To be honest, I never liked anime. I always thought the pseudo-realistic styles and almost cheesy storylines were of rushed ideas by small, cheap set-up studios, mass-producing movies like they’re selling half-filled wasabi peas jars — tangy, but nonetheless unsatisfying. I took care to avoid myself from creating an interest in such cinematography.
Until I was introduced to Hayao Miyazaki. Not in person, of course; I’m not the kind of person to have the famous persuade me into buying things (unless it’s Steve Jobs). But I was introduced to him, through his anime films.
I don’t know whether it was an interview I watched about Pixar’s John Lasseter, when he mentioned Miyazaki’s films as one of the greatest films he’s ever watched, or whether it was the craze, present amongst my friends and colleagues, and their almost useless urges to make me watch Miyazaki’s films — but whether it was that or not, it worked.
I began with My Neighbor Totoro. And then right after that, Ponyo. It wasn’t until I’ve finished watching The Secret World of Arrietty, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle that I realised I’ve fallen in love with his films. Never in any other movies like Pixar’s have I ever empathised so much with the characters in each film. Miyazaki’s movies have pseudo-realistic characters with heart. Storylines made of moose milk cheese.
It was then when I watched Miyazaki’s masterpiece, Spirited Away, an Oscar-winning epic that delighted the world-renown, that I realised I’ve succumb to an obsession with anime. But not just any anime of course, (I still had to be careful). I became obessesed with Miyazaki’s films.
I wanted to watch them all (secretly, a life goal of mine I’ve yet to complete). I watched Princess Mononoke, Laputa - Castle In The Sky, even his underrated films, like Whisper of The Heart (my personal favourite) and The Cat Returns. Even now, I’m still waiting for the English release of his latest film, From Up On Poppy Hill, set to arrive onshore in theatres this March.
There’s a term for this, even stronger than the word obsession itself. But whatever it is, it still isn’t enough to describe how I felt watching through each of his brilliant films. The reason why it is like this however, is still yet for me to figure out. Maybe it’s just my obsession over details. Maybe it’s just the fact that I can see the work and effort made to put these films out with true quality. Maybe, it’s because I think Miyazaki’s the Jobs of anime-filmmaking.
Or maybe, just maybe, I’m just that mad enough to watch them all over again.