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Indulgence of the Imagination

by PoetryMisfit


   Close your eyes and imagine: an ancient floating castle in the clouds, a bath house for ghosts, a mighty clash between forest spirits and the realm of men, waged over the fate of Nature. These are but a few of the several visionary worlds brought to life by Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder and mastermind of the Japanese animation studio, Studio Ghibli. Though these films were originally geared towards children, there are various lessons that viewers of all ages can internalize. Namely, the lesson I would like to focus on today is the ways in which you can indulge your imagination.

   One of Miyazaki’s most notable films is called “Spirited Away”, which follows a young girl who is whisked away to the Spirit Realm. Once there, she must save her parents from the witch who imprisons them in the bodies of pigs, and find a way to escape. Amidst the captivating illustrations and whirlwind of fantastical characters, the most iconic scene ironically has no plot development. No dialogue. The protagonist rides a train alone surrounded by shadowy strangers who go about their lives entering and exiting at each stop. A melancholic melody engulfs the scene, provoking a swell of emotion and a sense of stillness. Hayazaki means to depict beauty that would otherwise go unnoticed. The focus on the protagonist fades into the scenery and the comings and goings of strangers at each stop make you wonder what sort of lives they lead. Likewise, you indulge your imagination by being aware of the world around you, pondering the lives of strangers and consequently yourself.

   Continuing henceforth, Miyazaki made another film called “Whisper of the Heart”, which is my personal favorite. This is actually one of his most underrated films that he created towards the beginning of his career at Studio Ghibli. Contrary to many of his other films,which are based in a fantasy setting, this film is set in rural Japan following the journey of an ordinary high school girl who challenges herself to write a novel. Despite its simplicity, this film taught me to pursue adventure in the mundane. One of the scenes that inspired that in me is towards the beginning where the protagonist sees a stray cat riding beside her on the train, and follows it through the neighborhood. By doing so she discovers an amazing antique shop where she meets the owner, an old man and artist at heart, who encourages her to write a novel. Now, I’m not telling you to follow stray cats to see where they lead, but I am saying that there is adventure waiting for you, and it can appear in the most unexpected way. Be open to these adventures and indulge your imagination with what awaits you on the path to trying something new.

   Now you may be thinking: what does any of this have to do with me? Well, I’m glad you asked. The most vital attribute of indulging your imagination is wonder. When you wonder, you question, and when you question, you seek answers. Your imagination in turn is often what may bring you those answers. When you take the time to observe the world around you, you wonder about the lives of others or the nature of being for places or things. Your imagination is what conjures the stories in your mind behind the lives of strangers, and allows you to see things not as they are but as they could be. You may wonder what lies in store for you on this day or in general for your life. Your imagination is what draws the roadmap for where you want to go and the adventures you can have along the way. These films have indulged my imagination by inspiring my writing, and have instilled in me the desire to encourage wonder in my readers. Miyazaki once said, “we shouldn’t stick too close to everyday reality but give room to the reality of the heart, of the mind, and of the imagination


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Sun Jun 19, 2022 5:00 pm
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saadamansayyed wrote a review...



"The creation of a single world comes from a huge number of fragments and chaos."
These are the words of Hayao Miyazaki, who is the subject of this very essay I am reviewing.

Hayao is a personality worth studying. Every art, animation, psychology, writing (and many more) student should study Miyazaki in detail as part of their study. In fact, everyone should study this man, and his work, as they form an important part of Japanese cultural canon and the global pop culture of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

I like the personal touch it has been given. I agree with Plume's point here that it comes off as a bit awkward in essay form (as something to be read), but when we understand it, I think it feels better than reading a series of statistics laced with henceforth and wherefores. I really like personal essay, because they give me a way to listen to a stranger speak.

Speaking of strangers, one of the things that makes this article very compelling is your description of that one particular scene from 'Spirited Away', where the focus shifts -- and makes us 'indulge our imagination' (haha, see what I did there?) in these simpler and smaller details. It doesn't always have to be Into The Spiderverse with ten different art styles and a mega multiverse to build on - just a few animators in a studio in Tokyo and an unique idea is enough.

Miyazaki truly considers his films as his children. I'm excited for 'How Do You Live' and really enjoyed this essay. Overall, it is a bit clunky, but that is alright.

Thanks for reading my review.




PoetryMisfit says...


Hi Saadamansayyed.

Thanks for your review and I'm so glad to see another kindred admirer of Miyazaki's work on here. His films have been an incredible inspiration for my writing, which I hoped to convey in the conclusion, but the reason for its clunkiness is probably because this was originally written as a speech. However, there was no option to categorize it as such on here so I figured essay was the closest thing. Thank you again for your review!

- Poetry Misfit :)



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Thu Jun 16, 2022 1:47 am
Plume wrote a review...



Hey there! Plume here, with a review! I noticed this essay had been in the Green Room for a bit, so I thought I'd give it a review!

I enjoyed reading this essay! I'm not a super huge fan of Ghibli films, but I felt like I was able to enjoy them through your glowing praise. I thought the essay was nicely organized (though I am guessing that it was maybe written in response to a prompt about indulging imagination? You said that phrase an awful lot in the essay) and your ideas were nice and cohesive.

One thing I enjoyed was your description!! I think it totally enhanced your points about imagination. I loved how you focused on how the simpler moments have just as much imagination potential as the grander ones. You described the scenes in such detail that it very effectively proved your points and then some. I was able to picture them so clearly, so nice work!! It also made the essay quite engaging.

The one thing I did notice was that, to me, the more personal moments in the essay (like the introduction to the last paragraph) felt a little odd. I saw in your description that this was originally a speech, and I do think it would make more sense as a speech. As an essay, however, they fell flat and just seem a bit... cliché and awkward. I will say, though, no matter whether speech or essay, I would do away with "the lesson I would like to focus on today" or any other phrase like that. It just feels a little clunky and redundant. If you start talking about it, they'll know what you're talking about.

Specifics

Miyazaki once said, “we shouldn’t stick too close to everyday reality but give room to the reality of the heart, of the mind, and of the imagination


I noticed you forgot the punctuation at the end of the quote; I'm going to assume it was probably a copy/paste error, but if it wasn't, I just wanted to bring your attention to it!

Also! Another punctuation thing: titles of movies are generally italicized.

Overall: nice essay!! I liked the cohesiveness and flow, and I hope to read more of your work! This essay also inspired me to watch Whisper of the Heart, which is a Ghibli film I've never seen before. Until next time!




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Sat May 21, 2022 10:41 am
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi PoetryMisfit,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

I've been meaning to review it for a while, but things kept getting in the way, so here I am, and without further ado, let's begin.

It's hard to put into words what exactly to review. After the first read-through, you definitely gave me those goosebumps again, which is why I love the films so much and why I love watching them. You manage to give a good feeling to show the reader something here, with some good examples, which makes me think that it acts like a kind of promoting that you put in a good essay.

Close your eyes and imagine: an ancient floating castle in the clouds, a bath house for ghosts, a mighty clash between forest spirits and the realm of men, waged over the fate of Nature.


This is a really good and active beginning for the reader, to show how you want the reader to get involved in the first place. I think you build up a good introduction with your first paragraph and go into depth and also pose the question of what the reader can expect.

The protagonist rides a train alone surrounded by shadowy strangers who go about their lives entering and exiting at each stop.


I think the build-up to this point is well done, especially because you got straight to an example, and also took a moment to explain a bit of the plot of the film without going too deep into it. But you go too quickly into this point, because it's not clear that there are many different characters in the previous part of the film and that the dialogue there is important. That's exactly what gives this scene this moment where the self-reflection begins. In other words, the climax comes somewhat unexpectedly here.

Contrary to many of his other films,which are based in a fantasy setting, this film is set in rural Japan following the journey of an ordinary high school girl who challenges herself to write a novel. Despite its simplicity, this film taught me to pursue adventure in the mundane.


I like your transition here into your next example, but also think you could explain a bit more here what else is in Miyazaki's films that makes this one different. What I also notice is that you tell it from a very positive point of view, which makes it very difficult to give an opinion. But I also like the way you go about it, with only one page, to give the reader an incentive.

What I also like (probably everywhere here) are the transitions, how you come to your conclusion with this example, and let the reader answer the question that didn't arise when we started reading. I think that's a very well done transition, because it moves the essay in a different direction, but still comes out with the same result.

One thing I noticed was that you only used two examples, where I would recommend you to add a third one, maybe going deeper into a flying castle or something, to show again the contrast between Spirited Away and Whisper of the Heart.

In summary, though, a great essay. I don't think you can go far wrong with Studio Ghibli. :D

Have fun writing!

Mailice




PoetryMisfit says...


Hi Mailice.

Yeah I understand that, I have been meaning to respond to each of the reviews but... life, you know. I admire the quick responders on here because I know they weather the business of life and make time to respond in good time. Also, I always enjoy receiving your reviews, you are very thorough and your passion for writing definitely shows in your words. I appreciate all of your encouragements and I think including a third example is a great idea!

Thanks!
Poetry Misfit



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Spearmint says...



“When you wonder, you question, and when you question, you seek answers.”
^ I love this line! :D




PoetryMisfit says...


Thank you so much! Hopefully I was able to indulge your imagination. :)




Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.
— Pablo Picasso