Miyazaki and the Hero’s Journey


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About the Book

This book explores anime auteur Hayao Miyazaki’s films through the lens of the monomyth of the Heroic Quest Cycle. According to Joseph Campbell and other mythology researchers, the Quest is for boys and men, with women acting as either the Hero’s mother or the Prize at the end of the journey. Miyazaki nearly exclusively portrays girls and young women as heroes, arguing that we must reassess Campbell’s archetype. The text begins with a brief history of animation and anime, followed by Miyazaki’s background and rise to prominence. The following chapters look at each of Miyazaki’s films from the perspective of the Heroic Quest Cycle, with the last section outlining where Miyazaki and other animators can lead the archetype of the Hero in the future. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Deborah Scally is an assistant professor of humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. She writes mostly about anime and manga.

Bibliographic Details

Deborah Scally

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 195
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8505-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4604-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction: Oh, Miyazaki. Where Art Thou? 1
1. This Is What It Means to Be Miyazaki Hayao 13
2. A Tale of Two Princesses: The Birth of the Female Hero 37
3. Kiki and Sheeta and Mai 64
4. Chihiro’s Journey: Spirited Away as Archetypal Quest 92
5. Sophie’s and Gina’s Hearts: Grownup Heroes 117
6. Ponyo and Arrietty: The ­Post-Human Hero? 136
7. What’s Next? Ghibli and Beyond 156
Epilogue 169
Chapter Notes 173
Bibliography 179
Index 185

Book Reviews & Awards

“This is both an intelligent book and an eminently readable one.”—Helen McCarthy, alltheanime.com