Christmas is a joyful event because it’s a time to set aside our worries and challenges, be together as a family and celebrate Christ’s birth. And what a better way to make your Christmas meaningful this year than to share a good story with your family and friends while waiting for the clock to strike twelve?
A good anime will something different. Plus, the kids can have something to busy themselves with while preparations for the Christmas Eve dinner and entertaining guests are in progress.
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Your audience will expect you to show Christmas-themed videos.
Hayao Miyazaki is a recognized name in Japan (and in the anime community worldwide) as one of the pillars of the anime industry. His creative flair for making illustrations come to life and characters so endearing you talk about them like they’re for real has made his name synonymous to classic masterpieces.
His works always connote positive outlooks in life even in the midst of trials. While he writes with the younger audience in mind, his attention to detail and engaging plots make his works a favorite with the adult audience as well.
A listing of feel-good works is included in the latter section of this post. You definitely can’t go wrong with the Miyazaki doing the storytelling for you. And while you’re online, learn more about the man behind the works, his love of aviation and of nature in general.
Hayao Miyazaki Links
This is the animation studio headed by Miyazaki and associates. Interestingly, Ghibli is an Italian word and is pronounced jee-blee (or ji-bu-ri or Japanese). The term means “hot wind blowing through the Sahara Desert”, and was alluded to Italian scouting planes during World War II.
If you think that sort of trivia us very interesting, wait till you get to visit the link below! The official Studio Ghibli site is in Japanese actually, so go visit the next best thing: Nausicaa.net/wiki/Main_Page. This site is so comprehensive, one media outfit mistakenly took it for the official Studio Ghibli site!
Also called GhibliWiki (NOT an official Studio Ghibli site), this is one spectacular site! The people behind its contributors have put up one excellent, one-stop, English website for enthusiasts of Miyazaki’s works.
Nausicaa.net gives you news on Studio Ghibli‘s past projects as well as upcoming works, museum shorts, articles, essays and biography on Miyazaki himself and FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), his colleagues, and detailed descriptions of the movies they have come up with. A must-visit for Miyazaki fans.
Here are some films you can share with your family and friends this Christmas season:
Kaze no Tani no Nausicaa (Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind)
Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind is made up of talk of warring kingdoms with the occasional acts of heroism here and there, but this masterpiece is really against war and promotes ecological conservation.
Warning: At the time Nausicaa was released, a “heavily-mutilated” version came out called Warriors of the Wind without the knowledge of its creators. And though this version came from the original, it being cut and diced is nothing short of appalling, making it lose its essence.
Tenkuu no Shiro Rapyuta (Laputa: Castle in the Sky)
The film’s soundtrack is amazing and is composed by Joe Hisaishi (a lot of music for Studio Ghibli movies are his composition). The tracks range from peaceful and beautiful serenity to grand and majestic. This Laputa: Castle in the Sky soundtrack truly is a classic that you won’t mind passing along to your kids.
Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro)
Totoro is a subtle film compared to the adventures that can be had with Nausicaa and Laputa. The Totoro is a forest creature that becomes a friend of two girls whose mother is gravely ill.
Majo no Takkyuubin (Kiki’s Delivery Service)
The story revolves around Kiki, a 13-year old country girl from a family of Witches. As Witch training traditions dictate, she leaves home to settle in a new city.
The movie teaches the importance of determination in accomplishing your goals, as well as the importance of friendship.
Kurenai no Buta (Porco Rosso)
It became immensely popular, and with Miyazaki’s love of aviation, the story became a full-length movie. This is a fun film, made from the creator’s love of flying, starring a pig pilot who does daredevil stunts, saving the day from air pirates.
This film has an interesting history. Aside from becoming popular during its time, it also spawned competition from Nippon Airlines to release an anime similar in theme. The battle for the skies even hit cinemas. It was a great summer in Japan at that time.
Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)
You may also selectively view Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke) if your audience is on the teen to adult level (largely due to some violent scenes, not Christmas-y at all).
A young boy named Ashitaka is injured by a demon while defending his village. Cursed to die, he leaves the village in hope of finding a cure. His journey leads him to Irontown, led by Lady Eboshi, who is attempting to take the nearby forests for herself.
For the fans, The Art of the Princess Mononoke book shows the bit of the genius at work with his concept art, sketches, and painted images.
After the movie was released, there was that rumor about Miyazaki retiring after this award-winning masterpiece, but he is far from doing that.
Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away)
At ten years of age, Chihiro and her parents move to the boonies, which she’s none too happy about. Glumness turns to unease when Chihiro’s dad makes a wrong turn, placing the family in front of a mysterious tunnel.
The film has won an Oscar and even people who don’t know it’s good know it’s good. Its strongest theme is its representation of what childhood is like and a lot of inspiring lessons.
I can go on and on here but there are definitely a lot more of Hayao Miyazaki’s work for you, your friends, and family to enjoy this Christmas.
So give your family and friends the gift of Miyazaki’s mastery of storytelling. It will be an event to be remembered year after year.