by Jennifer Evans
In the eco- and nature-centric worlds created by Hayao Miyazaki, Nature and her minions are both punitive and beneficent, depending on the inner motivation of the receiving character. The slideshow below discusses the natural benefactors in five of Hayao Miyazaki’s works: Future Boy Conan, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away. These works epitomize the idea that those with internal motivations to harm or steal from nature are punished, while those with altruistic motives are forgiven, rewarded, or assisted by Nature. It also provides an overview of the Academy Museum and the Hayao Miyazaki exhibition. Enjoy the slideshow!
The Natural Benefactors of Miyazaki’s Universe
Castle in the Sky (Japanese Language). Hayao Miyazaki, Amazon Prime Video, 1991.
“Chase.” Future Boy Conan. Hayao Miyazaki, S1E7, Nippon Animation Company, 1978, Amazon Prime Video.
“Finale.” Future Boy Conan. Hayao Miyazaki, S1E26, Nippon Animation Company, 1978, Amazon Prime Video.
Hayao Miyazaki Exhibition. 30 Sept 2021 – 5 June 2022, The Academy Museum, Los Angeles, CA.
Napier, Susan. Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art. Yale University Press, 2020.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (English Language). Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Amazon Prime Video, 1987.
Niebel, Jessica, and Toshio Suzuki. Hayao Miyazaki. DelMonico Books, 2021.
Princess Mononoke (English Language). Hayao Miyazaki, Amazon Prime Video, 1997.
“Sheeta.” Ghibli Wiki, https://ghibli.fandom.com/wiki/Sheeta.
Spirited Away (English Language). Hayao Miyazaki, Amazon Prime Video, 2003.
“The End of Industria.” Future Boy Conan. Hayao Miyazaki, S1E25, Nippon Animation Company, 1978, Amazon Prime Video.
3 thoughts on “The Natural Benefactors of Miyazaki’s Universe”
Exciting to see this slideshow, our first class project from 421HM, going live!
First of all, I love the way this slideshow functions as, almost, a recap of our whole semester! It’s quite an “anthology” of images and observations.
Secondly, I appreciate the diagram of the Academy exhibition layout! I did something similar in my notebook while revisiting the exhibition during our April field trip, but my diagrams aren’t as good (scribbles, really).
Thirdly, you observe in conclusion that Miyazaki often depicts Nature as “a benevolent entity, willing to forgive those who altruistically work to right the wrongs of the greedy.” I guess that’s so, although the destructive power of Nature always comes to mind too. Sometimes this has a moral dimension — as you note, the greedy and careless are punished by natural forces — but in some case, such as the recreation of the Great Kanto Earthquake in The Wind Rises, the destructive force seems not punitive but fundamentally disconnected from any human sense of right or wrong. Hmmm?
The theme and content of the powerpoint really brought everything we learned in class all together. I also find your point of how nature is willing to forgive almost everyone who is gentle with the natural world very intriguing. This point made me think, will there every come a time when humans have gone too far? Is there a limit of no return? Great presentation!