Length does matter (Miyazaki article)

By Gecko on Sat Aug 20, 2004

Hayao Miyazaki is known for directing some of the greatest films on earth. It just so happens that those films are Anime. And although Miyazaki's films are very versatile, there is one little thing that a lot of fans have noticed in many of them; Most of the female characters all have short hair.
  Throughout this article we will analyse some of the many movies that Miyazaki has directed, to try and see just what his infatuation with short haired girls might be.

Let us start of by analysing one of Miyazaki's first film with his famous Studio Ghibli. None other than Laputa: Castle in the Sky. For this 1986 fantasy film, 2 young people are set of on an adventure in finding a legendary floating castle called "Laputa". A young boy named "Pazu" literally catches a girl that mysteriously floats down from the sky. The girls name is "Sheeta" and she is our next victim of exploration. Laputa Castle in the Sky Sheeta is believed to be a princess from the legendary castle, and to prove it she has a magical broach which is the reason she floats down to earth, rather than crashes like you normally do. But because she is a princess of such a place, many people are after her for the sake of a rumoured treasure. Now this beautiful young girl is chased across the lands, with her only real protection her friend Pazu and the magical broach.
  Sheeta starts of the movie with long hair and pig tails. However, they are later removed in a very spine chilling way. What is left is the same little girl, but with Miyazakis favourite hair style. Even from the start of the movie Sheeta is a pretty defenceless girl, but she proves otherwise when she stands firm against her enemies. Even facing of with her biggest enemy despite the fact that she is unarmed, and he has a gun. All this proves that she as well has guts, and even though her pig tails fitted her well, her rough interior is a better match for her short hair. Does Miyazaki like independent girls who can show the boys that girls can? Let's continue...

The next movie we will analyse is another Miyazaki classic. We are of course talking about Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind. Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind The leading lady in this 1984 sci-fi story is a young princess named Nausicaa, who desperately seeks to find peace between 2 very different worlds. The world of her own which is the human race, and the poisonous world of the bugs. While she tries her best to stop the huge conflict, she finds out that in fact she is fighting a battle between 4 worlds, because her world of the humans have split into 3, with different objectives. This brave princess takes it upon herself to solve the crisis and help everyone live another day.
  So what makes Nausicaa a perfect example of Miyazaki's obsession? Well, she has short hair, but what kind of personality does she have to back up that kind of style? She's a brave young woman, willing to put her life on the line for what she believes in. To many I guess that would be fitting, however, could this be a sign that Miyazaki likes the kind of girl who would have the power to push him around? Who knows, but let's move on...

Our next exploration leads us to one of Miyazaki's most famous works. The 1988 classic My Neighbor Totoro stars 2 young girls who just moved to a new home and are getting settled in, when they meet a very unusual but kind creature named "Totoro". My Neighbor Totoro Sisters Satsuki and Mei are indeed best of friends, but since Satsuki is the older one she has an obligation to take care of and defend her little sister Mei. Being so young, Mei might be considered naive, but her young beliefs and curiosity lead her to discover a very cute creature called Totoro. Satsuki, wondering what Mei is talking about, wishes to see it first hand, in doing so she unlocks her imagination to wide possibilities. The life they both live after meeting Totoro is indeed a happy one, but that doesn't take them away from their problems. Being tough, and withstanding the odds they prove that sisterly love can prevail.
  Satsuki and Mei are definatly perfect examples of females with short hair. Young and independent, they manage to sustain their happy youth while having their everyday troubles. It's nothing your average long haired girl couldn't pull off, but their short hairs suit them well. Realistic girls who can balance their troubles seems to be Miyazaki's weak spot, despite the trouble, you can always bet your bucks that the girls will have a solution to everything. Onwards to the next one...

To find a true classic example of an independent, short hair girl, go no further then the 1989 Miyazaki hit Kiki's Delivery Service, where a 13 year old witch named Kiki is set of to live on her own in a big city. Kikis Delivery Service Kiki, who is basically taking on all of lifes challenges in one movie, does it with style, and in the end all her hard work pays off. "But fate, as it seems, is not without a sence of irony" (Notice the quote), as Kiki needed to go through some very tough times in order to reach her good status. Kiki, who is by todays standards too young to even own a broom (Get it?), achieves much more then your typical 13 year old. With her pure will and a little skill, Kiki finds a job, earnes money and has a place to stay, and at the same time worries about one of lifes biggest problems at that tender age, boys.
  So what is it about Kiki that makes her so appealing to Miyazaki and so many others? Could it be just this great independance or strength under preasure, or is it simply that she does what we all have wanted to do at some point? Whatever it may be I think we can all agree that there is a silver line in all of Miyazaki's female characters; They are coming of age, and are totally without fear nor regret. Knowing no bounderies in their possibilities they are not afraid of doing their best, which represents all of our dreams.

For those of you who are still uncertain about the point which this article is trying to make, it's to say that over the very long time that Mr. Miyazaki has been making movies, he has created some of the finest female characters ever. The truth is, it doesn't seem like Miyazaki has a perticular infatuation with short haired girls, it could all just be a coincidence. However it makes us all a bit happier to explores the minds that we admire the most.

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