Anime fans are in debt to Studio Ghibli for giving them not only some entertaining movies, but memories that are etched eternally in their minds. From proffering the mesmerising urban sites of Tokyo to the lush green countryside of Japan, Studio Ghibli’s aesthetics are phenomenal to date and behind them is the master and curator of all those timeless scenes, the Picasso of the animated world, Hayao Miyazaki.
This 80 years old artist gave some of the most stupendous anime movies with a perpetual significance. I still remember waiting impatiently for one of the local movie channels to play My Neighbour Totoro on weekends. Totoro of 1988 eventually became the most loved global character; and this was just the beginning. This magically realistic movie with traces of fantasy was the beginning of how Miyazaki’s fantasy was created and in 1989, he gave the exceptional young witch a nip of reality, and that’s how Kiki’s Delivery Service was put in place.
Miyazaki’s genius not only lies in the metamorphism of magic but his inclination toward ecocentrism becomes the central gist of Princess Mononoke (1997) and Ponyo (2008), whereby creatures unearth the magic of nature which is at the verge of extinction because of the human race. This made the harsh critics believe that there was an intrinsic and serious effort of gingering up humanity against natural disasters which are certainly the consequences of their actions.
Though, Miyazaki’s artistic adroitness spoke of his genius in every single movie, yet Spirited Away (2001) is this prodigy’s magnum opus that gave subtle hints about the ongoing social degeneracy existing in a society unmitigatedly swathed in the candy of magical spirits. It gained international attention toward his cultivated platform of ideas.
In 2004, once again Howl’s Moving Castle was an emblem of his effulgence because it holds the second-best work of his life, where magic met love. This touch of subtle romance was highly revered by his fans, which became a minute theme for his 2013’s final work, The Wind Rises. This time he experimented with an autobiographical animation where the amalgamation of love and catastrophe yielded a grandeur that touched global audiences anew.
Nevertheless, this was an end of a golden era as this illustrious artist announced his retirement, casting a glum silhouette over the scintillating sky of the animated world. Many of the intransigent fans were not ready to bid their farewell to this genius this soon, yet his past work served as a source of pacification for a long time, till the chains of silence were unchained and Miyazaki once again decided to step into the animated world with the hope of creating one last work for creating an unflinching legacy of his own.
I find this on a solemn winter morning as I am exploring several articles of The New York Times with my cappuccino and suddenly, this headline blows my mind that Miyazaki comes out of retirement to come up with a “fantasy on a grand scale”. Well, I have the image of the 80-year old sweet artist in my mind pacing leisurely into his studio, rubbing the blotches of time away from his palette and reckoning to create characters that live up to standards one last time.
The burning question at this point is what are the grand elements carving a grand fantasy this time? Will it be an ingénue spirit bewitching the viewers with simple acts of honesty or an audacious and unwavering princess codifying her path in the course of the world? Whatever it is, it would surely be keeping the waiting ones lose their sleep over this idea, but one thing is certain; and that is the idiosyncrasy of this grand idea as Miyazaki’s palette knows well to create images which are enchanted from the time they breathe on the screen.