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Miyazaki: Anime Legend

His Life and Work

Syllabus Syllabus

Course Description

Hayao Miyazaki is Japan's and perhaps the world's greatest animation director of all time. The entertaining plots, compelling characters, and breathtaking animation in his films have earned him international renown from critics as well as public recognition within Japan.

In this course, we will examine the aesthetic, thematic, and historical characteristics of each of his films. What social conflicts inspired his work? Who were the bases of his characters? Whom did he inspire? Besides his films, we will also briefly examine his other works, including shorts and TV series.

The course is open to all interested students, no previous knowledge of Miyazaki or anime is assumed.

Course Requirements
  • No more than 2 unexcused absences
  • Participate in discussions
  • Midterm exam on course material
  • Final project presentation (very flexible in content)

  • 10% Class participation
  • 40% Midterm exam
  • 50% Final project

This is a Pass/No Pass (P/N) course.

No Pass<70%

Lectures & Discussions

We will have short lectures on Miyazaki's life and influences during the time of the work we're about to see. In discussion, we will critically analyze the film we just saw and relate it to his life and the time period.

Midterm Exam (Oct 14)

This will be a closed everything midterm (okay, I'll let you bring a pencil) on the material covered in class up to this point. It will test students' knowledge of the background of the films seen so far as well as Miyazaki's beginnings. If you were in class every day, participated, and paid attention, then you will not need to study to do well. The questions will be a mixture of multiple choice, fill in the blank, and short answer.

Final Project (Dec 2)

You will work alone, in pairs, or in larger groups to create a project on a topic of your choice. This project is quite flexible in content, but must be related to Miyazaki's life or work in some way (this is your chance to use your unique major to your advantage!). All project proposals must be confirmed by the instructor. There will be brief presentations on these projects during the last week of class.