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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

REVIEW: Journey into world of Miyazaki

Photo by Anna Houston ([email protected])
Wall at Hayao Miyazaki’s exhibit at the Academy Museum.

The world of director, animator, producer, and creator of Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki, is one of lush landscapes, lovable characters and daring journeys. This all began as a child enthralled with drawing and telling stories. Little did he know that he would grow, now age 81, to create countless award-winning animated films for both children and adults that have touched the hearts of many audiences worldwide, landing him an exhibit at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.

The exhibit pays homage to the Japanese creator’s work beautifully. A large wall adorns the outside of the exhibit featuring colorful paint, bits of moss, and photos of characters from his most well-known films including Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle and Totoro from “My Neighbor Totoro” among others. Fans lined up outside to snap pictures with their favorite characters before entering the exhibit. Once inside, no photography was allowed in order to fully immerse audiences into the experience.

The large double doors creak open as a tunnel of trees surround fans various shades of green lights cascading down from the ceiling, allowing you to fully enter a space that feels like you are in one of Miyazaki’s masterpieces. In the background, you can hear sounds of Joe Hisaishi’s score from the film “My Neighbor Totoro.” Hisaishi’s resume includes over 100 movie scores, including many of Miyazaki’s films.

This wasn’t the only interactive piece of the exhibit, including the countless sketches and posters that littered the walls. There is another large tree on the journey through the museum. Unlike the tunnel, this tree stands directly in the middle of the walkway. Cascading down from its large wooden trunk are green ribbons and fairy lights that move as you walk underneath it.

Finally, fans journey into an expansive space that features a circle of grass in the middle, it is slightly elevated on one side to allow guests to lay down and look up at a simulation of a blue sky as clouds drift past. These are the moments that Miyazaki goes out of his way to create in his films. Within his plots of witches and princesses and war, he always makes the time to show characters watching the waves roll in or enjoying the company of the forest. Miyazaki’s passion for the planet also shows in his plots such as in the film “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” as a princess tries to defend the creatures of her home or in “Ponyo” which features scenes depicting the trash and grime that lies beneath the ocean waves.

Upon exiting the exhibit, guests find a statue which greets the family in Spirited Away as they enter a magical world of dragons and spirits alike, but also is seen in the back window of the car as the family leaves at the end of the film. It signifies the beginning and the end of a journey, allowing guests to reflect on the experiences they had while in the exhibit.

Overall, the exhibit focused on Miyazaki’s work thoroughly, featuring art from all of his films while simultaneously allowing guests to immerse themselves in natural landscapes like those within the films. It was able to encapsulate all of the amazing things that only Miyazaki could do, allowing audiences to appreciate the detail and dedication put into his work during his over 50 year career.

This story was written by Anna Houston. She can be reached at [email protected].

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