“Miyazaki Week” hosted by Sacred Grounds allowed Colorado College students to reminisce on the classic movies that defined so many childhoods. Every night from Feb. 22 to Feb. 28, students were invited to watch one of Hiyao Miyazaki’s animated films. Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle were all shown on the big screen, with complementary popcorn and tea.

Miyazaki once said, “Is someone different at age 18 or 60? I believe one stays the same.” This youthful spirit is ever-present in his hand-illustrated films: the recurring themes of nature’s beauty, female empowerment, love, and the complexities of human personality appeal to audiences of all ages. First-year Suzy Lewis said, “As a child, it’s hard not to fall in love with Miyazaki’s use of color and music and the general beauty of his films, but growing up I was also able to appreciate the larger themes of his movies—they really had an impact on my view of the world around me.”

Miyazaki’s films manage to perfectly capture the essence of human life, with a style of simplicity that cannot be duplicated. The whimsical storylines and beautiful scenery draw audiences in, but the wonderfully resonating ideas of what it means to be human are what make his movies so relevant and valuable. Lewis described this phenomenon: “I don’t watch Miyazaki every weekend . . . his films are more like an old friend that you cherish but just don’t talk to for several years. In the end, it’s okay, because you always end up going back, and you never stop fiercely loving them.” The level of devotion Miyazaki supporters have seems quite universal. Just like a Harry Potter fandom, Miyazaki followers will never let his movies die out, and for good reason.

There was a definite spark of enthusiasm when “Miyazaki Week” at Sacred Grounds was announced; fans and first-timers from all over campus were able to gather and discuss the admired films. Lewis said, “It was really exciting to see that there was a big appreciation of him, and seeing how other people perceive his films is always incredibly interesting. Also, Miyazaki fans make pretty cool people.”

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