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10 Years With Hayao Miyazaki – an NHK Documentary

With the possibility of lockdown lurking overhead, some people are preparing to enjoy some much-needed television relaxation time. Seeming slightly too convenient, Netflix is just about to release the last of 21 Studio Ghibli movies to the online site. But before you sit down and enjoy some popcorn with Totoro and friends, you might want to check out NHK World’s four-part documentary ‘10 years with Hayao Miyazaki’.

The documentary focuses on the powerhouse genius behind Studio Ghibli and his timeless relics such as ‘My Neighbor Totoro’, ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’, ‘Spirited Away’ and ‘Princess Mononoke’ which have been loved by families and individuals for the past three decades.

Miyazaki is often described as a shy soul, and isn’t known for sharing much about his life, however, from 2006 the director permitted filmmaker Kaku Arakawa to document his life for a few years. Arakawa documents Miyazaki creating characters, designing storyboards and working out plotlines, as well as making important life-changing decisions towards the end of his filmmaking career. The documentary shows some parts of Miyazaki’s childhood, his own private studio, Studio Ghibli and also follows the director as he heads out to nature to seek inspiration. Arakawa also worked with Miyazaki for a second time, as he released Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki in 2013 which follows the director after he made the decision to go into retirement.

The four-part docuseries dives into Miyazaki’s life in 2006, where he can be seen preparing for the making of ‘Ponyo’ which was released in 2008. The documentary also focuses on the movie, ‘The Wind Rises’, where we see some of Miyazaki’s research and inspiration trips and the 2011 movie ‘From up on Poppy Hill’ which was directed by his son Goro.

Centering on Miyazaki, his working life and artistic approach, the programme is available to stream on NHK World. Episodes are just short of an hour-long each, giving a quick and detailed insight into the life of the much-loved animator. Narration is in English, but the documentary can be streamed with English, Chinese, French, Indonesian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese Subtitles.

By - Connie Sceaphierde.