#015 Hayao Miyazaki: Spirited Away vs. Ponyo


In today's episode Nate and Austin compare Hayao Miyazaki's best and worst rated films, Spirited Away (2001) and Ponyo (2008), respectively. Austin thinks P is being a B, Nate wishes  Amon Goeth played Ponyo, and they both need to watch more animated films. Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead (2004) and A Fistful of Fingers (1994), his best and worst rated films.

And check out this clip from the documentary on Hayao Miyazaki, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFIE-ISqNoU


Ponyo Notes
Worst Rated
PLOT: An adventure about a five-year-old boy and his relationship with Ponyo, a goldfish princess who longs to become a human after falling in love with him.
  • Ratings: IMDb 7.7 | RT 92% C / 83% A
  • Released: 2008
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke)
  • Writer(s): Hayao Miyazaki
  • Cinematographer: Atsushi Okui (Castle in the Sky, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke)
  • Notable actors: Cate Blanchett, Noah Lindsey Cyrus, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Frankie Jonas, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Jennessa Rose, Betty White, Lily Tomlin
  • Budget: $34 million
  • Box office: $201.7 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Hayao Miyazaki drew most of the sea and wave imagery himself, experimenting with making it as expressionistic as possible. John Lasseter said that he had never seen water animated so beautifully before.
    • The opening 12 seconds, involving vast schools of fish and undersea creatures, required 1613 pages of conceptual sketches to develop.
    • Hayao Miyazaki was very surprised by the lukewarm reaction of children to his film in test screenings.
    • This is the first animated feature film since Princess Mononoke (1997) to be created and painted on traditional animation cels.
    • The level of detail in the animation resulted in 170,000 separate images - the most that have ever appeared in a Hayao Miyazaki film.
    • Hayao Miyazaki stated at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con that he was inspired to create the film after watching Disney's animated adaptation The Little Mermaid.
    • Sôsuke is based on Hayao Miyazaki's son Gorô Miyazaki, when he was five years old.


Spirited Away Notes
Best Rated
PLOT: During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.
  • Ratings: IMDb 8.6 | RT 97% C / 96% A
  • Released: 2001
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke)
  • Writer(s): Hayao Miyazaki
  • Cinematographer: Atsushi Okui (Castle in the Sky, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke)
  • Notable actors: Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, Jason Marsden, Susan Egan, David Ogden Stiers, Lauren Holly, Michael Chiklis, John Ratzenberger, Tara Strong, Bob Bergen
  • Budget: $19 million
  • Box office: $289.1 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2003.
    • In order to animate the scene where Chihiro force feeds Haku the medicine in his dragon form, Hayao Miyazaki had his animators study a dog's mouth as they fed it treats while a veterinarian held its lower jaw.
    • When Chihiro arrives at Zeniba's house, the jumping lamp with sound effect is a nod to the Pixar logo.
    • The cleansing of the river spirit is based on a real-life incident in Hayao Miyazaki's life in which he participated in the cleaning of a river, removing, among other things, a bicycle.
    • First anime film to be nominated for (and win) an Academy Award. It also has the longest runtime of any other film nominated or winning in that category (125 minutes).
    • This is the first film to earn US$200 million in grosses before opening in the U.S.
    • As of 2016, Spirited Away (2001) is the highest-rated animated film (traditional or computer) in the IMDb Top Rated Movies (Top 250).

  Intro music by: Calm The Fuck Down (Broke For Free) / CC BY 3.0  


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