When it comes to the anime film world there is no doubt that Hayao Miyazaki is a legendary animator. Each of his films are outstandingly beautiful dubbed by many as artistic masterpieces. So what news about his already critically acclaimed films could have all his fans bursting with excitement?
Studio Canal has announced that after years of hope and anticipation that they are finally releasing on December 8th The Hayao Miyazaki Box Set. Yes, you have read it correctly, you can now purchase all 11 of the Miyazaki Studio Ghibli directed films in one box set. The collection will come in exquisitely designed case representing the many films inside. It will also include an exclusive booklet with essay, commentary and analysis, perfect for all you film buffs out there. The absolute icing on the cake though is that each film is coming in captivating HD blue ray quality, turning all your old favourites into whole new film experiences.
So with saying this let’s just take a moment to look at what the collection will include and go over each of the fairy tales you can experience.
1. The Castle of Cagliostro
Lupin the Third, The Castle of Cagliostro is the directional debut of Hayao Miyazaki. The film, originally released back in 1979, follows the tale of mischievous thief Lupin also known as ‘Wolf’ as he begins he latest adventure in the land of Cagliostro. As with everywhere he goes Lupin is quickly involved in corruption, but this time he is the good guy, exposing the evil Count’s counterfeit money business and saving the beautiful princess. The film is fun, fast paced and packed with action, it’s digital HD re-mastering as Blu Ray makes its only the more entertaining to watch.
2. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Nausicaä of the valley of the wind, released in 1984, is the visually spectacular second debut of Miyazaki. The film steers away from traditional adult themes usually depicted in anime and stands as a perfect representation of Miyazaki’s influence from Sci Fi & fairytales. It follows heroine Princess Nausicaä, as she desperately tries to stop two warring nations from not only destroying themselves, but also their already perishing planet too. This film is not only mesmerisingly pretty but is also full of life lessons, ones that feel symbolic and ever so prevalent to today’s society.
3. Castle in the Sky
Castle in the Sky, out in 1986, is the first film to be produced and released by Studio Ghibli. The film follows the story of a young orphan boy Pazu, who begins an adventure with Sheeta a young girl carrying a magical crystal, who literally floats into his life from the sky. The pair begins a journey to search for the storied castle in the sky, facing the obstacles of pirates and secret agents along the way. This visually imaginative film is perfect for all the family with its straightforward morals and charmingly relatable characters.
4. My Neighbour Totoro
My Neighbour Totoro, released in 1988, is arguably one of the most celebrated films from the Studio Ghibli collection. It is a children’s tale for all the ages, following the heart-warming story of young sisters Suske and Mei who have moved to a new house with their inventor father. As they start to explore, the sisters begin to discover that the woodlands and creatures around them are rather mystical. The story is undeniably enchanting; it carries on the ecological message on from Nausicaä of the Valley along with themes of wonder that are awe inspiring, innocent and simple. The portrayal of the little girls, their family unit and life issues in general are realistic which adds to its allure.
5. Kiki’s Delivery Service
Kiki’s Delivery Service, out in 1989, is another nod towards Miyazaki’s love of aeronautics. It presents the tale of a young teen witch named KiKi, who has set out on a year long adventure of independent life with her faithful cat JiJi. Kiki begins her personal journey as soon as she lands in her new town learning to overcome rejection and loneliness. She soon finds her place as she uses her flying abilities to her advantage and starts up her own delivery service. It really is a wonderful story about the troubles of growing up, facing obstacles and finding your own path, something that is sure to touch the hearts of all its viewers.
Porco Rosso, released in 1992, is based on a three part watercolour manga of the same name made by Miyazaki. The story revolves around the life of ex Italian war veteran Marco Pagot, now known as Porco Rosso, who was once a handsome man, but a mysterious curse caused for him and his squadron to turn into anthropomorphic pigs. He now lives his life fighting against villainous air pirates in a bid to do what is right. The film is packed full of adventure and is extremely humorous which makes it a delight to watch, even though some of its underlying themes are very serious. It again represents Miyazaki’s passion of aviation, catching the feel of flying with scenes that help you feel in the moment.
7. Princess Mononoke
Princess Mononoke was Miyazaki’s first film back after his five year break from film-making. It is often stated that it is least pure and in fact the most violent film of his to date. Released in 1997, Princess Mononoke broke box office sales in Japan straightaway. It follows the story of Ashitaks, a young warrior who is on a quest to find the cause of the demon curse that affected the boar he killed and that bit him. On his travels his finds himself amidst a brutal war between the ancient gods and the forces of modern civilisation. This epically crafted film makes an apt statement on the ecological destruction that is constantly brought on by modern day advancement in civilisation.
Spirited Away is often coined as Miyazaki’s best loved film. On its release in 2001, it became the highest grossing film in Japan topping Titanic and also went on to win the Best Animated Feature Academy Award. The Alice In Wonderland style story follows brooding 10 year old Chihoiro as she and her parents are moving home. On a pit stop they come across the entrance to a strange ghost world, her parents are tempted into eating the food of the spirits which subsequently turns them into swine. Chihoiro is left alone and extremely scared, as is forced to take a job in a magical bath house run by a wicked sorceress Yoruba. She soon realises that the staff and customers are gods, demons and monsters; she must fit in, in an attempt to free her parents from their curse. Visually this gorgeous film is faultless, with imaginative inspiring scenes that will leave you fascinated.
9. Howls Moving Castle
Howls Moving Castle sees the return of Miyazaki’s magicians, castles and his undeniable love of flight. The film released in 2004, was adapted from a book by British author Diana Wynne Jones of the same name. It revolves around the story of plan young hatter Sophie, who after a run in with the guards is rescued by the handsome powerful wizard Howl. After a visit from the Wicked Witch of The Waste who is in love with Howl, Sophie finds herself with a curse that has turned her into a 90 year old woman which she cannot physically speak off. In a bid to find a cure Sophie finds Howls Moving Castle, making lots of friends and helping Howl to fight his own demons. This film is full of stunning animation with a storyline that is unique and charming characters that will engage you fully.
Ponyo, released in 2008, stands as Miyazaki’s own take on Hans Christen Anderson ‘The Little Mermaid’ is possibly the most adorable of all his films. It tells the story of a young princess fish Ponyo who ignores the restraints of her father, alchemist Fujimoto, and fights to go to live in the human world with the little boy she loves Sosuke. Ponyo is transformed into a little girl as her bond with Sosuke grows, however having a magical fish turned girl walking on the shores imbalances the mystical levels of the world. Fujimoto and Ponyo’s mother Sea God Gran Mamare put Sosuke and Ponyo’s love to the test, if their love proves true Ponyo can stay a human forever and balance will be restored. The exquisitely drawn scenes are coloured to pastel perfection, relaying a dream like sea world where love can truly conquer all.
11. The Wind Rises
The Wind Rises is the fitting swansong to Miyazaki’s career. Released in 2013, the film stands as a perfect representation of Miyazaki’s legacy giving a considerable nod to creativity, invention, inspiration and his belief that in the pursuit of ones dreams that anything is possible. The story follows Jiro, a near sighted young man who dreams of designing and flying crafted airplanes. After joining a major engineering company Jiro works hard and achieve his dream, going on to becoming the world’s most innovative airplane designers. Miyazaki uses the character of Jiro as means to communicate to the audience the inspiration and vision that helped coin his whole career. A beautiful yet heartbreaking story that helps Miyazaki say his final farewell.
The box set alone with the booklet full of insights will also include a bonus disc with Hayao Miyazaki’s official retirement press conference, a wonderful insight for huge Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli lovers.
So if you are a massive Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki fan then why not treat yourself, pick up a copy of this sensational collector’s item and let his passion live on.
The Hayao Miyazaki Collection is available to own on Blu-Ray now.