Joe Hisaishi in Budokan was a series of concerts given in August 2008 to commemorate both the Japanese theatrical premiere of Ponyo and the 25 years of musical collaboration between composer Joe Hisaishi and film maker Hayao Miyazaki. This massive concert featured performances of these signature Miyazaki film scores composed by Hisaishi, conducting from the piano, and the 200-member New Japan Philharmonic World Dream Orchestra, along with six featured vocalists, the 800 combined voices of the Ippan Koubo, Ritsuyuukai and Little Singers of Tokyo choirs, plus a 160-piece marching band. Altogether there were some 1160 musicians and singers on stage, backed by images from Miyazaki's films projected on a giant screen. The almost two hour long show is on YouTube in HD, for your viewing pleasure.
If you recognize the name Hayao Miyazaki, it's most likely due to his anime films. But along with his involvement in animation, Miyazaki has produced some manga and illustrated story books. Part of the reason his work in still images is less known is lack of translation and distribution. That's where the fans come in, digging up and translating many Miyazaki works, back to his first published manga, which was a serious serialized work, in 1969-1970. [more inside]
Among the anime films by Hayao Miyazaki made available in English translation, Spirited Away contains the most folk and Shrine Shinto motifs. The central locale of the film is a bathhouse where a great variety of creatures, including kami, come to bathe and be refreshed. This feature, plus the portrayal of various other folk beliefs and Shrine Shinto perspectives, suggests that Miyazaki is affirming some basic Japanese cultural values which can be a source of confidence and renewal for contemporary viewers.
"In Japan, animation is not seen as the exclusive realm of children's and family films, but is often used for adult, science fiction and action stories, where it allows a kind of freedom impossible in real life. Some Hollywood films strain so desperately against the constraints of the possible that you wish they'd just caved in and gone with animation." -- Roger Ebert on anime, with this excerpt being related to Tokyo Godfathers. Ebert has been a fan of anime for a while, especially the works of Hayao Miyazaki. Ebert has reviewed 6 of the 18 Studio Ghibli films released to date, and even interviewed Miyazaki with a bit of fanboy glee. More reviews and videos inside. [more inside]
Among Hayao Miyazaki's masterpieces are Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind, Princess Mononoke, and, most recently, Spirited Away. With the April 15 US release of Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Laputa: Castle in the Sky, an Academy nomination for Spirited Away, and Disney's commitment to release re-dubbed, re-mastered versions of Miyazaki's films in the US and worldwide, the American public is getting more acquainted with this legend of animation. Miyazaki's films are not your regular anime [more inside...]
More than a year ago, MetaFilter discussed a petition to bring "Spirited Away," the newest full-lenth animated movie by Hayao Miyazki, to the US. Released in Japan as Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, it is the most popular movie ever released in Japan and has it's US limited release this weekend. Do you think "Spirited Away" will "break through" to a wider American audience when Princess Mononoke didn't? What a wonderfully fantastic movie!
Online petition to bring Spirited Away, Japan's currently largest grossing film, to thje states. Disney owns the domestic rights to all of Hayao Miyazaki's films (think Princess Mononoke) and has no plans to release Spirited Away.