Hayao Miyazaki, the famous movie maker who brought us films like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Howl’s Moving Castle is finally up to get his own theme park that mirrors his fantastic fantasy visions just as much of the movies.
First, a little bit about Hayao Miyazki.
Hayao Miyazaki, Japanese film director, screenwriter, producer, author, animator and manga artist, Miyazaki began his career as a screenwriter in 1963. His career had spanned over 50 years. He is an internationally acclaimed storyteller who has translated his stories to the big screen. He is the creator of full-length feature films using a distinct Japanese anime art style. Miyazaki cofounded Studio Ghibli, a special animation and film studio. He has been compared to American colleagues such as a Walt Disney, Steven Spielberg and Orson Welles.
His films often contain stories that deeply pull at the heartstrings of humanity as a race. One of his recurring themes is the relationship between nature, humanity and technology. He is also touched upon the difficulty of being a pacifist. This films usually feature young, female protagonists that are strong and independent. Although he has created films involving traditional villains such as Castle in the Sky and The Castle of Cagliostro, he is also presented intriguing films such as Princess Mononoke and Nausicaä that don’t present the protagonist as being on either side of the fence. Most are more ambiguous with some redeeming qualities.
He was active in his career up until he co-wrote The Secret World of Arrietty, a film that was released in February 2012 in the United States and released in July 2010 in Japan. Another one, From Up on Poppy Hill, was released in March 2013 the in the United States and July 2011 in Japan. His newest film was released in Japan on July 20, 2013, and was shown to international audiences February 2014 and was entitled Wind Rises. He retired from filmmaking in 2013.
Interesting to note that that this newest film, Wind Rises, has earned him his first Golden Globe Award nomination and third American Academy Award nomination. He announced in September 2013 that this movie would be his final full-length feature film. He has impacted cinema so much that he was awarded the honorary Academy Award in November 2014. He is only the second Japanese filmmaker to have earned this award, the first one being Akira Kurosawa in 1990. One American film critic, Roger Ebert, has even called Miyazaki the best animation filmmaker in history while praising the artistry and sheer depth of his work.
His Theme Park
With a history like that, we have high expectations for what we want to see a theme park that bears his name. It will attempt to re-create themes from his most famous films.
Notably, you will find My Neighbor Totoro’s treehouse, Princess Mononoke‘s Iron Town, the Spirited Away bathhouse, and a Cat Bus monorail that will happily haul visitors around the establishment. Situated in the very center of the theme park, you will find the famous Howl’s Moving Castle.
Sadly, you won’t find much more than drawings and plans at the moment.
Don’t get me wrong – the drawings look fantastic. Any anime fan is going to start saving up every penny he can just be one of the first people to enter the park on opening day.
The park will look a lot like his films – centered around nature. Like anything park, it looks like a dream come true and at a fantastically huge playground for adults (their inner child can come too!)
The name for his new theme park will be The Forest Where the Wind Returns.
The park is set to encompass over 10,000 acres, will feature sleeping quarters for up to 30 people, include a library, and will be as close to nature as is humanly possible. Instead of having a bunch of lights and whistles and bells to engage the senses, Miyazaki is taking a more low-level approach, encouraging people to take in the world through their five senses in The Forest Where the Wind Returns.
In other words, this is no Disneyland.
Miyazaki says that he will finance the park using $2.5 billion of his own money. Construction is set to begin in spring of 2016. However, it will be open until 2018.
Right now, if you want to admire Hayao Miyazaki’s work, he has a museum – with plans that it will be a part of the park – that carries the name of his studio – Tokyo’s Ghibli Museum, rendered from the ground up by the master filmmaker himself.
But don’t let that stop you. Go ahead – take a break. I’ll wait. No one is going to say anything if you go ahead and book your airline tickets right now