First of all, I probably need to apologize for not having done one of these in a while. I have no excuse besides sheer laziness, I’ll try to be more consistent from now on! Incidentally, I will probably have too since my work schedule is normalizing again, which means its going be unlikely for me to have time to write 2 essays per week like I used to. On the brighter side, more motivation and time to make insight posts, right?
Now that I am done digressing… As you probably got from the title this is going to be mostly about the last 2 movies I wrote about (sorry AoT), Weathering with You and Spirited Away. I absolutely didn’t plan for this but when I was doing the write up for Spirited Away, I realized how much the themes of these 2 movies made me think about the future.
I guess that I am at the sort of age where I get to both reflect on my life so far and also question what the future holds (I am 25, not too old and not too young one would say). In the age of information, we have the benefit, and a bit the curse too, of being more informed than any previous generation before us; that comes with a lot of responsibility. With everything going on in the world its nigh impossible to turn a blind eye to our societal issues, there is an urge to self-reflect.
Miyazaki though, was miles ahead of his time, he was ‘woke’ before being ‘woke’ was a thing. Through Spirited Away and his other movies he pummels into us environmental responsibility, but unlike our contemporary movements he has a holistic element in his brand of responsibility. He doesn’t single-mindedly militate for environment; he instead acknowledges the human element of the issue and considers the way we should balance our responsibility to the environment to what we owe to society. He thinks of a whole in terms of responsibility when we grow up to the environment and to each other as well.
On the other hand, Shinkai leans more towards addressing the issue that happens when you dump too much responsibility onto newer generations and how debilitating and overwhelming that is on the individual level. They both admit how frantic life, especially in the working world, is but where Miyazaki advocates a personal development that he posits to be inherent to the human condition and which functions within the machine of society ( sorry for the mouthful), Shinkai tells us that sometimes its ok to not give give a f***.
Of course, he reminds us every step of the way that actions like that have consequences, and dire ones at that. But also, there is a sense in Weathering with You of a generation on the verge of breaking from societal stress and feels that sometimes it feels good to forget the world around us. Miyazaki and Shinkai are from different generations and it shows; personally I think there is value in both of there views (yes that is a cop out ), Shinkai’s message resonates louder nowadays but there is also something endearing to Miyazaki’s optimism in society and in the human condition.