Acclaimed writer and director Hayao Miyazaki celebrates his 76th birthday today, Jan. 5, 2017. You probably know him as the man who directed some of the best anime movies in existence. His career spans five decades, during which he created such hits as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Princess Mononoke. The latter film became a DVD success in the United States, paving the way for all of Miyazaki’s movies to make their way over here.
After working in animation for years, he wrote and directed his first film in 1979. It was a Lupin the Third movie called The Castle of Cagliostro. Speaking as a fan of the Lupin the Third anime, the movie was probably the best thing to come out of that series. Five years later, Miyazaki directed his second movie, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, based on his own manga. After the success of those two films, he co-founded Studio Ghibli and went on to make some of the most popular anime films of all time.
He’s still going too. Even though he tried to retire long ago, Miyazaki announced in November that he’s making one last movie. The man just loves making anime too much to give it up completely, I guess. Originally, he was working on a CGI short for the Studio Ghibli museum but was dissatisfied with how it was turning out. He now plans to expand it into a full-length film. Miyazaki acknowledges that he’ll probably be 80 by the time he’s finished.
In celebration of everything Miyazaki has accomplished in his 76 years of life, the Spoke Art Gallery in San Francisco is hosting a tribute to his work. The exhibit will feature the work of artists from all over the world celebrating their favorite Miyazaki works through a variety of mediums. Highlights include a Mononoke-inspired illustration and a Spirited Away-themed wood carving featuring No Face and Haku in dragon form.
The exhibit titled An Art Show Tribute to the Films of Hayao Miyazaki, will open on Feb. 4, 2017, and run through Feb. 25 at the Spoke Art Gallery. Until then, happy birthday, Hayao Miyazaki!