Animator, author, and manga artist, Hayao Miyazaki has inspired an entire generation, narrating the evolution of Japanese society within animated forms, focusing on two primary themes: urbanism and spirit. Director of both critically acclaimed and popular anime, he is known for creating melodic and allusive works. Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio that specializes in animation, games, and videos. It was founded in 1985 by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata.The word Ghibli holds the potential to create a new wind in the anime industry. As the master of the animated world, he observed the surroundings and life persisting in ordinary life. Throughout his life, Hayao Miyazaki studied the wonders of living things as well as the effects of natural elements on them, which made for an imaginative world in his mind. Throughout his childhood, he was surrounded by chaos and struggled to cope with society. It shaped his way of thinking and his appreciation of life in the simplest of ways.

The animation world of Hayao Miyazaki - Sheet1
Illustration, Hayao Miyazaki_©

Philosophy of Hayao Miyazaki’s works

The animation world of Hayao Miyazaki - Sheet2
Master Hayao Miyazaki_©

Hayao Miyazaki is among the most prominent artists who observe every detail in his work in order to enhance the user’s experience. In his early years, he enjoyed expressing his imagination through drawing with a deep understanding of creating and bringing art to life. In his view, characters are not static entities but a movement that takes place in time and space, and therefore detailing their individual personalities makes them come alive and relate better to the audience. He believes the children should live joyfully and always there is hope for better. Working with Hayao Miyazaki is an extremely unique experience for the artists. The illustrations are detailed with sketches, observations, and watercolors, and the narrative around them is crafted. A storyteller uses the visual composition of images to create a narrative and adds details to make each scene lively and engaging.

The animation world of Hayao Miyazaki - Sheet3
Illustration, Hayao
The animation world of Hayao Miyazaki - Sheet4
Illustration, Hayao

Magic of animated world

Illustration, Hayao Miyazaki_©
Illustration, Hayao Miyazaki_©

Each architectural era further informs us of its context and history with its design alone, which makes studying architecture an incredibly fascinating subject. On the other hand, in film and anime, all the contexts behind a structure’s design can be compressed into a single frame that tells thousands of stories. By portraying the poverty of the environment, the spectacles of water, the loss of innocence, and the cultivation of belief, gratitude, courage, surrender, and love as melancholic mirror images, Miyazaki declares his intention to reflect the characters, themes, and places he constructs and creates. There is no rule that says scenes have to make sense. They can be organic and spontaneous. 

In contrast to hard world creation, the gaps in the information created by the soft world make the film more mysterious and invite the viewer’s imagination through to the film. We don’t get answers to the bizarre, we just experience it as bizarre. The magic that Hayao Miyazaki evokes is largely due to the unique way he creates his works, which has been described as odd by some. He often begins the film with a sketch or watercolor drawing depicting a scene, not a complete story. There are times when the production team is working on a movie without an ending.

Spirited away_©Studio Ghibli/Spirited Away, 2001
Spirited away_©Studio Ghibli/Spirited Away, 2001

For Spirited Away, Miyazaki himself stated, “Even I didn’t know how it was going to end”, Miyazaki expands on this by saying, “Easy-to-understand movies are boring. Logical storylines sacrifice creativity. I’m all about breaking conventions. Kids get it. They don’t operate on logic”.

My neighbor Totoro_©Studio Ghibli/My neighbor Totoro
My neighbor Totoro_©Studio Ghibli/My neighbor Totoro
Illustration, Hayao Miyazaki_©

In various compositions he expresses his painterly compositions with saturated colors, glowing, standing out against grays and muted tones, and he pays attention to immediate adjustments of light and shadow, especially the shadow within a shadow that gives a feathery sense of depth. As well as being expressive in close-up and panorama scenes, he is also virtuoso in his open skies and able to create clouds that are almost characters in themselves, whether they are intricate outlines, broad swathes of rubble, or curvy spirals like the heavy heads of flowers stained by sunset or the deepening blue of the evening sky. Committed to perfection, the compulsive perfectionist begins by conceptualizing hand drawings. In the same way that many architects start with a sketch, Miyazaki builds a story around inspiration, but there is one major difference: One plans and builds in the world, the other imagines worlds. An inspiring and imaginative person who travels with a great sense of observation noticing peculiar details and creating wonders in the domain of animation.

“Miyazaki places his narratives in natural and architectural contexts characterized by impressive graphic richness, the complexity of textures, and scrupulous attention to the smallest detail. The studio bases its ideas on real things and environments, but with fantastic skin. Beams and pillars unite fantasy and reality, making the structural details very precise and of great artistic and sentimental value.” – Dani Cavallaro

References: Hayao Miyazaki

  1. ArchDaily. 2022. Architecture in Animation: Exploring Hayao Miyazaki’s Fictional Worlds. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2022].
  2. Carter, D., 2022. Explore the magical world of Hayao Miyazaki in the Academy Museum’s new exhibition. [online] Creative Boom. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2022].
  3. 2022. Studio Ghibli – Wikipedia. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2022].
  4. Encyclopedia Britannica. 2022. Miyazaki Hayao | Biography, Movies, & Facts. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2022].
  5. 2022. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2022].
  6. Staff, T., 2022. Hayao Miyazaki’s Films Ranked From Worst To Best. [online] IndieWire. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2022].
  7. 2022. Hayao Miyazaki Prepares to Cast One Last Spell. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 4 June 2022].

An observant Architect and wandering soul who captures the tales of poetic experiences through writing. She is a traveler by heart who explores the essence through understanding the relationship between people and places with sensitivity, as she believes “Architecture is an extension of one’s life “