Editorial: Intro to Miyazaki May

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May sees the continuation of themed months. From the small pockets of reactions, I’ve gotten in my personal life, admitting to not seeing a Hayao Miyazaki movie is akin to a cinematic sin. Well, your honour I now stand here ready to watch and review some of Miyazaki’s films for May. In my defence: despite my early love of animation, courtesy of the 90s Disney Renaissance and the studio’s classic hand drawn efforts, the genre has not held my interest in my adult years. I’m hoping this changes with Miyazaki’s films.

Last month, I only managed to watch and review three movies as opposed to the advertised four. This was because I was feeling a little burnout in the middle of the month, which caused me to fall behind. I did not think the quality of my fourth review would match the rest, so I decided to abandon it. Sorry for any disappointment caused. A review of Dario Argento’s Dracula will turn up in another themed month (down the road).

With this in mind, I will only be watching and reviewing three movies this month. I’m still fortunate enough to be working from home on a full time basis, but it does mean that my output is slightly reduced. In terms of selecting which Miyazaki’s movies to watch, I’ve gone for the films that I’ve most wanted to see (due to striking me in terms of subject matter or critical consensus etc). I’m also going to watch the original versions with Japanese dubbing and English subtitles. I think this is a no-brainer to respect Miyazaki’s vision.

Like last month, down below are the titles for the month along with a brief comment and where you can watch them.

Princess Mononoke (2001)

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This is not only my introduction to Miyazaki but also my first dip into the genre pool of Japanese high fantasy. Out of all the movies I’m covering, this is the one I’ve been most curious about. Princess Mononoke is available to stream on Netflix.

Spirited Away (2003)

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This is the one Miyazaki film that’s broken into the mainstream in terms of critical acclaim and his talent. I’m eager to see if it lives up to its celebrated status. Spirited Away is available to stream on Netflix.

The Wind Rises (2014) 

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The Wind Rises was on my radar when it was originally released in 2014. What put me off was that it was touted as Miyazaki’s last film. I did not think I could speak to it meaningfully because I had no prior knowledge or relationship with the rest of his movies. Hopefully, that can change (slightly) when I cover it for Miyazaki May. Like the other two films, The Wind Rises is available to stream on Netflix.

In the meantime, what film out of the lineup intrigues you the most? Which Miyazaki films have you seen? Let me know in the comments below.

About Sartaj Govind Singh

Notes from a distant observer: “Sartaj is a very eccentric fellow with a penchant for hats. He likes watching films and writes about them in great analytical detail. He has an MA degree in Philosophy and has been known to wear Mickey Mouse ears on his birthday.”
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