By Jessica Cuevas, Feb. 1, 2022

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles organized the Hayao Miyazaki exhibit in honor of Miyazaki, a pop culture legend, leading the animation industry with Studio Ghibli films. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures just reached its three-month seat with the exhibit opening on Sep. 30, 2021 and ending on June 5.

Japanese animator, director and screenwriter Miyazaki, famously known for his movie creations such as “Ponyo,” “Spirited Away” and “My Neighbor Totoro,” is decorated in the cinema industry, with a plethora of awards such as his Oscar win in 2003 for Best Animated Feature and a win for the Japan Academy Prize for Animation in 2014.

Upon entering the exhibit, guests are welcomed to walk through a magical green tree tunnel that makes guests feel transported into the forest that is portrayed in “My Neighbor Totoro.” The tunnel sets the mood for the gallery as it leads to rooms full of Miyazaki’s creations. Art such as storyboards, posters and model diagrams from his films are displayed across the walls.

The outside of the Hayao Miyazaki exhibit. (Jessica Cuevas | The Poly Post)

Guests are made to feel reminiscent by short clips of memorable scenes from movies like “Ponyo” and “Spirited Away” being projected on the walls.

“I got cold chills when I walked in,” said museum attendee Jordan Williams, who is originally from South Carolina.

While walking through the gallery, guests could interact with parts of the exhibit. One interactive art structure was a small grass hill in the middle of the room where guests could lay down or sit to look up at the sky projection and imagine themselves in a Miyazaki movie.

The displays and interactive pieces gave those who experienced it an immersive and personal look into Miyazaki’s artwork. Attendees shared how Miyazaki has served as an inspiration for them in their artistic lives.

Williams stated that she affiliated Miyazaki’s films with emotions and that it was his creativity that inspired her to attend art school.

“Ghibli got me through my high school years and continues to guide me in college,” said Williams. “The art imitates life in a beautiful way.”

The rooms of the exhibit varied in lighting with some displaying the artwork in a well-lit environment and others that were dark and focused on the film being projected. Guests had a chance to rewatch Miyazaki films in the dark rooms.

Along with work from his most popular films, Miyazaki’s older art was also displayed in the exhibit.

Art from “Princess Mononoke” displayed along the outside of the Hayao Miyzaki exhibit. (Jessica Cuevas | The Poly Post)

Museum attendee Courtney Nullmen, from St. Louis, Missouri, stated that she finds so much beauty in how Miyazaki’s animates things, that there is life and motion that goes into it. ‘Howls Moving Castle’ is my all-time favorite; it is the one that is closest to home for me,” said Nullmen.

Nullmen described Miyazaki’s art and how he beautifully brings the audience into his world and makes them part of the experience.

“Seeing some of the panels, there is so much going into the world he’s creating and the concept of every detail in the background design,” said Nullmen. “He captures every moment.”

At the end of the gallery, guests arrive at a whimsical tree filled with the tree spirits from “Princess Mononoke.” This art form brought one of Miyazaki’s creations to life and stood out beautifully.

“It is really nice; it’s a slightly different craft and uniqueness of his style,” said museum attendee David Rican, from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Rican stated that although he may not be a big fan of Miyazaki, that he is familiar with “Spirited Away” and “Princess Mononoke.” To Rican, the most memorable aspect of the exhibit was the use of color. “The colors are so vibrant and noticeable,” said Rican.

To find out more information about visiting the exhibit or to learn more about Miyazaki and his work, go to The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures website.

Featured image courtesy of Jessica Cuevas. 

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