Miyazaki continued to propose ideas for films and film endings continually throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1971, he left Toei Animation for A Pro and co-directed the first six episodes of the Lupin III manga series with Takahata. Miyazaki and Takahata continued working together, formulating two shorts. The Lupin III series led to Miyazaki’s directorial debut on The Castle of Cagliostro, a Lupin III film.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
After the Lupin III film was released, Miyazaki directed 1984’s classic Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. In his second feature, Hayao introduced many of the themes that would become his standards in animation. The movie featured a strong concern with natural science, an enthrallment with flight, and moral vagueness among the film’s villains.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was the first film to be completely written and directed by Miyazaki. It remains an enduring classic and led to the creation of Studio Ghibli with Takahata. Ghibli would prove to be one of the most prominent and popular animation production studios in the world.
Founded in 1985, Ghibli was founded by Miyazaki, Takahata, and Toshio Suzuki. The films put out by Ghibli were distributed throughout Japan by Toho, one of Japan’s major studios. Most of Ghibli’s most popular and well-received films were directed and written by Miyazaki, with one exception. 1988’s Grave of the Fireflies, which is an astonishing film, was directed by Takahata and would be the only film from Ghibli that Disney would decline to dispense.
Ghibli’s parent company is Tokuma. Tokuma has provided Disney with the video distribution rights to all of Ghibli’s production, including distribution rights to Spirited Away and other Miyazaki classics. Because of this, many people often think Ghibli and Disney are one and the same. They are not.
Another interesting thing about Miyazaki and Ghibli is the “no edits” policy. The American release of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind proved to be fairly uncomfortable for Miyazaki, as the film was titled Warriors of the Wind and was greatly edited to be friendlier to Western audiences. The plot was rewritten and many major portions of the film were cut. To date, Ghibli’s strict policy is intact and Miyazaki’s animation remains as it should be in America.