I have decided to do a little multi-part series on different anime series/films that kickstarted my love for this vast and sundry medium.
Ideally, I would like to talk about each film a little bit, and what appealed to me about it so much that it caused me to expand my appreciation for anime as a whole. That said, this post will be much shorter than the others because I first experienced the film at a young age, and my exact memories of how I interpreted the film and what I loved about it are fuzzy to say the least.
My journey begins at the ripe age of 10, I was watching television one night during Toonami’s Month of Miyazaki, and I happened to see a movie about a young man, a girl, and some wolves, fighting to keep the peace in a magical fantasy landscape. I was hooked, but I quickly forgot the name of the film, only to be reminded of it years later from a friend talking about it.
That film was Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke. And it was the first anime film that I had ever seen.
As a child I was entranced by Mononoke’s colorful world, filled with good, evil, and ancient mysteries. And that first night that I saw the film, it stuck in my head. Here was a world of massive animals, swords, gods and forest spirits.
When I learned of Miyazaki and the film’s name, I sought out his other works. I had already seen Spirited Away, but I was able to find My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Howl’s Moving Castle in different places for my viewing pleasure.
I knew what I was watching was anime, but I didn’t quite understand what that meant, all I knew was that I found a director who appealed to me with his wonderful visuals and fantasy worlds, taking me to faraway places that I could only dream of.
These films were my introduction to anime, but their influence on me never inspired me to search for anything made by anyone other than Miyazaki. I figured that my love for the anime medium began and ended with Miyazaki, as I had seen commercials for other anime on my on-demand channel as a kid, shows like Bleach, or Naruto.
None of these seemed to capture the beauty and the wonder that Miyazaki brought to each of his films. If someone were to ask me at the time if I was an anime fan, I would probably respond that I wasn’t, but I was, however, a Miyazaki fan.
And that is about it. Again, this one is kind of short, as it explains the first anime that I ever experienced. My other posts will dig more into my anime journey as a whole, but I figured I should start this series right where I started as a kid, with Hayao Miyazaki.