Monday, January 10, 2005

Talking about Miyazaki

In the Jan. 17 edition of The New Yorker, Margaret Talbot writes about famed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. For the magazine's online edition, Talbot discusses Miyazaki's films, influences and distinctive style:
Miyazaki is rather different from a lot of his contemporaries in anime, such as Mamoru Oshii ("Ghost in the Shell") and Katsuhiro Otomo ("Akira" and "Steamboy"), and, certainly, from the makers of shows like "Pokémon," "Digimon," and "Yu-Gi-Oh!" His characters don't have that big-eyed, anime look. His themes are less often science-fictiony or futuristic. Like a lot of the great British fantasy writers—C. S. Lewis or J. K. Rowling or Philip Pullman—he's very dedicated to realism in the service of fantasy, meaning that he makes little details (the way Chihiro kicks her toe into her shoes, or the way Haku the dragon falls when he's wounded) internally coherent and naturalistic. He's not into “Matrix”-like experimentation with the laws of time and space, which a lot of anime is. There's a great deal of human warmth in his films and, in “Totoro” and “Spirited Away” (2001) in particular, some nuanced attention to the psychology of children. At the risk of sounding just kind of besotted, his films are uncommonly beautiful. He has a very painterly sensibility. Finally, unlike a lot of animators, including his good friend John Lasseter, of Pixar, he isn't a fan of computer animation. He really favors the (now) old-fashioned method of hand drawing.