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Home > Media Reiews > News Review Last Updated: 14:52 03/09/2007
News Review #101: February 4, 2003

'Spirited Away' Wins Animation Award

Reviewed By Hitoshi URABE

"'Spirited Away' Wins Animation Award"
(by The Associated Press) New York Times


Hayao Miyazaki is recognized as one of the most creative storyteller using anime, a method which has not been necessarily regarded as a sophisticated means to convey a meaningful message, where perhaps Walt Disney was a rare exception.

Born in 1941, after being graduated from Gakushuin University, he started his career as an animator with Toei, a major movie company. After switching to a smaller filmmaker specialized in anime a few years later, he gradually began to reveal his talent.

He started writing "Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind" in a form of a comic strip in 1982 for 'Animage', a magazine dedicated to comic strips, and it gradually brought peoples' attention. "Nausicaa" was put onto film in 1984, and despite, or perhaps because of, its serious theme and sober representation, it attracted a significant volume of audience, many of which were to become dedicated admirers. (In fact, the comic strip version of "Nausicaa" continued on the magazine to be completed a decade later, in 1994, by Mr Miyazaki, making it a story of its own, apart from the anime version.)

Since then, he has created a number of anime movies, "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" (1986), "My Neighbor Totoro" (1988), "Kiki's Delivery Service" (1989), "Porco Rosso" (1992), and "Princess Mononoke" (1997). "Princess Mononoke" set a new record for a Japanese film by earning more than $150 million, and was the first of his anime to be formally introduced abroad, winning recognitions of foreign critics.

There was no doubt for "Spirited Away" to become a hit within Japan, as it was a long awaited anime by already established admirers of Mr Miyazaki, and was brought out with ample and effective advance publicity. But apparently Mr Miyazaki was somewhat skeptical about it being accepted abroad as he was uncertain as to whether the theme and sentiment of the film could be understood in cultures outside Japan. Winning the Golden Bear, the grand prize, at Berlin Film Festival blew away the cobwebs, and cleared the way for global success, critically and commercially.

"Spirited Away" should bring in their minds of young people almost forgotten memories of fairies and witches, along with new hopes. And, of course, this anime is recommended for adults who claim to have grown out of fantasies, for them to recoup that zest.

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