Updated: Jan 27
Because the film and book industries, like other industries, are in such rapid change, elders need to adapt to this change, too. If we listen to children, it helps. The children whom I visit like anime, a Japanese-based form of illustration. For elders who prefer gentle themes and storytelling with a universal message, I recommend getting to know the works of Hayao Myaziki, an 82-year old animator/storyteller/filmmaker. Whether you read the book or comic book first and then view the film, or the other way around, you will launch endless conversations and programming.
Before the Pandemic, I conducted on-site "From Page To Screen" workshops, mostly for elders, but often folks of other ages participated. Since the Pandemic, like many elders, I watch films at home, viewing more and more films from Japan and South Korea, which have proliferated on streaming services. Since I am with pre-school and grade-school children on a weekly basic, I am interested in films that they enjoy.
I am especially intrigued by the film/anime illustrations of Hayao Myazaki. Anime is a style of Japanese film and telvision animation, typically aimed at adults, as well as children. Unlike cartoons, which came from the U.S., the concept of anime came to the U.S. from Japan around 1980, though its roots are much earlier. Unlike non-realistic visual representation of real-world objects and characters, anime is semi-realistic visual representation of real-world objects and characters, generally in series form, with chronological episodes. Cartoons are generally humorous, but anime focuses on concepts that are centered on human emotions. Source.
Never-Ending Man Hayao Myazaki, is a documentary featuring Miyazaki, an Academy Award-winning director and Studio Ghibli co-founder. He is the director of many popular animated feature films, including the following:
The Wind Rises, based on the book, The Wind Has Risen, a novel by Tatsuo Tori. Following the release of The Wind Rises, Miyazaki announced his retirement from feature films, though he returned in 2016 to work on the upcoming feature film, How Do You Live? (2023)
Castle in the Sky was originally a story by Miyazaki, later made into a novel, "The Novelization of the Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Volume 1 and 2.
My Neighbor Totoro is a film that Hayao Miyazaki directed, retold in novel form by Tsugiko Kubo that Miyazaki illustrated, and children's book.
Miyazaki's films and other media (books and comic books at various levels, pre-school through adults) includes themes such as environmentalism, pacifism, feminism, love and family. He sees two sides to both heroes and their enemies. Nobody is just good or just bad. His films are animations. often with voiceovers by famous movie stars. Click HERE for a list of his works. Whether you start by watching one of his films, or start by reading one of his books, you can appreciate his inspirational talent, maybe try writing an anime book, yourself, or even producing a brief (2 minutes or so) anime film! First, you might want to find out how anime is made.
A good way to get a sense of Miyazaki's films are to view the two-minute, 11-second film, "A Guide to the Films of Hayao Miyazaki." A good way to get a sense of his books is to order them from your local or regional library.
For follow-up activities, visit a comic book store. Retail may be floundering, but not on-site or online comic book retailers. In the store, you may find anime figurines, trading cards, games, puzzles, guidebooks, artbooks, pre-owned, posters, and much more. Do an Internet search for anime costumes, puppets, plush toys, t-shirts & hoodies, how-to-draw anime & manga books, create your own comic books, YouTube how-to videos, Japanese Sushi Jigsaw Puzzle, anime building blocks, anime jewelry making accessories, anime dancing, anime song and j-pop, and much more.... and then, if you want even more, visit a Japanese grandmother who loves anime and Hayao Miyazaki's vision/works. Most of us won't have an opportunity to visit Gihibli Park, in Japan (Tips on Accessibility), but we can take an armchair YouTube video tour.