved was the way sophie's age changes, from young, to middle aged, to old, according to how much she loved howl.

the magic in these three movies is so touching, and so real, that it doesn't seem like fantasy at all. i like fantasy because it whisks me away to worlds completely different and disconnected from the world i live in. fantasy is that exciting because it sucks you into the place the creator has imagined, through the eyes of the people who live there. the stories are understood at that fantastical level, and completely mesmerise by their exaggeration of what you might have considered simple. the point of fantasy, i think, is to simply let yourself go. it is to defy what is real, and immerse yourself in a world created by the power of many dreams and many dreamers. it is when you allow yourself to explore what you little know, and then feel the little treasures of this exploration.
and miyazaki, i think, is one of the most striking of these dreamers.


Me said...

hey girl! how you been?

Suvesh said...

Being a huge anime fan, and a great fan of Princess Mononoke in general, I would suggest you watch the series 'Seirei no Moribito' (Guardian of the sacred spirit)

It is extremely visually appealing. If you're getting into this stuff, also check out http://bateszi.animeuknews.net/
for other awesome anime out there.