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Symbols in animated films of Hayao Miyazaki

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Beisi Zhao

on 18 September 2013

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Transcript of Symbols in animated films of Hayao Miyazaki

Topic 5- Symbolism in Hayao Miyazaki By Timothy Nguyen, Daniel Wang and Beisi Zhao
All in all, Hayao Miyazaki is a legendary filmmaker that utilises animation and symbols such as characters and objects to convey themes of relevance to the audience such as greed and love in both animations: Howls Moving Castle and Spirited Away to entertain audiences with not only intricate animations, but with deeper ideas in his symbolism.
Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanse filmmaker that has made over 11 feature films including: Howls Moving Castle, Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro and Castle in the Sky. He is well renowned in Japan as a legendary director and his animations all have symbols and stories behind them. The ones that we will be analysing today are Howls Moving Castle and Spirited Away
Themes in The Animations
Hayao Miyazaki uses themes that that he thinks are existent in this world itself. They include greed, love, the difference between good and evil, flight and the transitioninto adult hood with its independence. Hayao Miyazaki relates with modern audiences around the world with the way he expresses his themes through animation techniques and symbols.
The Witch of the Waste, although depicted as being ruthless and heartless, deep down just wishes for Howl's affection, further pushing the symbol for love. For this reason she takes Howl's heart. She realises after that she would be happy if Howl was happy and gave Sophie the heart which symbolises the actions that love can make.
Symbolism in Howl's Moving Castle Cont
Howl's Moving Castle is an animated film created by Miyazaki and again contains many if the stereotypical themes and symbols included in his previous works. The power of love is a strong theme in the film, shown to play a large role in transpiring the events of the film. Howl who was obsessed with magic, sacrifices his own heart to form a contract with a devil in the form of Calcifer. As a boy who needs to know how to love since he has no heart, and runs away from the problems that he doesn't want to face.
Examples of symbolism in Howl's Moving Castle
Sophie's love for Howl also enables her to break the Witch's aging spell through her love for Howl. More importantly though, the materialistic view of society upon individuals is symbolised in Howls Moving Castle. Howl hides away his hideous bird form, the witch casts a spell to make herself look younger than her actaul age and Sophie is worried when she is turned into an old woman. The strong feminine presence in Sophie, The Witch of the Waste reinforce the themes in his animations and symbolise the flaws in societies.
Symbolism in Howls Moving Castle Cont
Spirited Away is another famous animation by Hayao Miyazaki which explores many contemporary issues in societies. The greed of indivudals is a siginificant theme in Spirited Away. The people in the spirit town all only care about their own well being and try to gather as much gold from No Face as possible. No Face symbolies the glutonny in todays society with his ability to make gold from his hands and in which all the workers do his biding.
Examples of Symbolism in Spirited Away
The blurred line between good and evil is another theme expressed in Spirited Away. Zebuba the main antagonist in the animation, is not entirely viewed as evil in the eyes of the audience. She loves her baby Boh and views herself as being 'nice' accepting other peoples contracts whenever they ask. In society, people judge people upon their own morales and Zebuba is symbolised as the sly and greedy indivudal who with her own morales doesn't trust anyone else. This may not necessarily mean evil even if some aspects of it are.
Symbolism in Spirited Away Cont
Another theme in Spirited Away is the transition into adulthood and the burden that comes with it. Sophie is a spoiled child, who doesn't know much of the world before the complications in the film. Throughout the film she transitions into an adult, taking up more responsibilties such as work and matures. She symbolises the innocent child who matures as she is infected by society to become a mature adult with her own responsiblities and burdens.
Symbolism in Spirited Away Cont
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