The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

El Cid by the month
Subscribe by text message!
We send out SMS updates when we publish a new post. Enter your details below to subscribe.

In your normal local format.

Free SMS Notifications powered by Clockwork SMS.

The Art of Storytelling

Hong-An Phan
Miyazaki’s latest film was featured on a variety of media such as YouTube advertisements and social posts. Anyone with access to a digital device likely experienced the breathtaking animation and wonder of Studio Ghibli’s trailer.

Along the plentiful groves of abundant foliage, the heron’s cerulean feathers arch into a swift ascension to the alluring horizon. The vibrant hues bleed into flickering flames that swirl into a tantalizing haze, smoke blurring the edges of the boy’s figure as his body is swallowed into the dark.

Words alone cannot describe the harrowing depth that Hayao Miyazaki imparts to his work. Every minute detail is one placed with an evident passion. From the coloring to the animation, themes of humanity, nature, and growth are executed flawlessly for viewers to interpret. In combination with the bewitching scores composed by Joe Hisaishi and the captivating voices of the cast, Studio Ghibli’s recent production, The Boy and the Heron, tells an entrancing story of a boy’s journey to find his deceased mother. 

After one week at the box office, the film stood with a domestic gross of $23.1 million and was later nominated for two Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture- Animated and Best Original Score- Motion Picture. Miyazaki received his first Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture- Animated, which, according to BBC News, marked his film as the first non-English animated piece. One month after its release, the film received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Picture. 

These honors will be added to his long list of accolades including three Academy Awards nominations and one Oscar. But if one were to include the list of awards garnered by all creatives involved in the process of creating Studio Ghibli films, the record would be endless. Even amongst the English-speaking cast of The Boy and the Heron, notable celebrities such as Christian Bale, Florence Pugh, Robert Pattinson, Gemma Chan, Dave Bautista, Mark Hamill, and Willem Dafoe have recognized the privilege of working alongside the famed storyteller and received their roles with the honor of an award. 

However, these voices are not the only recognizable actors who have collaborated with Miyazaki. In the past, creatives such as Hailee Steinfeld, Uma Thurman, Kirsten Dunst,  Lucy Liu, Kacey Musgraves, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Stanley Tucci, Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, Josh Hutcherson, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Kirsten Bell, Daisy Ridley, and Elle Fanning have also been featured in Studio Ghibli films.

These notable figures were drawn to Miyazaki’s illustrious career. But the remarkable legacy this storyteller built himself was carefully crafted over years of work- all of which originated from his office in suburban Tokyo.

Born on January 5, 1941, Hayao Miyazaki was raised in a world of wonder. His father directed Miyazaki Airplane, a company whose main objective was to manufacture parts for Zero Fighter planes- vehicles used by Japan during World War II. Miyazaki’s passion for airplanes is featured in many films, where themes of freedom and flight are highlighted across his filmography. 

This interest in planes was the reason for Studio Ghibli’s namesake. Founded in 1985 by Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, and Toshio Suzuki, the small animation studio sought to be the wind blowing through the film industry. According to Linearity, ‘Ghibli’ is a term originating from Italian roots, with a Libyan meaning for “hot desert wind.”

The growing company was funded by Tokuma Shoten, a publishing company from the Tokyo suburbs. Miyazaki’s breakthrough film had attracted interest while he was an animator for Toei. Alongside director Isao Takahata, the movie “Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind” had garnered substantial success- empowering Miyazaki to start his animation studio. 

Only a year later, Studio Ghibli released Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986) which became Japan’s highest-grossing animation film of that year. But success only demands more hard work, and the humble studio had to rise to the growing demand for their magical films.

A Nippon Television Special covered the making of Spirited Away (2001), Studio Ghibli’s only film to earn an Oscar. Cluttered desks filled with papers and pencils border crowded rooms, with dim lighting illuminating the studio at 11 pm. It is at this time when the animators have their dinner break, choosing to share a dish prepared by a fellow animator. Miyazaki himself participates in this work, opting to cook instant ramen for fellow animators to share.

Still, the endless passion and dedication have bore fruitful rewards. Yet, even with these awards, Miyazaki lives a life focused on nature, taking in the world on his paper and pencil, “It’s in everyday, ordinary scenery, where I discover the extraordinary.” 

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Hong-An Phan, Editor in Chief
Native to San Diego, Hong-An Phan is a Co- Editor in Chief for Dons Press. After three consecutive years as part of the staff, Hong-An is looking forward to writing compelling articles that connect and touch many. She hopes that her craft excites those around her and sparks a curiosity about the world around them. Outside the walls of her Journalism III Honors classroom, Hong-An can be found trying new food places, shopping with her friends, cooking fusion foods with her sister, or reading a book from her collection of 90+ novels that she is very proud of.

Comments (0)

All El Cid Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *