I thought he deserved his own topic, I searched and there wasn't a dedicated Miyazaki thread so I took the initiative (it had nothing to do with the literature review that is getting increasingly monotonous I promise).
My first introduction was Totoro in Japanese class when I was in primary school, this was back in the days before DVD and the copy we had had no subtitles and was in Japanese, despite my immense lack of skill with the language I was still able to pretty much get the idea.
I liked Spirited Away but I really don't think its his best, I don't really have a reason, it just didn't appeal to me as much. This could be because the friend I went to see it with hated it.
I'd also seen Kiki's delivery service at school.
I was really excited when my local video store got DVDs of I think six of his films. Two on each disc, I went in and hired them, watched the ones I'd seen before again and reveled in their beauty and sweetness. Watched the ones I hadn't seen (I think it was Princess Mononoke, Porco Roso and Laputa) and thought they were great.
Then I put in Grave of the Fireflies, this was when I was living on my own, and I knew nothing about the film. I expected a nice little film about nice things with a nice happy ending. I WEPT LIKE A FUCKING BABY! That film literally crushed me, probably because I wasn't expecting it to be sad, but it was the most crushing thing I'd seen in such a long time. Great movie though.
Grave of the Fireflies isn't a Miyazaki. It's Studio Ghibli, but not Miyazaki. Most Studio Ghibli works are directed by Miyazaki, but not all of them. That doesn't mean that the non-Miyazaki movies are bad though. Whispers of the Heart is a great example.
Naussica and Mononoke Hime didn't appeal that much to me.
I think Howl's just feels like more of the same.
I love My Neighbor Totoro the most. It makes me feel like a kid again and I plan on showing this to my little cousins. I alrady shared Kiki's Delivery Service and I created little Ghibli fans. I never got my tape back to this day. LOL.
I liked Spirited Away but it didn't give me the same feelings that the rest and Laputa did. Same goes for Howl's Moving Castle. They are loved movies by me but also my least favorites.
I also loved the heck out of Porcco Rosso. I need to see that again.
I'm seeing a lot of titles I don't recognize in this thread. I guess I need to bone up.
Grave of the Fireflies (though we've established it isn't Miyazaki) was really disappointing to me. I was expecting to be all crushed and moved to tears -- I'm totally a big baby about that stuff -- but for some reason, it just didn't connect with me.
As for me, I haven't seen every Miyazaki movie there is, thus I cannot say which I find best. I have seen Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke. I'd have to say that Princess Mononoke is the best of those three in my opinion.
One other big issue I have with Miyazaki movies:
Backgrounds- godly pretty
Character artwork- awful
I mean, take Howl for example:
It's just so generic...
I'll make up my mind on Miyazaki in general once I watch Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, though.
Do watch Princess Mononoke. If I could credit one thing with my decision to become an animator, that film was it. It inspired me probably more than any other film has. Spirited Away is also amazing, probably Miyazaki's best.
And actually, I liked Howl's character designs better than Totoro's and Kiki's. I was just using it as an example.
And actually, I do like Calcifer. I didn't like Sophie at all, though.
Anyway, I'm probably being a stick-up-the-ass about that point, so I'll shut up now. Ahem, Miyazaki FTW!
And on that topic, who is the best Miyazaki character in your opinion? I'd say the main guy in Princess Mononoke, and Chihiro in Spirited Away.