I remember sitting on our living room floor in Japan, drawing out Disney characters while the Little Mermaid was playing. At that time, that was my favorite movie. I never called a fork, fork. Instead, I would argue with waiters and anyone else who questioned me that it was simply called a dingle hopper. Animation movies and T.V shows were the things that I lived for. Growing up in Japan opened my eyes to all the anime cartoons and how magnificent the colors and artwork that came from these shows were. But there was one particular artist who was more than just an artist and a phenomenal storyteller who changed my life. His name is Hayao Miyazaki.
No one questions his abilities; he's proven time and time again that there's something about animation that takes us into another realm. The characters in his films all have this unique background, and they're characters that leave a lasting impression on almost anyone who sees the films. Growing up as a military child and moving so often, I never got the experience of having friends for more than two to three years. Miyazaki's films were like outlets for me to travel into another world with strange creatures, that it didn't really bother me (or I hardly noticed) that having friends was something I needed. Being so young at the time, re-drawing the characters from his films and running outside chasing after the Susuwatari was all that I really cared about.
Although growing up will all his films impacted my younger life, Princess Mononoke is THE film that made me decide to pursue a career in the film industry. I honestly had no idea what I was going to do after high school. I loved to draw, but I never thought my skills qualified enough for college level. I sort of just started sinking into this dark void and felt like I was going to follow my father's footsteps and join the military as well. That, was my final decision. I plopped in a Miyazaki film trying to cheer myself up, and that's when my mind began to tell me something different. Now that I was older, I was able to understand his films. I watched Princess Mononoke and began to see the story line and feel emotions I didn't feel as a child watching the film before. I thought to myself, "I want to do that." I didn't really know what I meant by that, but I just knew I wanted to be doing something that could make people think. I wanted to create characters that people never even imagined before, but can relate to. I wanted people to wonder in their minds, what if the world was like that?
Never did I think growing up that a couple imaginary creatures could help me make a decision that would impact the rest of my life.