My friend sent me this Youtube video entitled, “Hayao Miyazaki- The Essence of Humanity.” After watching this short film, I didn’t realize how much Miyazaki and I have in common in regards to our philosophy and aesthetics on human emotion and realism through art.
- Subtleties help convey a character’s personality. I pay great attention to the subtle details that are within characters in anime and novels. It helps me get a better depiction of them.
- Empathy. As readers and viewers, we tend to have the habit of evoking our own personal feelings and values into a character which further brings them to life or in other words, make the character more human.
- Observation. I don’t consider myself a social person, but I do like observing other people from afar. If you just go people watching, I think it will help you understand people and yourself better. Furthermore, just by observing people, it will help you with character development in your storytelling. However, you should still interact and socialize with others too.
- Morality is more complex than we think it is. In stories, we are given a problem that shows good vs. evil, and as the audience, we can easily pick which side to be on. However, Miyazaki takes this notion a step further, complicating the idea of good vs. evil. Every character he creates has positive and negative traits within him or her. As a result, it makes a character more human because of these imperfections, and as audience members, we question our morals of what is right or wrong.
- A good story is one with a sense of realism. Characters are imperfect and have flaws, just like normal humans do. These characters should have dreams and desires; thus, they must overcome obstacles in order to achieve it, and along the way, they are able to grow as better people. There is also a sense of unpredictability in the characters’ lives. Just like in real life, we aren’t sure of our future pathways and are not fully prepared for what life throws at us; therefore, by conveying characters that must face and overcome unpredictable circumstances and misfortune, characters become more humanized.
- Emotion is key. Achieving a goal isn’t as important as the journey that the character goes through in a story. Characters must be able to adapt to a world that isn’t centered on their needs. It is through this journey that the character achieves emotional and spiritual growth, which is similar to how humans obtain wisdom through life experiences, good or bad. The short film discusses how the setting and the silence of the character admiring the scenery is a moment of heighten emotion. It allows the audience to feel empathy towards the character and also allows the audience to be self-reflective on their own inner persona.
Miyazaki’s philosophy in animation is similar towards how I interpret the different visual art and media I read or watch. This short film made me appreciate Miyazaki more not only as an animator, but a humanist too.