Hayao Miyazaki class of 41. After many years as animator and director, he is now considered one of the world’s greatest. I can clearly remember how, when I was a kid, his movies were hard to find, hidden gems to be discovered for everybody outside Japan.
I was no more than fifteen, when an older friend, now sucessfull artist and colorist for Disney and Pixar comics, introduced me to Miyazaki’s art, during a funny summer weekend at his place, in the heart of Naples. He was astonished from how Miyazaki used to take care of every single detail, everys mall movement of his characters. He showed me how the water flowed in The Castle Of Cagliostro, Miyazaki’s first movie (1979), how the animation were incredibly fluid, or how unique and influent his mecha design would have been for future generation (and for my friend style too).
It was the ninetees, so no internet at home yet, finding less known movies for movies maniac as I was (am) were an endless struggle.
Time has changed. HM movies are no more a “secret”. In November 2014, Miyazaki was awarded an Honorary Academy Award for his career. He is one of the most loved director around, his movies and comics has been released everywhere. But there’s more in his legacy you can’t explain with words.
There’s poetry, in everything he does. You can feel the urgence, the need to spread a message of humanity and respect (for life, for the elders, and often for nature and mother heart, like in Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa), you can feel a bit more of himself, in all his movies. His art it’s his way to tell us how, at 76, he still have hope for human being. I like to think of him as in the famous pic as a sandwich man, demonstrating against nuclear. Or as the one who refused to attend 2002 Academy Awards out of protest over the American invasion of Iraq. Or again as the one who decided to keep all the movies from his studio Ghibli (named after an italian airplane, for his fascination for flight and aircrafting), at least 90% hand-drawn. I love to imagine the well known “Porco Rosso” ‘s line “i’d much rather be a pig than a fascist”, as shouted from his own voice.
HM announced his retirement so many times no one belives him anymore… Again, it’s yesterday news he is working on another movie, that will be probably hit the screen in a couple years since he is still working on the storyboards. And I’m pretty sure it won’t be his last.
With his art spreading around the world, his carachters have often become pop icons, for every sort of inspired merchindise. And, of course, tattoo subjects. I always thought that anime, comics and movies inspired tattoos must be divided in two big gropus: Perfect replicas, where a frame, a drawing, is reproduced from the artist in the style of the original (think at Adam Perjatel’s works, where anime characters are perfectly tattooed as traditional subjects), and reinterpretation, where the scene is reworked in the style of the artist. Both ways can be really good, when the tattooers knows his thing, and refuse to go for clichè designs. Both as an artist and a collector, when it comes to HM’s works, the beauty is already there to be seen, you just have to respect his view, and let his art inspires you.