Hayao Miyazaki and the Art of Ambivalence | Big Joel


Comments • 768

  • Luciene Oyola
    Luciene Oyola  49 minutes back

    Thanks you have given me a more complex understanding of these movies. 😁 I haven’t seen them this way before.

    • Alyria Tutoring
      Alyria Tutoring  13 hours back

      East Asian culture, particularly Japanese has mastered this art of “yin”. Saying so much with so little, allowing silence to speak volumes—and that’s why I love it so much. It provides so much depth and space for contemplation for the audience. “Trust and betrayal” the backstory behind Rurouni Kenshin provides an identical atmosphere. That’s why these films never get old, because there’s never quite a definitivity to it all, you can always look at it from another angle or find more depth

      • Muhammad Ziauddin
        Muhammad Ziauddin  17 hours back

        Snake Eyes Shirafuji

        • Linda de Jong
          Linda de Jong  1 days back

          Generally I really love what you do, your analyses can be so spot on, but especially where fiction links with emotion you tend to miss points and miss-observe. In this instance too: out of all the things you wrongly ascribe (for instance the dark passengers on the train as business people, when they in no way resemble business people - with their sturdy, country-folk silhouets and big bags, whereas business people tend to dress with sharp angles and slim cases for luggage), your character assesment of Chihiro as being AT HEART "passive and maleable" is totally off the mark. She starts off as a weak, self-pitying child, but she develops very suddenly into an individual with distinct boundries and on-the-spot decision-making skills, her latent talent for self-preservation and self-establishment brought out suddenly by the traumatic experience of losing her parents. Your assesment of Chihiro goes directly against what Miyazaki says about the character of Chihiro himself in interviews: that she is a regular spoilt ten year old girl thrown into completely alien surroundings who has to buck up, go with her gut and show the world who she is in order to save herself. She's not maleable at all, she stands her ground against all the sucking and abusive agents around her - she's a talent, a force of nature, given how well she deals with all that is happening. She even surprises seasoned grown-ups around her (like Lin) with her speedy development. Chihiro is a deep, deep character, with a life, an interior and beliefs ALL her own. Taking a random train trip? This trip represents the death of her old child-self towards the dedication to the person she feels she now should become - that is why the expression on her face is... placid, eerie calmness?? No, her face is stern, look at that terse mouth!! I know exactly how she feels; she has no time for her fellow passengers with their own lives, dead or right here right now - she's got business to take care of. There's nothing ambivalent about this, this is Miyazaki helping us all out to be more courageous, strong people.
          And then the thing about Howl: how can you say he is ambivalent about the war, when he almost dies trying to fight for the right outcome night after night, the King even hauling his Howling ass over to the castle because he broke his promise for being a lackey for the kingdom in return for the education in magic he received?
          How can you say there is ambivalence amongst the audience of The Wind Rising when most of us acutely feel that there is a blindly ambitious man missing the love that life is made up out of, his beloved killing herself out of love for him because she realises her love's love for the miracle of mechanical flight is greater than the love for her.
          Bruh, is you mad? Please check some documentaries of and interviews with Miyazaki, because he has a lot of beauty for you in all these films that you seem to be missing. I grant you the beauty of Miyazaki, even if in making all this beauty he treated his son rather bad and his wife still never sees him. Lord knows he gave up a lot just to give you all this "ambivalence".

          • Jeniffer Stapher-Thomas

            A quite brilliant summation for a an old lady fan- trying to teach about AMBIVALENCE. Thank you.

            • Huibo Yang
              Huibo Yang  5 days back

              Cuz ambivalance is what reality is.

              • Amanda Dixson
                Amanda Dixson  6 days back

                Hands down my favorite Miyazaki film. 💗

                • ゆめぽんた
                  ゆめぽんた  1 weeks back

                  I’m a Japanese, I come to YouTube to interact with foreigners, and they give me all sorts or racist comments.(e.g, I thought you ate dogs(which is not true)).
                  But by the way we are all deeply moved by this pure two minutes of no dialogue, I can tell that we are all of one kind.
                  I know that people here are more appreciative of Japan, but I hope there will be more kindness in the world anywhere I go.
                  To those who have read this comment, thanks for bearing with my poor English, I wish you all a good day:)

                  • 590275502
                    590275502  2 weeks back

                    the only true evil in the princess monokoke from my personal stand point is the unseen threat... a catalyst to all the bad in the film yet unseen he is always. The emperor who in his greedy quest for immortality brought war to iron town and then was the catalyst of Nago being shot and transforming into a corrupted beast. he took advantage of people and in essence makes him the Ambivalent villain. No one on screen is evil but the emperor truly is.

                    So full of himself that characters seek forgiveness from HIM to peer upon the Nightwalker and not the Nightwalker himself.

                    I think its brilliant miyazaki made me hate one with a face unseen for his destruction and manipulative narcissistic greedy ways....

                    • Little Wolf Taima
                      Little Wolf Taima  2 weeks back

                      I love this. This is what I love about so much anime, the lack of a need for black and white thinking when it comes to protagonists/antagonists, or creating artificial momentum in the form of non stop action sequences and witty one liners, not all information is spoonfed to you and not everything HAS to be explained and there is just this mature acceptance of weird shit that is going on around Chihiro and there must be some rhyme and reason to it even if she isn't privvy to it straight off the bat instead of neverending over the top reactions to everything constantly. It creates fantastic immersion.

                      • Isaiah Stephenson
                        Isaiah Stephenson  2 weeks back

                        Dude this is a genius observation. Thank you for explaining my childhood.

                        • Isaiah Stephenson
                          Isaiah Stephenson  2 weeks back


                          • Alex Hobbs
                            Alex Hobbs  3 weeks back

                            I know this is an older video, but if you're still looking for ideas, you could do an analysis of the Ghibli movies based around a comparison/contrast of the films based on directors. i.e., Miyasaki vs Takahara vs Kondo.

                            • Bugseph Bunnin
                              Bugseph Bunnin  3 weeks back

                              I'm convinced that Miyazaki is a pacifist anticapitalist. Change my mind.

                              • Chaya Miller
                                Chaya Miller  4 weeks back

                                That's what really touches my heart about Miyazaki films. Besides from the beautiful breath taking animation, there was somthing else, a quality of the story telling that calmly causes you to reflect on life. Thank you for putting it into words and making this video.

                                • Libby Hoffman
                                  Libby Hoffman  4 weeks back

                                  love this, make more!!

                                  • Luna Sol
                                    Luna Sol  4 weeks back


                                    • tsopmocful
                                      tsopmocful  4 weeks back

                                      The Western mind tends towards the object or character and the effects they have on their surroundings, while the Eastern mind tends toward the surroundings and the effect they have on the object or character.

                                      Because of this, Western minds create more linear stories for the object or character with the Eastern stories being more holistic.

                                      US movie culture has a particular tendency towards clear stereotyped characters that are either good or evil within formulaic plots that must have a happy ending, because it is assumed that any ambiguity will dissatisfy, unsettle or even disturb the audience.

                                      The Australian movie 'Picnic At Hanging Rock' initially worried US distributors for that reason, and the lukewarm box office for 'Children Of Men' may also be due to an unresolved ending.

                                      Luckily it turns out that audiences of either cultures are not always stuck in their respective ways.

                                      • RoboticRomo
                                        RoboticRomo  4 weeks back

                                        She's growing up; becoming more courageous. It's part of the movie's theme, facing things head on.

                                        • GEORGINA VALLE
                                          GEORGINA VALLE  1 months back

                                          this made me appreciate these movies even more than i already do

                                          • Michelle Machado
                                            Michelle Machado  1 months back

                                            Now that I know what ambivalence is, I don't think I like it (in movies). In art for example it's beautiful, but... How do you expect me to care about characters if they themselves don't even care about anything? Just 'going with it' in obscure settings sounds really unwise and, the movie having ended with almost nothing explained, is a bit more irritating than awe-inspiring. It is kinda gorgeous tho. But it just bothers me.

                                            • Sueda Soylu
                                              Sueda Soylu  1 months back

                                              Its just so beutiful i am crying

                                              • Richard Bounds
                                                Richard Bounds  1 months back

                                                Regarding Princess Mononoke, Eboshi is wrong. Flat out, unambiguously, wrong. She's presented as sympathetic and placed in a difficult position, but that's of her own making. She's never portrayed as the outright villain, Jigo fills that role a little more overtly, but if she had never shown up to Iron town, the conflict wouldn't have started, the dead men and animals, and the forest spirit would still be "alive".

                                                Eboshi, sympathetic and likeable as she is, never accepts that she's in the wrong, never takes reaponsibility for the death she has caused until it almost literally bites her in the ass. Even then she's not repentant, she's just, "well, we will start over and rebuild."

                                                Ashitaka takes a side, because he realizes that Eboshi is wrong. He does everything he can to stop Eboshi's plan to kill the Forest Spirit, short of killing her; I mean he throws his sword at her. That seems like someone who has motivation for action.

                                              • Criz Moon
                                                Criz Moon  1 months back

                                                Wow your video is so beautifuly explain, thank you 💜

                                                • The AntiStormShaun !
                                                  The AntiStormShaun !  1 months back

                                                  "My son is a mistake" Hayao

                                                  • ktcrich
                                                    ktcrich  1 months back

                                                    It's called ma in Japanese. Emptiness. The moments in between. It's meant to let the story breath and have dimension not just tension.

                                                    • Lemon Child
                                                      Lemon Child  1 months back

                                                      This is also my favorite scene and I couldn't tell why, thank you for this video!!

                                                      • LimeGreenBunny
                                                        LimeGreenBunny  2 months back

                                                        I really enjoyed this video. I'm discovering Miyazaki movies because I'm tired of the western entertainment industry and their desperate clamoring race to capture and hold their audience's attention at all costs, as well as trying to shove their values down our throats. I love that Miyazaki movies can have these quiet, contemplative scenes, and that they respect their audience enough to let us draw our own conclusions about the story rather than inserting a character's opinion in the middle of everything. The movies play out like there's no audience at all, but in doing so they speak all the more powerfully to our hearts. It's rather like the way real life works.

                                                        • frenetically
                                                          frenetically  2 months back

                                                          that girl is fainted lmao

                                                          • Homero Negaraku
                                                            Homero Negaraku  2 months back

                                                            The kid shadow figure looks more like Haku

                                                            • Raspy Potato
                                                              Raspy Potato  2 months back

                                                              Big Joel: when the boiler man tells her that the ticket only goes one way, she doesn't even blink.
                                                              Chihiro: **Blinks**

                                                              • Totally slg
                                                                Totally slg  2 months back

                                                                Your username reminds me of Billy Joel

                                                                • Meishang Chung
                                                                  Meishang Chung  2 months back

                                                                  I'd like to say it's (ie: ambivalence) a "Japanese thing" but it's not. Haruki Murakami is a prolific writer and all his stories and characters epitomize ambivalence at their very core. Miyazaki has a slightly more optimistic version of that sensibility however, the influence actually comes from Kafkaesque ideologies which is what makes it so poignant. Kafka's works are so hard-hitting in Japan because of their pre-existing systems and cultural norms that make Kafkaesque behaviour prime philosophical fodder for Japanese stories.

                                                                  Simultaneously, Buddhist ideologies are also a key factor in how Japan understands beginning and endings, as well as what a journey means. I mean the circle is literally their flag. This is amplified by concepts of wabi-sabi, the notoriously elitist but not really ideology of impermanence (and strength in impermanence) which is clearly a focal aspect of Miyazaki stories.

                                                                  All in all, Miyazaki's stories are inherently Japanese, rather than "It's Japanese because it's ambivalent".

                                                                  • Fakhri Lana
                                                                    Fakhri Lana  2 months back

                                                                    I love how the storyline goes, the felling of ambiguosity and almost enigmatic bus still have his own appeal. Brings back memories ♥

                                                                    • S da Prince
                                                                      S da Prince  2 months back

                                                                      Big Joel,

                                                                      You need to rethink your talking points. Though your observations are accurate, the result of your analysis leaves room to suggest you haven’t watched these movies enough.

                                                                      • eggynack
                                                                        eggynack  2 months back

                                                                        That's a weird claim. Dude's watched them plenty.

                                                                    • bhuuthesecond
                                                                      bhuuthesecond  2 months back

                                                                      I was kind of disappointed by The Wind Rises. I wanted to see way more vintage aeronautical engineering.

                                                                      • TindraSan
                                                                        TindraSan  2 months back

                                                                        "this video is getting kind of long" he says after 8 minutes when most video essays and the like have been 20-30 minutes on average even before 2017

                                                                        • Esther
                                                                          Esther  2 months back

                                                                          This movie was weird.

                                                                          • Urban Lagoon
                                                                            Urban Lagoon  2 months back

                                                                            I’d like to see you do a video on ninja scrool and Akira

                                                                            • BattleBurrito
                                                                              BattleBurrito  2 months back

                                                                              But lady eboshi is wrong.

                                                                              She's empathic and overall a good person, but in the forest-town conflict, she is wrong.


                                                                              • Ray
                                                                                Ray  2 months back

                                                                                okay so why is this in sub, I almost fell off my chair

                                                                                • Leeanne
                                                                                  Leeanne  2 months back

                                                                                  *MIYAZAKI DOES MORE*

                                                                                  • mikasky
                                                                                    mikasky  3 months back

                                                                                    When I feel a bit lost, I just like to go back and rewatch Spirited away. That movie moved me in so many ways when I watched it for the first time as a kid... Rly loved the video, appreciation and how much you cared about making this video significant. Ty

                                                                                    • Sleeping Sheep
                                                                                      Sleeping Sheep  3 months back


                                                                                      • Selam Abunu
                                                                                        Selam Abunu  3 months back

                                                                                        Well thought and well spoken. Been a Miyazaki fan most of my life, and your insight definitely enhanced my feelings about the films.

                                                                                        • The Wanderer
                                                                                          The Wanderer  3 months back

                                                                                          I know it's been 2 years, but I don't mind, you made me realize something important and I just have to share it.

                                                                                          Back when I was a kid, I was really scared of anime and Japanese cartoons. And I always blamed this on blood, gore and other stuff you can see in anime. But at the same time whenever a horror movie came up, I would die laughing. So years later I became I fan of Japanese culture. Well, not really worthy of a fan title, I don't know much, but I can say I like it. And for a long time I excused myself to have been a little kid scared of gore. Then I confessed to myself that there was something else I was scared of, even in scenes that were in a happy tone. Then I realized that there is this spesific thing about anime-it's not innocent. It can tell a cute, pure story, but NOT innocent. There was something scary about the atmospere. Something my young mind could not understand. It could not comprehend the idea of so many emotions at the same it. It was so overwhelming it made me cry. It was not scary, but overwhelming. And even as a kid, I was scared of things I could not understand. Things I could not classify into one category or the other. While now, when I am much older, that's exactly why I am so attracted to Japanese cartoon. Because they are not cartoons for children. Unpacking emotions in one single scene takes forever. They are not simple and innocent. They are telling pure stories in a complex way. It is called ambivalence. It is so beatiful, yet its contradiction is so scary and disturbing and it's so hard to take in all of these emotions at the same time, as one, without being able to separate them.

                                                                                          • Justin White
                                                                                            Justin White  3 months back

                                                                                            Excellent video, thanks.

                                                                                            • Faithy C
                                                                                              Faithy C  3 months back

                                                                                              This was such a peaceful and nice video to listen to??? I love this so much??