Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese film director, animator, manga artist, illustrator, producer, and screenwriter. Through a career that has spanned six decades, Miyazaki has attained international acclaim as a masterful storyteller and as a maker of anime feature films and, along with Isao Takahata, co-founded Studio Ghibli, a film and animation studio. The success of Miyazaki’s films has invited comparisons with American animation magnate Walt Disney. He is considered one of the most popular and influential animators in the history of animation cinema.
I grew up with some of the anime series he worked on and his style and stories have shaped who I am today. My love for anime and animation and the reason I became an animation artist lies in the work of Hayao and some of his pears from Japan. Most people only know his recent works since Princess Mononoke. Others have seen some of his earlier masterpieces, but for the few who will explore beyond, there awaits a wondrous world of stories and characters that will touch your heart.
My fondest memories go to Heidi and Conan, two stories that could not have been more different from each other and jet Miyazaki made them unforgettable for the lucky kids like me who where able to see those series.
Another TV series that I have to mention is his version of Sherlock Holmes in the animal world, a co-production with Studio Pagot and RAI television from Italy. Since I grew up in Italy and followed this profession I am particularly proud of that connection.
One last walk down memory lane goes to Castle of Cagliostro and Miyazaki’s involvement in the production of the first few Lupin the 3rd episodes, another of my personal favored.
Was it the stories, the designs or the magic of animation that had me hooked so early in my life, I was 10 when I saw Heidi? Either way Miyazaki’s influence was instrumental in my quest for becoming an animation artist. Maybe it were his 3 signature elements, the wind, clouds and flying that in some way are ever present in all of his works.