Mr. Miyazaki incorporated this value throughout most of his movies, anime shorts and manga, even as he produced remakes of classic English and Arabian children literature (The Wonderful World of Puss in Boots, Animal Treasure Island, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Heidi, the Girl of the Alps, 3000 Leagues Under the Sea in Search of Mother, Future Boy Conan, Anne of Green Gables and Sherlock Hound). He is not above mixing good values with romance, however. He does it with a subtle flair even. Howl’s Moving Castle is full of tender moments with the main characters, balanced with crazy antics and comedy. In the end, the only one kiss marred the child-friendly theme going on.
It was a tragedy for me, when he declared his intent to resign as a director somewhere in 2008. Then he went on to make more movies until 2013. At the latest, he is said to produce and finish another movie called Boro the Caterpillar. There’s no knowing when he would really stop from making stories. Probably not.
All these talk about his works will make an impression that he is a workaholic director. Well, admittedly this contains truth. His personal life is peppered with poor communication with his sons. The mere fact that he married an animator is probably a testament of having his world revolve around his work. In an interview, he has been reported to declare that he does not want his son to be an animator like himself, and that he will not force a sense of anime dynasty in the family. Yet, he was supportive of his son’s venture with anime anyway.
At the moment, he is way past retirement age (he is 70 plus years old) and is looking forward to pass the baton to younger counterparts. The issues surrounding Ghibli studio did not help. There were problems with the anti-war messages he was trying to convey on The Wind Rises (2013). This story was about a man who wanted to design planes but backed off from the idea of installing weapons into the planes themselves. As a background, there is actually a part in the Japanese constitution that considers war as a way to end international disputes, and the director was, in effect, actively against it. Because of this, the Japanese director was labeled as anti-Japanese by the locals. For his credit, he has stood firmly on his convictions. There was even one incident when he refused to go to an American comic convention because he heard that the country was waging war in Iraq.
In addition, Mr. Miyazaki has expressed his concerns over the current trend to highlight shallow otaku and pedophilic styles. The former refers to the excessive obsession of people to anime, up to such extent that people literally dropped out of normal life to immerse in anime: watching anime all day long, buying anime merchandise, dressing up as such and daydreaming of having relationships with the same (think anime role-playing games and this Japanese guy who was reported to have married an anime character in 2009). He also mentioned some anime featuring female characters with huge breasts and children that mixed sexual over and undertones. For him, anime is only one way of making a great story with the intent to pass on good values on children and adults.
No wonder he wants to take a breather and be out of such stressful industry.
I hope he does want to produce more films in the future though. We need more men like him in the film industry, anime or not.