Have you ever heard of ‘Ghibli Studio’? If your answer is ‘no’, well, I am not surprised. Founded by Hayao Miyazaki, Ghibli Studio is a Japanese entertainment company that produces animations, especially for children and teenagers. Due to its creativity, high quality production, and food-for-thought animations, the studio is famous among Japanese adults and groups of animation-lovers in other countries as well. It is considered as one of the most famous and most successful cartoon companies in Japan although it is not well-known around the world like Walt Disney or Dreamwork. After following Ghibli Studio’s work for a few years, I have changed my perspective toward cartoons. Ghibli’s animation does not only illustrate the children’s imaginative and fancy world, but it also reflects the real world through the children’s adventures and points of view.
Ghibli animations focus on environmental problems and encourage people to be the nature protectors. The production team understands that teaching children to care for the nature and their surroundings is easier and more effective than teaching the adults who often care only for their careers, profits, and nothing else. Therefore, the main Ghibli characters are typically created to be friends with both humans and nature so as to show the children that humans and environment are linked and they both can live dependently together in peace. For instance, in My Neighbor Totoro, the key character that connected children and nature was a fluffy, fat, huge, rabbit-like, forest spirit named “Totoro”. This ‘Totoro’ took care of all trees in rural areas. Mei and Satsuki, two girls who just moved into the countryside, grew plants around their new house. At night, Totoro came and used his magic to make the trees grow faster. Both of the girls were awake and saw him, but their father didn’t. This shows the adults’ unawareness of the environmental changes and conflicts. Later on, when Mei got lost in the town, Totoro, again, used his magic to help Satsuki find her. I conclude that because the girls cared for the nature, the nature cared for them.
Hatred and greed lead humans into arguments and wars. Then wars bring pain, destruction, loss, and grieve. This is what many Ghibli animations try to tell us. As we all know, during and after the Second World War, Japan was in a serious situation. People struggled to keep themselves and their families alive. A number of people suffered from incurable wounds and diseases. Their cities were turned into dusts. Grave of the Fireflies is the best example of the tragedy. A brother and his little sister lost their parents and home because of the war. Despite the brother’s effort to look after her, the sister became seriously ill and died at the end of the story. Children were innocent. They weren’t the ones who started the war, but they were the victims of it. The production team wants people to always beware of their feelings and actions. Doing without thinking might end up in conflicts. The more powerful you are, the more troubles you can cause. In the current world that money speaks louder than anything else, people are likely to easily become greedy and jealous, and when hatred dominates them, troubles are destined to come.
What I love in Ghibli animations most is how they show us that miracle really exists. It is the miracle of faith. Luck will come, thing will change, and life will be better when a person believes that it will. All depends on our courage and perspective. This is what makes children different from adults. Children think that everything is possible and they make a wish when they want to succeed. As a result, their courage and hope bring them to their goals. Children dare to believe even in something they cannot see. And, I assume, because it cannot be seen, it cannot be destroyed by others. That’s why children seem to have more power to maintain their faith and keep going on the path they choose. Faith is the most important theme hidden in every of the Ghibli animations. For example, in Laputa, there was a boy named Pazu who believed that the Castle in the Sky was real. One day, he unexpectedly met Cheetah, a girl who owned the Blue Gem which was the key leading to the sky castle, Laputa. Two groups of people were also chasing after the girl because they wanted the gem to discover Laputa, believing that there was a treasure in the castle. Two children began their journey to escape from those people and to find their dreamland.
Ghibli Studio stimulates people’s consciousness about protecting nature, preventing arguments, and holding onto their faith by conveying the message through all animations. It is not wrong to think like a child sometimes, if it makes things better and easier for you. In my opinion, the world is now full of big and small problems and they need us to notice and try to solve them little-by-little. If we cannot start by solving the big problems, then start with the smaller ones. Thinking like a child may help us discover and find the way out for many tiny problems we usually ignore.
Edited by: Jiiwjaew & May