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Miyazaki talks about Howl's Moving Castle

Translated from Chinese to English by Doraneko

© 2004 by Xin Jin Bao
Translated without permission for personal entertainment purpose only. This is not, by any means, an accurate word for word translation, and the translator is solely responsible for any mistranslation or misunderstanding due to it.

Interviewer - Everyone knows that you have already announced your retirement as a director for many times. Even for "Howl's Moving Castle", it is said that you initially decided to work only as an executive producer. What made you to change your mind?

Miyazaki - Although I have thought about leaving the world of animation for many times, whenever I see a piece of work that I really like, I would naturally want it to express it in my own ideas. When I hand it to the others, I always think about how this and that should be done. At last, I feel that it will be better if I take up the work myself. In order to bring out the original spirit of the work, I can only return.

Interviewer - As far as I know, all your previous works were dubbed by professionals. Why did you come up with the idea of using a young actor, Takuya Kimura?

Miyazaki - This was suggested by Producer Toshio Shizuki. He said that Howl is the most handsome character ever in all our animated works. Therefore a handsome man that can represent Japan is the most suitable to be the voice-actor. He recommended Takuya Kimura to me, and tried to test if I knew this person or not.

You know, he thought that I was a strange old man that had been locking himself in the mountains and had never watched television. Therefore I should had never heard of Kimura. But when I told him that I did know who Kimura was, he was in a shock.

(This old man of over 70 starts to laugh, with a kind of self-satisfaction like a small child)

Interviewer - In all your works, we can feel an intensive sense of humanitarianism. Even in "Howl's Moving Castle", there is a strong anti-war sentiment.

Miyazaki - I did not deliberately try to deliver any educational ideologies or messages to the audience. If they really exist in my works, they are only revealing themselves naturally. Many people think that I am telling a very deep truth. Actually what I like is simplicity. The reason that we made "Howl's Moving Castle" is that there are too many unhappy matters in the world, such as wars and economic crises. We hope that, through the movie, people can keep up their courage and see the hope. The future world is still nice and beautiful. It is worthy for us to survive and explore it.

Interviewer - How do you think about the animated works of Disney and Dreamworks?

Miyazaki - Personally I really like the earlier works of Disney. Although we generally call all the American animated movies as "American animation", they in fact have many substantial differences in their ways of presentation.

Dreamworks is definitely "anti-traditional". Compared with Disney, it pays greater attentions on illustrating the characters and the plots. There is a wide use of the stylish 3D animation, which gives a rich modern breath. If we regard Disney's animated movies as classical ballet dances, the productions of Dreamworks are more to the side of the modern pop music.

Interviewer - Then how about the animations of other countries in Asia?

Miyazaki - I really like the animations of mainland China and Taiwan. For instance, "Siu Sin" [Note: the official English translation is "A Chinese Ghost Story"] fully expresses the fine aesthetic sense of the Chinese tradition. I like works which have national breaths like this one. A pity that there are too few of them. Also, the movie workers in Korea are those with the highest sense of professionalism. Their careful and sincere manner is worth our respect. They even follow what is written in the textbook just for placing a piece of fallen leaf. They have their own unique understandings of animation, which are individual and profound. I think for the animators of China, Japan and Korea, even if they only reveal an extremely small part of their traditional art, the whole world will be shocked. National and traditional works are the most charming of all.

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