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Miyazaki interview about On Your Mark

Animage, vol. 207; September, 1995

Translated from Japanese to English by Ryoko Toyama in November, 1996
Edited by Eric Henwood-Greer

© 1995 by Tokuma Shoten
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.


Key to the dialog
I: Interviewer
M: Hayao Miyazaki

I: With policemen and angel, it was like a movie by Mamoru Oshii-san.

M: Oshii-san always makes much of angel being born or not, so I just went ahead and put her in the film. -laughs- But, I haven't said that she was an angel, and maybe she was a person of bird. [1] It doesn't matter.

I: I felt that there was enough material for one feature film in the six minutes and 40 seconds.

M: I put in a lot of cryptic things, but since it's a music film, people can interpret it as they want.

I: What was the strange building in the peaceful countryside we saw at the beginning of the film?

M: You can interpret it anyway you want, but I think that it's enough if you can feel something from the truck with the radiation warning sign in the next scene. There is so much radiation on the Earth's surface, humans can no longer live there. But, there is flora, just like there is one around Chernobyl. It became a sanctuary for nature, with the humans living in the underground city. In reality, I don't think they will be able to live like that. I think they'll live on the surface, suffering from disease.

I: This is the music film of On Your Mark.

M: I intentionally misinterpret the lyrics. It's a story (about a world) after the so-called the fin de siecle. It's the world covered with radiation and disease. In fact, I believe that such an era will come, and I made the film thinking about what it would mean to live in such a world. I think that in such an era, (people) will be very conservative about criticisms to the system, while they'll also become very anarchic. That's because they still think they have things to lose, and if they lose everything, they'll become anarchic, and will start dying like dogs. And we use drugs, professional sports, or religion as distractions from such (reality), don't we? So such (distractions) will become widespread. And I thought that it was a song which expressed what you would want to say in argots to hide them from the authority, in such an era. It's a film filled with ill-will. -laughs-

I: For example, the part of the lyrics "whenever we started running, we came down with a flu," does this "flu" mean the world contaminated with radiation or disease?[2]

M: Seeing it from the entire history of the earth, humans' problems are just like a flu.

I: [...] The angel whom two policemen rescue can be seen as one hope in the chaotic world. Just like the lyrics, "We still won't stop because...", the scene in which they rescue the angel was repeated over and over. After several failed attempts, she flied into the blue sky, leaving the chaotic world, just like a hope. But the policemen were left behind on the ground...

M: It's not as if she was a savior, or they exchanged feelings with her through her rescue. It's just that, if you don't completely give up on the situation and you keep your hope, not letting anyone touch it, and then you have to let it go, you let it go where no one can touch it. It's just that. Maybe there was a bit of exchange in the moment of letting her go. That's fine, that's enough. ...Probably they'll go back to be the policemen. I don't know if they could go back, though. -laugh-

I: And the world they are going back is the world of a "flu."

M: After all, we have no choice but to start from there. Even in a chaotic era, there are good things, or things which excite us. Like Nausicaa said, "We are birds, who fly again and again over that morning, coughing off blood."

Notes from the translator
1. Tori no hito (person of bird) is another nickname of Nausicaa --ryo
2. Side Note: In the original, "ryuukou no kaze" can be interpreted in two ways. One is just a "flu," the other is "flu of fashion." And I think it was meant to have double meanings. --Ryo

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