BY CAMMI KANEKO
Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese animator, filmmaker, screenwriter, cartoonist, author, and manga artist. He is most famous for his work within Studio Ghibli, making beautiful and whimsical worlds within his movies. In 2013, he announced his retirement from movie making and shifted his focus towards the Studio Ghibli museum in Mitaka, just outside of Tokyo.
Despite stepping away from filmmaking, Miyazaki’s legacy and work continues to inspire and spark joy to countless viewers. And now there’s an opportunity for you to experience this joy by watching some of his greatest work on the big screen at Seattle’s Central Cinema for just $5 throughout the month of May. The movies that are screening — Porco Rosso, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Ponyo, and Princess Mononoke — are special because not only are they aesthetically pleasing, they tell stories of heroism, heartbreak, love, and magic. The portrayal of these themes paired with the lovable and relatable characters make for beautiful films, leaving the viewer feeling nostalgic and wistful.
May 4-8: Porco Rosso (1992)
Porco Rosso is about a brave pilot’s journey to stop sky pirates in planes as they attempt to terrorize wealthy cruise ships. It is based on Hikōtei Jidai ("The Age of the Flying Boat"), a three-part watercolor manga by Miyazaki. Porco Rosso is a former World War I pilot who was mysteriously turned into a pig during the war. With the help of his longtime friend Madame Gina and mechanic Fio Piccolo, Porco Rosso prepares for the battle of his lifetime.
May 10-15: Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
Arguably one of his most famous and widely received films, (the first to become available in the U.S), Kiki’s Delivery Service is a coming of age film about a 13-year-old witch and her talking cat, Jiji. Kiki sets out on a yearlong apprenticeship, only to realize the hotels have a strict “no witches” policy. With the help of many strangers she befriends, Kiki starts her delivery service. One day, she is not able to use her broom nor talk to her cat—it seems as though her magic powers disappeared!
May 17-22: Ponyo (2009)
Ponyo is the fourth-highest-grossing anime film of all time worldwide, featuring everything we love in a Miyazaki movie: magic, friendship, and love. The scenes in Ponyo are breathtaking, taking the viewer to a magical land entirely different from reality. Ponyo is a goldfish princess who enters the human world and befriends a boy named Sosuke. Ponyo wishes he could be a human and live with Sosuke, but her father forbids it and summons a terrible storm to bring her back. When Ponyo has a cut and Sosuke licks it, Ponyo starts to transform into a human. Will Ponyo be a human despite her dad’s wishes or will she return home as a goldfish?
May 24-29: Princess Mononoke (1997)
Princess Mononoke is based on hero Prince Ashitaka, who is forced to leave home after he is cursed by a demon. In pursuit of a cure, he ventures into Iron Town where hostility between animals, gods, and humans, is heightened tremendously to a point of a civil war. As he befriends humans and forest creatures, Prince Ashitaka is forced to confront his own moral values. This film centers around empathy, human nature, and environmentalism.