Thursday, October 8

Cosmology of Miyazaki Movies part 2

Continuing from Part 1 of the cosmology of Miyazaki movies using Mononoke Hime and Tonari no Totoro as examples.

The element of fire in Totoro is small, nurturing even unusually serve as binding glue of family bonds with the presence of water. The hot bath scene of Kusakabe sisters and their father is heartwarming and friendly, they enjoy the heat of the water boiled in slow, placid fire which seem did not have a care of the world, fits the movie somehow. Perhaps it is a throwback to ancient times where people gather around small fire which leads to fostering of family.

Water is source of life, and in Totoro it has that role. In the bath scene again, it is a rejuvenating and refreshing element, enabling a playful atmosphere which brings joy and happiness to the family. In other significant scene that uses water as narrative prop, Mei was waiting under an umbrella in the broken bus stop, suddenly spotted King Totoro standing beside her holding a flimsy plant to shield himself from the roaring rain, illuminated by soft light. The sound of the rain hitting on both of them is somewhat resembled a musical encore to new discovery and adventure, Mei decided to pass her umbrella to King Totoro which the spirit reciprocated by letting her on the grinning Cheshire catbus which leads to exhilarating adventure for Mei. It can construed as lively encounter between both characters prompted by water since water is source and beginning of all life.

Princess Mononoke used these 2 elements as symbol of power and conflict, not surprisingly. Fire is the main element needed to mold iron into workable weapons, and Lady Eboshi townsfolk were armed to the teeth with rudimentary firearms to defend upcoming government army that is coming to claim her domain while she is busy hunting down the Shishigami at the end of the movie. During the massive conflict against the spirits, the humans employed massive use of man made fire to stop the attack, here fire is destroyer and taker, merciless and unforgiving at that.

To make weapons from iron, water is also needed for cooling process, again, underscores the symbolism of 2 elements as confrontational and angry aspect. In twisted sense, when Ashitaka was ushered into factory, he could see womenfolk of the town was pumping water which leads to gender flirtation between both of parties and bonding, not unlike the familial bathing scene in Totoro. For a brief moment, water serves as glue for human interaction and friendship but ultimate purpose is unmistakable, it is to create more implements of war on behest of the "benevolent" Lady Eboshi.

The first encounter between San and Ashitaka is again involved heavy use of water element, he spotted her tending to Moro's wound near a stream; to jump start a relationship that would later bloom into romantic mode. Water is a giver and progenitor of life; Miyazaki uses it to canvas the bonding and encounter scenes for a more environmentally calm feel. But unmistakably, the scene also uses water as barrier between humans, a borderline between 2 unrelenting forces that is hellbent on destruction of each other. It is notable that San regarded him with contempt in this scene then rides away with Moro.

Final Part 3 will be here soon.

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Blacksun88 said...

wow nice writing. just wondering are u taking courses about film analysis?

Stormy001 said...

No, I do not. I just enjoy doing analysis and anime is one of my favourite target.

Are you taking the course?