April 14, 2015
What Animation is to Me
"If I were asked to give my view, in a nutshell, of what animation is, I would say it is "whatever I want to create." To Miyazaki, animation isn't about entertainment, and it isn't just about an animated series, but it's also commercials, experimental films, and theatrical features, but rather it's something he wants to create. Something he really wants to work on. It isn't just 'animation' to him, it's an experience. During the creation of his animations, he tends to struggle and suffer a lot throughout his process, and sometimes he'll also have to compromise in order to make his films the way he imagines them. This is why one of his older films, Future Boy Conan, wasn't just animation to him. It was something he wanted to create, as well as something he greatly enjoyed working on. In other words, he is doing something with animation that can't be done with manga magazines(Comics), children's literature, or live-action films. He's talking about building a truly unique imaginary world, tossing in whatever characters he likes, and then creating a complete drama using them. That is what animation is to him.
Wanting One's World
According to Miyazaki, animation, or anime, has become an extremely popular topic and interest among "mid-teens," and especially among middle school students. During the preparation of his college entrance exams, Miyazaki had been more passionate about manga than any other time of his life. This, he believes, is due to that period of time in a young person's life where we appear to have a great deal of freedom, yet in many ways are actually still very oppressed. He believes that when people find themselves to be powerfully attracted to a member of the opposite sex, that they really have to start cracking into books. In order to escape from this depressing situation, people often find themselves wishing that they could live in a world unknown to even their parents. To young people, anime is something that they can incorporate into this private world of theirs. Miyazaki often refers to this feeling as a yearning for a lost world, a world where you can let go of your constraints in the real world and can do all sorts of things. It's that feeling that he believes is the reason to why mid-teens are so passionate about anime. I, personally, agree with his theory of young teens wanting their own personal world. I tend to daydream about my own little world in many occasions. When I'm on a long car ride, waiting for someone or something, and even when I'm just laying in my bed. I like to have my own world that no one else can visit and imagine. This world of mine helps me feel human. It helps me get away for all of the stress currently built up in my life, and it helps me calm down when I need it. My little world is how I fall asleep at night. I travel to that special place in my mind where I can be alone without any distractions, where I can do whatever I feel like doing at that very moment until I drift off to sleep, often dreaming about my world.
Due to the fact that everyone, regarding their age, experiences nostalgia, and the fact that as we age the depth of nostalgia increases, it is one of the fundamental starting points for most people involved in creating animation. Since human history exists in a continuum holding both the past and the future, the moment someone is born into this present instant, in the case of this memoir 1978, he or she has already lost certain opportunities or possibilities, including the chance to be born into other ages. Yet we can still enjoy ourselves in different fantasy worlds
. And this yearning for other, lost possibilities may also be a major motivator for animators. Though not mentioned, I believe these lost possibilities and personal worlds are the main inspirations for many films, both animated and live action. To me, I think these two things were very important for the creation of many Ghibli films. All but one or two of Miyazaki's films that I have watched were based either in made up worlds, or realistic, even actual places, but with a twist of some sort of spirits, made up creatures, and even unrealistic objects and technology/machines. All of these unrealistic and strange things in Miyazaki's films were obviously extracted from his imagination, but I can't help but wonder if they really cam out of his own personal world.