Hayao Miyazaki is a master of cinema. His contributions to film and animation culture are innumerable, and his company Studio Ghibli stands out as one of the most groundbreaking and impressive animation houses in the world. If you’re a fan of Ghibli or Miyazaki then the Japanese national broadcaster NHK has a treat for you. Their wonderful documentary series 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki is currently available to watch on their app or their website for free, and it is nothing short of amazing.
The four-part series follows the animator over a decade as he embarks on multiple later-stage Studio Ghibli projects including Ponyo, From Up on Poppy Hill, and The Wind Rises. The single documentarian behind the series has an unparalleled degree of access to Miyazaki and his creative process. We follow the animator in both his work and personal life as he comes to terms with aging, the changing face of animation, as well as the 2011 Japanese earthquake and the nuclear disaster that followed. We also see Miyazaki as a father as the documentary explores his relationship with his son Goro; we see the pair attempt to create art and movies together in the face of terrible upheaval and loss.
10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki is the perfect watch for the current times. Not only does Miyazaki have plenty of wisdom and comfort to offer, but the series is also a tale of passion, creating art against the odds, and the power of those stories. With nearly four hours to enjoy, the series works as a great binge watch or as a treat to distribute over the span of a few days. And if you do find this a soothing balm then make sure to check out NHK’s other offerings on their video on demand service, which is full of inventive, thoughtful, and often completely unique programming.