Review: Starting Point

Hayao Miyazaki is a conflicting person. One second optimistic and uplifting, the next disillusioned and bitter. Miyazaki would at times exclaim the world was heading to a meaningless place before backtracking and extolling the beauty of innocence and the promising future found in children. He would cheer nihilistically at the end of the bubble era, while deeply sympathetic and regretful towards the declining fortune of the toddling new age, now known as the lost generation. Miyazaki’s opinions have shifted back and forth throughout the years. His bitterness was often softened by optimism; his idealism dampened by his disillusionment.

Hayao Miyazaki has questions. Some of which he had found answers which were turned into films. Some he had found through working on films. Some remain unresolved to this day. At times, Miyazaki was at a loss, not knowing which step to take. There were occasions he would take his time, and figure it out before moving on. Other times, he would move on regardless. In this book are his moments of confusion and clarity, entwined with disappointments and excitements. In this book is Mizayaki the person, highlighted by his outspoken and frank personality, not always confident or sure of himself, yet always optimistic in finding the right path forward.

My Neighbor Totoro, along with Spirited Away, left deep impressions upon me as a child. I don’t remember much of either film, but when I think back to them from time to time, warm feelings always fill up inside me. In this book are essays worth to be read time and time again. With each read, hopefully I get closer to the root of the films Miyazaki created and to the root of my own childhood.