The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki is pretty much sold out everywhere. In anticipation of its being in stock somewhere, here are its films, ranked.
Hayao Miyazaki is one of the key visionary directors of many films that have come out of Studio Ghibli, so it’s no surprise that The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki has spent most of its time post-release sold out everywhere. It’s a good thing most of the films are showing up on Netflix over the next few months.
While they may differ in quality amongst themselves, it’s pretty safe to say that there isn’t a Miyazaki directed film that’s anything even close to bad, or even mediocre. So, in celebration of its existence, and anticipation of The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki eventually being in stock somewhere, here are all of the films contained in the boxed set, ranked (without talking about dubs).
Porco Rosso (1992)
There aren’t many directors of whom you can say that the worst entry in their filmography is still a fantastic piece of animated cinema. Porco Rosso combines a boundless imagination for the fantastical and an eye for historical narrative into something more concerned with entertaining than saying something deep, and that’s absolutely alright.
Miyazaki might have put out better films both before and since, but that doesn’t mean that Porco Rosso is anywhere near boring. In fact, it’s engaging from the outset and stars a pigman pilot. It’s best enjoyed by embracing its carefree attitude wholesale.
Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
A lot of credit should be given to Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro for sowing the seeds of the versatile and ever-blooming imagination that would come to gloriously flower in Miyazaki’s later films. However, in and of itself, The Castle of Cagliostro is a really fun ride.
It’s a family film to be sure, playing well with fans of animation either young in years or heavy of them. As it stands in Miyazaki’s filmography, however, it’s likely not a common favorite, despite being a wonderful piece of art.
Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind (1985)
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is a refreshing departure from the usual tropes and expectations of a lot of Japanese animation. Forgoing traditional grit and heavy themes for a more environmental film, a repeated theme from Studio Ghibli that will come apparent as you continue through this article.
It’s also one of Miyazaki’s more forgotten works, which is a shame because the amazing sci-fi is likely to appeal to many viewers outside die-hard anime fans. Ultimately, the mix of political sub-plot and a very Disney Princess-esque protagonist in Nausicaä don’t always gel, placing this a little lower on the list.
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
If you want a film with captivating animated visuals, a quirky and lovable protagonist and a heartwarming plot, Kiki’s Delivery Service could make for perfect Sunday viewing.
While, if compared with the regular Disney fair, Kiki is truly exceptional, and a gorgeous and empathetic film to behold, when it comes to Miyazaki’s body of work it comes up a little wanting. Ultimately it takes a comfortable place on this list as a film that can be revisited but is surpassed by other works.
Castle In The Sky (1989)
It’s difficult to decide which element of Castle in the Sky is more cinematically nourishing: its endearing characters, fantastic (obviously) animation, the intricate design of the world, its sprawling narrative, or the pure sense of optimism that emanates from Seeta and Pazu that wraps it all together.
It’s an interesting entry in Miyazaki’s filmography, not least because of its sci-fi steampunk elements and its use of broad fable archetypes to feel both familiar and entrancingly unique, all at the same time.
We issue you a challenge: while watching Ponyo try to pause the film at a point that the image on screen wouldn’t look right at home framed and hung on a wall. Taking on a cleaner, more simplistic look while still maintaining the awe of Miyasaki’s visual style, Ponyo is worth a watch just to feast on it with your eyeballs.
While its narrative is a little less complex than some of Miyazaki’s stronger output, likely due to it being aimed at a younger audience, it’s still an entertaining romp.
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
There’s a reason that O Totoro is the mascot for Studio Ghibli. He, along with the film he appears in, encapsulates the heartwarming and childlike wonder that is at the heart of the group’s animated work. Plus, he makes for a great plushie.
My Neighbor Totoro is rightfully considered a classic among Miyazaki’s breathtaking work, with all of the heartwarming characters at play that you come to expect from the filmmaker. It has a strong sense of preserving nature and an understanding of some of the sad realities of life. It’s the kind of film most folks should see growing up.
The Wind Rises (2014)
Miyazaki’s most atypical and most personal film, The Wind Rises, was his last. Underlined by a bittersweet gentleness that forgoes the usual enchanting fantasy and creatures that became typical for Miyazaki. It has a more meditative approach that proves that the captivation of animation shouldn’t be confined to genre expectations.
It revolves around Jiro, who dreams of becoming a pilot but can’t due to his nearsightedness, and so takes to excelling in aeronautical design instead. The film is one that should definitely be visited with knowledge of Miyasaki’s other films and his legendary career alongside them. In this way, it’s a true swansong.
Howl’s Moving Castle (2005)
If there were a film you’d show to someone who’d never seen a Miyazaki film, and you wanted them to understand his way of tackling difficult themes and ideas within a sincere yet fantastical world, that film would be Howl’s Moving Castle.
It’s a fantastic representation of Miyazaki’s visual style and through its often bizarre characters, it presents a story that anyone would be hard-pressed not to get emotionally invested in. On top of that, this ostentatiously captivating take on the Welsh high-lands is sure to make great eye-candy for any viewer.
Princess Mononoke (1999)
What can be said about Princess Mononoke that hasn’t already been said before? Initially breaking box office records in Japan, it’s easy to see why this is one of Miyazaki’s more beloved films, not only covering the usual environmental themes associated with Studio Ghibli but also homing in deeper on the nature of evil.
Obviously, the animation is so gorgeous you want to climb into your screen, that’s a given. But the film’s refusal to paint characters as exclusively good or evil really gives it a step up above the rest. That and Joe Hisaishi’s score elevates the film into pure wonderment. Also, did you know the script was translated into English by Neil Gaiman?
Spirited Away (2002)
And so, our favorite film within The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki has to be Spirited Away. While it’s definitely close between this and Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away just squeaks ahead due to the pure depth bubbling under the surface.
Spirited Away sports the vivid enthralling visuals that fans have come to expect from Miyazaki but brings far more to the table in the form of its Alice in Wonderland-like plot and deeper themes of death, mourning, and dreading the future that most animated films wouldn’t dare tackle. Spirited Away wouldn’t be nearly this masterful without Miyazaki’s screenplay.
YOU MAY LIKE THIS DVD
DVD Region: 4, PAL (for AUS & NZ)
Number of Discs: 12
Shipping: Send in 1-2 days from NSW, ETA 6-8 working days.
Returns: 60 days money back for no reason, seller pays return postage.
Guarantee: Authentic DVD, send again or full refund if not delivered in 3 weekds.
The Collected Works Of Hayao Miyazaki Complete Series