For my essay I thought about looking into the cultural contexts of Hayao Miyazaki's animations. I think it's a popular idea but it's also one I'm really interested in. I currently have Japanese Visual Culture: Explorations in the world of manga and anime to reference and I've also ordered 3 books in on the subject:
'Starting point 1979-1996' - "A hefty compilation of essays (both pictorial and prose), notes, concept sketches and interviews by (and with) Hayao Miyazaki. Arguably the most respected animation director in the world, Miyazaki is the genius behind Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke and the Academy Award-winning film, Spirited Away."
'Hayao Miyazaki : master of Japanese animation : films, themes, artistry' - "Offers an inside look at the works of Hayao Miyazaki, featuring preliminary sketches and scenes from his films"
'Studio Ghibli : the films of Hayao Miyazaki & Isao Takahata' - "Although their films are distinctly Japanese their themes are universal—humanity, community, and a love for the environment. No other film studio, animation or otherwise, comes close to matching Ghibli for pure cinematic experience. All their major works are examined here, as well the early output of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, exploring the cultural and thematic threads that bind these films together."
They haven't arrived yet so I can't say exactly what I'll be using from each but I was thinking I'd focus either on important themes and which films they appear in or just focus on certain films such. I was thinking of Princess Mononoke, Nausicaa and...I'm not really sure what else, maybe Porco Rosso as it's set in Spain in the post-war depression but any suggestions would be great. If this isn't a strong enough idea then obviously let me know, it was just something I thought would be interesting to research into.