Essays · Movies

Miyazaki Dreams of Flying: A New Video Explores the Animator’s Recurring Fascination

By  · Published on March 2nd, 2017

From Kiki on her broomstick to ‘The Wind Rises.’

As do most all storytellers, revered animator Hayao Miyazaki returns to certain themes in his work: children coming-of-age, the realms of spirits and other such supernatural forces, a (dis)connection to nature, Japanese Nationalism, a respect for the past, and overcoming weakness. But perhaps the most prevalent of Miyazaki’s recurring themes is the idea of flight as freedom.

From avians to aviators, Miyazaki is obviously fascinated with flight, as it factors in some form into every film he’s made, culminating with The Wind Rises from 2013, which is a biography of real-life Japanese aviation engineer Jiro Horikoshi.

In the following video from Zach Prewitt made for our friends at Fandor, all instances of flight from Miyazaki’s movies have been compiled, along with a little context from the animator’s own life that shines a spot on the origins of his interest – which are rooted in his childhood during World War II and the many planes he saw in the skies overhead – as well as his dichotomous obsession with weapons of war and anti-war sentiments.

More than a mere compilation, Prewitt provides meaning for this recurrence, as well as the variety of ways in which it manifests and the impact it has on the narrative and the audience. The result is a deeper understanding and appreciation for the colorful mind of Miyazaki and how it works.

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Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist