As soon as I saw your headline on Rense, I had a feeling that it was referring to Hayao Miyazaki. His films truly are uplifting, inspiring, and though made for children, contain ample depth for a thoughtful adult. In fact, beyond many adults.
He does deal with subjects of violence, revenge, and evil, in an equally thoughtful way in films like Princess Mononoke (though there is some gratuitous violence there and Pan is fairly worshiped). Naausica, which because of the insightful manner he approaches war, is among my favourites. Naausica’s presentation is fine for children.
In fact, perhaps one of the best ways to introduce them to a thoughtful understanding of the reality of ignorance, respect, wounds, and how these can create monsters among species/races/cultures and even friends. Its exciting, not heavy and yet….
As much as I would love to hail Miyazaki as being pure and untouched; as someone who was as excited as you seem to be introduced to his work, some facts are in order.
Early work shows him very much aware of the world’s power structures with overt references to Intelligence, the UN, occult ritualistic leadership etc.
See the Japanese television episode of crime detective Lupin The Third: The Castle of Cagliostro. As his work progresses, it appears that Miyazaki has been absorbed into Freemasonry, as his work is increasingly chalk-filled with illuminati symbols (The Cat Returns, in distinct contrast to its more innocent prequel Whispers of the Heart), and progresses into very illuminati philosophical subjects with ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ – about a witch who at 13 years old must strike out on her own as initiation to becoming a full fledged witch.
The good side is always paramount. The people are always deep and well rounded and deal with real social dilemmas, illusions and solutions. The character detail is exquisite.
Later, Spirited Away won the Academy Award for Best Animated Picture, [in 2001] after which Disney began distributing all his work. Big stars did the English translations, from Patrick Stewart (Naausica) to Lauren Bacall (Howl’s Moving Castle). The latter, Howl has a seductive, tortured, wizard as the lead (a fallen star he has swallowed, a fire demon character named Calcifer voiced by Billy Crystal, provides all the power for Howl’s magic – This film could easily have been titled Sympathy for the Devil).
Perhaps some of the deepest wisdom in Miyazaki’s work is his approach to battling clearly defined demons through insight into how they work, both within and without. Evil has origins in Miyazaki films. That is a refreshing antidote to blind faith and the ‘demonization’ of others, so frequent with the religious-minded.
These films are uplifting, though many deal with war. Culturally, that seems understandable. They are wonderful insights into human nature, and always leave you feeling like you’ve come home to the world, though not perfect, certainly set aright – except in one instance. Miyazaki’s Ghibli partner’s film Grave of the Fireflies – is almost the opposite, a devastating, heart torturing tale of Japanese children orphaned and destroyed by WWII. One of the most difficult films I have ever seen, though the same tender, broken, heart is guiding the viewer to some unbearable realities. About, but not for children. The similar cover is deceiving.
I think if you take another look at Totoro, in light of his other work, you will find at their centre a Godless, though not godless, pagan spirituality (Japanese style), highly intelligent, wise, uplifting, and yet in all honesty on a full retrospective of his work, occult.
The growing influence from film to film appears distinct, in my observation. Disney’s John Lassiter repeatedly calls him and addresses him as a Master. You can see Lassiter’s fawning introductions to many films at their beginning, with Disney bowing so deeply I’m sure they can see behind themselves.
All of his films are worth seeing, with this in mind. I think it would behoove everyone to learn the secret language of global symbolism being spoken here, because I am not at all sure things are what they seem.
They are certainly in a class of their own regarding Japanese anime. As an animation film-maker and storyteller, he is indeed a master. We could all do with the kind of respectful view toward nature’s diverse spirits and each other that are a hallmark of Miyazaki’s films. I’m just seriously questioning the role of the occult, not just magic, in his films.