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The Late Works of Hayao Miyazaki : A Critical Study, 2004-2013

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Once a favorite of mainly art house audiences, Hayao Miyazaki's films have enjoyed increasing exposure in the West since his Spirited Away won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2003. The award signaled a turning point for Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli, bringing his films prominence in the media and drivingtheir distribution in multiple formats.

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Once a favorite of mainly art house audiences, Hayao Miyazaki's films have enjoyed increasing exposure in the West since his Spirited Away won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2003. The award signaled a turning point for Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli, bringing his films prominence in the media and drivingtheir distribution in multiple formats. "Once a favorite of mainly art house audiences, Hayao Miyazaki's films have enjoyed increasing exposure in the West since his Spirited Away won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2003. The award signaled a turning point for Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli, bringing his films prominence in the media and driving their distribution in multiple formats"--


McFarland & Company
Book Format
Original Languages
Number of Pages
Dani Cavallaro
Publication Date
November, 2014
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
10.10 x 4.70 x 0.60 Inches

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In her book, The Late ...

In her book, The Late Works of Hayo Miyazaki: A Critical Study, 2004 - 2013, Dani Cavallaro examines six movies produced by Studio Ghibli between 2004 and 2013 and directed or overseen by Miyazaki. She argues that these films represent an intensification of themes Miyazaki developed in his earlier work, demonstrating the core values that drive the director and inspire Studio Ghibli's productions. These themes, from environmentalism, an examination of the human impact of war, and tempered nostalgia, are readily apparent to any casual viewer of the movies: Howl's Moving Castle (2004), Tales of Earthsea (2006), Ponyo (2008), The Secret World of Arrietty (2010), From Up On Poppy Hill (2011), The Wind Rises (2013), and several shorts produced for the Ghibli museum. The greatest theme is nostalgia, though not in the manner understood by the West. Miyazaki's films evince a uniquely Japanese form of nostalgia in which one laments the loss of possibility, the loss of an era, while treasuring both its artifacts and that it existed at all. This theme, pervasive in Ghibli's films, is what elevates them above other animated features. Cavallaro's work draws upon her extensive research and understanding of Japanese culture, resulting in a compelling academic work. The casual fan of Ghibli or Miyazaki may find The Late Works of Hayo Miyazaki a difficult read, though, as its target audience is academic with a background in English or Film Studies. Despite this caveat, the book is an excellent work of scholarship coming just as Miyazaki retires and will lay the groundwork for further academic study on the director and Ghibli.

An absolutely fascinat...

An absolutely fascinating read. I'm a big Miyazaki fan and have seen his movies numerous times over the years, but author Dani Cavallaro is doing more than preaching to the choire. This study sheds light on the many facets of Miyazaki's works: his dedication to environmentalism, his optimism for the human race, his cynical views on uniformity - the themes of Miyazaki's later works are closely examined and presented in this thoughtful, thought-provoking study. Highly recommended for fans of Miyazaki, animation, or movies in general.

Excellent articles on ...

Excellent articles on Miyazaki's works, helping to bridge them together as a concise statement made by the filmmaker about our world today. The writing was clear and well organized, and was not over my head as many scholarly writings are about theme and development within a specialty artist's works.

Miyazaki has been a fa...

Miyazaki has been a favorite of animation fans ever since they could get their hands on his works from Japan. Bootlegs circulated for a long time, but mainly stayed in the animation world, given that the films were very different than what American audiences were used to. But in the early 2000's, thanks to John Lasseter and Disney, all US audiences were introduced to Miyazaki's masterpieces, beginning with Spirited Away, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2003. This book explores the 2004-2013 period of Miyazaki's career looking closely at six feature films he contributed to, including three that he directed. Cavallaro explores these "last" six films from Miyazaki's talented career as viewed through an academic perspective. Last is used in quotations, because although he has announced his retirement he continues to keep working to this day. Cavallaro does a good job of highlighting the themes seen in these films, all of which were released under the Studio Ghibli logo, which is Miyazaki's creative home. And while she does a decent job of talking about these films I had several issues with this work. The biggest issue for me, and the one many others have pointed out, is that she uses so much academic jargon that what she's trying to say often gets lost in trying to figure out what the words mean. Even among an academic audience this is sure to lose some readers. Not to mention the fact that this would be a book many fans of Miyazaki would have enjoyed if the language wasn't so academic in nature. The second biggest issue for me, is that it seems strange to only focus on the "later" works of Miyazaki, as from my perspective he hasn't had different periods like other filmmakers have. That's not to say Miyazaki sprung forth whole making the movies we know and love, but more that the bulk of his career with Studio Ghibli can be looked at as a collective. Miyazaki's films feature the same central tenants of strong female characters, a compelling story that often looks at natural and historical themes. This isn't something reflected only in his later years, but all of them. In addition, she also neglects that these themes that she mentions are less Miyazaki and more that Studio Ghibli in general operates under these themes. The studio was founded upon shared principles of the same collaborative beliefs and these themes that the films look at, even the ones Miyazaki didn't direct, fit into the overall look and pattern of the Studio. While these concerns detract from the book, the overall information and analysis is useful for any fan of Miyazaki. I would hope that a sequel, or prequel as the case may be, comes out that focuses on Miyazaki's earlier works, and takes some of these concerns into account. Review Copy provided by LibraryThing Early Reviews

I wish I could recomme...

I wish I could recommend this ER book to a wider audience, but The Late Works of Hayao Miyazaki is really only for Miyazaki enthusiasts, and even that group needs to be ready for an obfuscatory academic writing style. What saves the book is the enthusiasm of author Dani Cavallaro and some interesting insights and background facts sprinkled along the reading path. Miyazaki was the artistic force behind animated films like Spirited Away (which won the Academy Award) and My Neighbor Totoro. It was almost worth the price of the book (well, it was free) to get the forgotten (by me) Voltaire quote that she gives at the outset: "It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets." Miyazaki is a well-known pacifist, and anti-war themes repeatedly crop up in his movies. The author has some interesting discussions about that, particularly in connection with his movies Howl's Moving Castle and The Wind Rises. She also provides some fun anecdotes, like this one, from the director of the English version, about Lauren Bacall voicing the cigar-smoking Witch of the Waste in "Howl's Moving Castle": "We were a little bit scared before she came in . . . 'Oh, I don't know if she's going to appreciate being the voice of this blobby, fat, kind of disgusting character.' So we tried to explain to her a little before we went in that her character is maybe a little despicable. And she said, "Dahling, I was born to play despicable." Those who appreciate Miyazaki's artistry and attention to detail in his films will understand his retirement comment that what has mattered most to him is "animating a cut that barely even matters, drawing the wind well, doing the water well, and making sure the light shines right." Miyazaki declared The Wind Rises his last feature film because of his age. The author provides a good discussion of that movie's basis in the real life of Jiro Horikoshi, famed designer of Japan's Zero war planes used in World War II. Horikoshi was an engineer enthralled with the challenge of designing a sleek, fast airplane, but like his Italian counterpart Giovanni Caproni, knew his creation would end up being used for further killing in the war. This tension between a decent person's career based on his love of flight, and the purpose to which his work is put, makes for an ambitious and engaging final film. The author fairly presents Miyazaki's goal of "stimulating thought, instead of dishing out precooked morals." The book also gives us glimpses of short films on view at the Studio Ghibli museum in Japan, and the good news that Miyazaki will be devoting himself to creating more such short films in the coming years, even as he lets go of feature film-making. Mainly because of the unfortunate writing style (e.g. "Howl's intensification of the more serious facets of Miyazaki's vision is brought home not only by the film's sustained critique of ideological and political evils, but also by its exposure of hypocrisy and deceit within the microcosm of the family"), this one gets two and a half stars.

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Electrode, Comp-283036220, DC-prod-dfw8, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-30.0.3, SHA-fe0221a6ef49da0ab2505dfeca6fe7a05293b900, CID-d9aa0633-d01-16e8660809a957, Generated: Wed, 20 Nov 2019 01:15:01 GMT