Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Top 5 Hayao Miyazaki Films!

As I've stated before there are only a handful of directors whose entire work collection (film-wise) I've seen. You may still be surprised to know Kurosawa is not among them (real hard to get ahold of his early stuff). Alas Japanese anime director Hayao Miyazaki is among the select few who I really enjoy, and have seen all of his feature length films (there's only 10 so it's not like that hard to have seen them all).

The follow is my top 5 favorite Miyazaki films in descending order:


A heartfelt and enjoyable adventure film, Porco Rosso (The Crimson Pig) follows the journey of
ex-war fighter pilot Rosso who has since been turned into a pig. Finding out why, the journey he takes, and the friends he makes along the way is simply a beautiful affair. Visually stunning, and with awesome voice work (Jean Reno's french dubbing is to die for, Michael Keaton in english ain't too shabby either), it's just one of those movies I really enjoy watching over and over again.


Full of heart, Miyazaki's romantic adventure is perhaps one of his most all around family accessible films. Filled with action as we uncover the mystery behind the mysterious girl and her crystal. The fun characters along the way only add to the experience. The only thing I would say is avoid the English dubbing of this at all costs (I mean it's horrendous). Beyond that this adventure tale is beautifully drawn, creatively developed, and fully immerses you into its world.


Strong female character, environmental issues, human morality, all wrapped up into an action packed animated fantasy film. The framework of just about any Miyazaki film, Nausicaa's journey to save her dying planet is an absolute thrill. The action is perfect, the dialogue amazing, and it's one of the most heartfelt of all his films. You can feel the bond created during Miyazaki's years spent writing the manga version (which he self-adapted). The care for the characters, creatures, and world, it's a sight to see that's for sure.


Breaking the barrier, and combining hand drawn animated with cgi created effects, Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke is one of Miyazaki's crowning visual achievements. A straight forward fantasy film with amazingly detailed characters, riddled to the frame with action. The movie simply hops right off the screen and into your mind, as these characters journey to save the forest, and the lives they've built. The dark pasts, the hopeful futures, selfish, and selfless, it's simply got it all. One of the greatest anime films ever, a top 100 film for me, I simply can't praise it enough.



Out of all of Miyazaki's work, Spirited Away is, in my mind, without a doubt his greatest achievement. Visually awe inspiring with hand drawn animation, and creativity, that'll baffle any viewer's mind. Incredibly in depth characters, powerfully analyzing the difficulties of a child in over her head. Not to mention the movie is packed with comedy, situations, and heart. The story of Chihiro, her journey, and what she gains along the way is one of the more breathtaking of Miyazaki's tales. The kind of movie you revisit often just to be absorbed by the sheer depth to which the world has been given.

Well, that's my top 5 Miyazaki films!
For completeness sake, and if you're curious here's how the rest would be rated:
6. Howl's Moving Castle, 7. My Neighbor Totoro, 8. Lupin the Third: Castle of Cagliostro, 9. Kiki's Delivery Service, 10. Ponyo.

So, what are your favorite Miyazaki films?

7 better thoughts:

Robert said...

Spirited Away is my favorite too! Howl or Kkiki would probably end up in the top five somewhere but your list is great. Miyazaki is a genius.

Castor said...

Spirited Away would also top my list! Such a beautiful movie. I haven't seen Nausicaa so I need to work on that one.

DEZMOND said...

to be honest, Uni, I fell asleep while watching SPIRITED AWAY (the spirits must have taken me away), and I watched PRINCES MONONOKE as well (and enjoyed the colours), but didn't like it. I think you need to love anime and manga style a lot in order to really like these Asian animated movies.

Univarn said...

@Robert thanks. Howl gets lots of praise, and I need to revisit it one of these days.

@Castor Get too it, Nausicaa's animation may be a bit outdated, but definitely not its story.

@Dezmond It's ok. For these you don't really have to love anime so much as the way the story's are told and what they center around. If the subject matter and allure don't fit for you, you'll definitely be bored. But that's fine, I'll watch it plenty in your stead :P

elgringo said...

Ponyo! Ponyo! Ponyo! Best Miyazaki movie/song ever!
I'm a big kid, I guess, because Ponyo, My Neighbor Totoro, and Kiki's Delivery Service are my Top 3.

Great list though, even better screencaps, haha.


Aiden R. said...

Dude, I feel shame. I've only seen Spirited Away and Mononoke of these five. I need to fix that immediately. Personally consider Mononoke his best, but won't knock anyone ever for putting Spirited Away ahead of it.

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