When some people hear the word anime, they think only of robots, ninjas, and girls with giant eyes, or Pokemon. Clearly such people are woefully unaware of genius anime – like that of Hayao Miyazaki.
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…but this isn’t a pro-anime post. This is about the music which richly and carefully embellishes the works of Hayao Miyazaki, who is not just an anime great but also one of the greatest directors of our time. This weekend, some friends kindly took me out of my dungeon to see Princess Mononoke on the big screen at the Bell Lightbox. I’d forgotten how much I liked that movie before but it has become moot. Now that I’ve seen it on the big screen and in the original Japanese (subtitled instead of dubbed), I love it.
The video below is a suite from the movie’s score which, like all things surrounding Miyazaki, is layered with subtlety, pathos, and a richness of artistry. Joe Hisaishi’s work is proof that, in the hands of a master, the symphonic sound is still incomparable.
There is an East-West mix at its core which is less concerned with overt cultural identity and more inclined to exhibit the emotional undercurrent of the story. No better is this illustrated than in this quartet performance which literally draws its sound from Europe and Asia.
Chopin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and their contemporaries may be the old masters but even Handel would applaud the care and mastery of Joe Hisaishi. Furthermore, while I do adore Howard Shore, Hans Zimmer, and John Williams, even they would surely agree that Joe Hisaishi deserves a great deal more recognition in the world of movie scores.
Either way, I don’t think I could face the storm of this week without a little calm ahead of it. Now that some peace has been enjoyed, the chaos can be confronted with eyes unclouded.
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