The heroines of Miyazaki: the feminist icons of the Ghibli studio

In the world of animated cinema, few names shine with the same intensity as Hayao Miyazaki.


Thanks to the review "A world of animated dreams"Organized by Lucky Red, five masterpieces of the Oscar -winning director have returned to the cinema.

An opportunity that I could certainly not miss, so I immediately ran into the room to review "Kiki - home deliveries" And "The wind rises”.

The first is a splendid history of training, in which many people and young women can identify and grasp a great source of inspiration. The second focuses on the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the Japanese aeronautical engineer who dreams of flying and designing airplanes during the Second World War.

During the viewing of the films, I could not help but fall in love once again of these works of art and, at the same time, to realize how they offer enormous ideas for reflection on the figure of the woman and on his representation, much more complex than that of other cartoons.

In a society like the Japanese one still linked to a profound patriarchal system, Miyazaki represented with the plots and protagonists of his films a breath of change, treating female independence and women's ability to be the architects of their future.

Among the various themes that act as a common thread to all films, such as pacifism, environmentalism and politics, the theme of feminism stands out strongly and proceeds hand in hand with a universal message of solidarity, beyond any gender difference, ethnicity and culture.

But let's see why the ways in which Miyazaki represents women are so relevant: in most of his films, the female protagonists have different traits in common: they are strong women, dreamers and with a look always facing the future.

We are not talking about damsels who need a Prince Charming to be saved, but of modern heroines who save themselves, seeking independence and autonomy; They are strong and proud women, ready to fight for what they believe and sacrifice themselves for the common good. In men they seek support, friendship, never salvation.

In “Kiki at home deliveries"The emancipation of the protagonist is narrated with great delicacy Kiki, a young witch who has to start her practiced and move to a city away from home for a year. Like any 13 year old girl, Kiki It is tormented by many doubts and uncertainties that lead her to enter a period of crisis. Thus loses his powers and the ability to fly but manages to find the strength to overcome the difficulties alone, without anyone at his side.

The most complex and mysterious heroine of the Ghibli studio is the protagonist of the filmPrincess Mononoke ". San, abandoned still a child and adopted by a group of wolves, it is a warrior who fights to defend the forests from destruction. Heroic and impetuous, often loses patience easily but under his appearance from Duri there are a truly profound humanity and complexity.   

Furthermore, one cannot fail to mention Sophie, the protagonist of the "HOWL wandering castle.

Sophie It is a very insecure chapel of one's physical appearance. One day the witch of the lands cursed her by making her age suddenly and forcing her to look for the great magician Howl so that I break that spell. The heroine of this fairy tale will not be stopped by her insecurity and her fragility but will exploit them to face the obstacles that come in front of her. In all respects a personal path, which will lead her to understand the importance of loving every part of itself, also undertakes, even when we don't like it at all.

Another relevant figure we find it in the "The enchanted city. Chihiro, a ten -year -old girl who is catapulted into a surreal world, where she awaits her the task of saving her parents and her own life, facing the most powerful supernatural entities of Japanese mythology. The small one Chihiro It does not need a strong hero who helps him, but rather, he perfectly manages to use his intellectual skills to escape dangers.

Another princess without Prince Charming is present in "Nausicaa of the Valle del Vento ".

The protagonist of this story is a pacifist heroine, kind, in love with nature, which struggles with stubbornness to defend the species that live in the jungle.

In the narrative and psychological representation of these protagonists, Miyazaki insists on the intellectual and personal characteristics, putting aside the stereotypes related to excessive sensitivity, love or more simply physical appearance: they are young teenagers and strong women, equipped with talent and Personality in which the public manages to identify itself precisely because human and, as such, subject to doubts and fragility but also changes and maturation paths.


In short, this is only one of the many that you wait who makes the films of the Ghibli studio so special and that leads me to consider them real cultural treasures, so I recommend you, if you have not yet done it, to go and recover all The works of this animated study.


Marianna De Donno

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