Database for Animation Studies


A psychological meaning of creatures in Hayao Miyazaki's feature animations

The creatures that appear in Hayao Miyazaki’s animated features echo his mental states. At the moment when he spent twenty years working as an animator, he was in a midlife crisis. It seems that the fatally destructive power of the giant caterpillars and the humanoid robots, respectively in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Laputa: the Castle in the Sky, is a sublimation of the aggressiveness of Miyazaki situated in a midlife crisis. Getting over such a crisis through these two films, he tried to depict Japan in My Neighbour Totoro on a point from which he started his own career. At the same time, it seems that enough equipped to realise his creativity in Studio Ghibli, he felt as if he were almighty like Totoro who is able to control nature. On the other hand, however, he was emotionally left unconnected with the production crew members, while being much criticised by some talented members. His isolation is seen in the process in which Kiki and her black cat Jiji get to be unable to communicate with each other In Kiki’s Delivery Service. Their communicative relationship is recovered when Kiki comes out of her slump (with her independence established) and Jiji is now a father. This means that Miyazaki obtained a patriarchal role among his crew. And in Porco Rosso, he depicted himself as a pig character enjoying a life of leisure. Princess Mononoke is an extension of wisdom resulting from his working on the story of death and resurrection in Porco Rosso and the manga version of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Princess Mononoke is a message with the wisdom of nature (Miyazaki) delivered to encourage the audience (younger generation).

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