Hayao Miyazaki
15 Images

Hayao Miyazaki, an animated icon

Hayao Miyazaki
Retired animator-director Hayao Miyazaki’s visual and written style, often infusing stories with spirits and beings brought forth from nature, have worldwide appeal. Here are just a few of the more popular films that he had a hand in either directing or writing. (Jun Sato / WireImage / Getty Images)
‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’ | 1984
In a post-apocalyptic world long infected by monstrous insects and a toxicity that renders most of Earth uninhabitable, Princess Nausicaä explores these habitats in hopes of nursing the land back to health. She then finds herself having to stop a nation intent on destroying the toxic land. ()
‘Laputa: Castle in the Sky’ | 1986
Foreign agents who want to harness the powers of a legendary castle in the sky have captured Sheeta, a girl with an amulet that is the key to the floating city. Sheeta escapes and is found by Pazu, an orphan boy with flying know-how who protects her as they race to beat the agents there. ()
‘My Neighbor Totoro’ | 1988
A young girl named Satsuki finds it easier to cope with her family’s recent move and the suffering of her ailing mother when she befriends a forest spirit named Totoro. Satsuki’s younger sister disappears after a sibling spat, and in desperation, Satsuki pleads for Totoro’s help. ()
‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ | 1989
When 13-year-old witch Kiki sets off to live on her own for a year, as per witches’ customs, her insecurities cause her to lose her ability to fly and speak to her cat. Kiki’s confidence is put to the test when an airship accident endangers Tombo, a local boy who has a crush on her.  ()
‘Porco Rosso’ | 1992
“Porco Rosso” centers on the adventures in love and rivalry of an Italian World War I fighter pilot who leaves the force to be a bounty hunter after the rise of fascism. The twist is that this flying ace has been cursed to look like a pig.  ()
‘Pom Poko’ | 1994
As Tokyo expands with more suburban developments to accommodate the growing human population, wild tanuki find their habitat is diminishing and must use their metamorphic abilities and various tactics to stop the encroachment. The Isao Takahata film credits Miyazaki with the idea of the story. (Studio Ghibli)
‘Whisper of the Heart’ | 1995
When Shizuku follows a cat riding on her train and discovers an antique shop, she befriends Seiji, the shopkeeper’s grandson and aspiring violin maker. Their friendship helps Shizuku realize she has her own dream -- to write. Miyazaki wrote the screenplay based on the manga by Aoi Hiiragi. (American Cinematheque)
‘Princess Mononoke’ | 1997
While protecting his village from a boar spirit, Prince Ashitaka is afflicted with a fatal curse and journeys west to find a cure. His quest leads him to San, a girl raised by a wolf spirit, and the ongoing struggle between ancient forest spirits and a community of humans.  (Studio Ghibli)
‘Spirited Away’ | 2001
Chihiro and her parents are moving to a new home when her father takes a wrong turn that leads the family, unknowingly, to the entrance of a spirit realm. There Chihiro meets a boy named Haku, and with his help she starts working at a bathhouse for spirits while she tries to save her parents.  (Studio Ghibli)
‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ | 2004
After an encounter with a mysterious wizard, later revealed to be Howl, Sophie is confronted by the Witch of the Waste and turned into a nanogenarian. To break the curse, Sophie seeks out Howl’s castle and moves in disguised as a housekeeper. The film is based on the novel by Diana Wynne Jones. (Nibariki / Walt Disney)
‘Ponyo’ | 2008
A fish named Ponyo makes friends with a human boy, Sosuke, and wants to become a human girl. The pair go through many trials, including the flooding of Sosuke’s home, in order to have Ponyo remain a human girl.  (Disney)
‘The Secret World of Arrietty’ | 2010
In this film based on a series of children’s books by Mary Norton, Arrietty, a tiny person who survives by “borrowing” things from the larger world, befriends the sickly human Shawn when she is accidentally seen. She stays friendly with the boy as her family begins the process of moving away. (Studio Ghibli)
‘From Up on Poppy Hill’ | 2011
When their school’s newspaper building is threatened, a trio of high school students campaign to keep it standing. Two of the students fall in love and realize that they have a long-lost history. Set in 1963 Tokyo, the film is based on the Japanese comic by Tetsuro Sayama and Chizuru Takahashi. (Chizuru Takahasi / Tetsuro Sayam / GKIDS)
‘The Wind Rises’ | 2013
“Kaze Tachinu,” as it’s known in Japan, is a biopic of Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the Zero fighter plane, which the Japanese used during World War II. This final Miyazaki film is very different from his usual fantasy-based animated family movies. (Disney)
1/15