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Napier states,In other words, Miyazaki’s works do not simplyDecontextualize foreign countries and cultures to reinforce a national identity.Instead, he works them into the narrative in a way that subtly erases traditional distinctions between the Japanese self and the foreign (usually Western) Other.This is especially true of his female characters, who are often the protagonists.” 4It is from Western culture that this strong female presence comes from in his movies. This is true because the Japanese society has more of a patriarchal system where men are more in charge and women are subservient.Yet in his movies the female characters are in male like roles making important decisions on their own.Napier describes this saying “as well, autonomy, competence and planning that seem natural for male characters are illustrated in his female characters.”5For example, Nausicaa ventures out alone into the dangerous toxic jungle and conducts scientific research.In the earlier moments of the 3Ibid., p.4734Ibid., p.473.5Susan Napier, “Anime: From Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle” (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) p.163
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Chris BostickAsian 2115/8/2009Assignment #2film Nausicaa is also shown saving a prominent male character of the film.In PrincessMononoke, San is a fierce warrior determined to protect the forest at any cost from destruction by civilization.We see her attack the town with her siblings as she runs and leaps like a creature more than a girl.Sophie who most fits the role of shojo still has a significant impact on helping the other characters find their way.In comparison, the theme of the devastation of war is heavily featured in all of the films.Each movie contains strong anti-war sentiments and use imagery to illustrate how awful war is.In Howl’s Moving Castle, war is fought by shape shifting wizards who turn into monsters to fight, and back to humans when done.However, in the movie the consequence for using this monster too much is to be consumed by it.This exemplifies the ugliness of war as when one is fighting they are a horrible ugly monster.It also alludes to dangers of lust for fighting as one can be trapped in this fighting form permanently.Even the main male character Howl who generally does not want to fight is almost consumed entirely by the evil monster of war.
Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki, Chris Bostick
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