wes anderson says studio ghibli inspired 'isle of dogs'

Find out how the work of Hayao Miyazaki influenced his stop-motion film.

by André-Naquian Wheeler
15 February 2018, 5:52pm

Screenshot via YouTube/ screenshot via YouTube

Wes Anderson and Hayao Miyazaki share an artistic sensibility. One American, the other Japanese, the two men highlight the overlooked beauty and whimsy of our world. They achieve this through similar methods: hus hed color palettes, meticulously curated worlds, and endearingly quirky characters. The auteurs also have incredibly ardent fanbases — Wes Anderson stans location-scout the globe for him and Miyazaki fans are begging for a Studio Ghibli theme park. Wes cemented his similarities with Miyazaki on Wednesday, during a discussion about his upcoming film Isle of Dogs at the Berlin Film Festival. The Prada fanboy cited Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli work as a chief inspiration for his new star-studded animation, Indiewire reports.

“I really got interested in Japanese animation in the time before I did Fantastic Mr. Fox,'” Wes said, speaking on his first stop-motion animated film (released in 2009). “It wasn’t like I was a huge animation guy. This one [Isle of Dogs], there are two directors who are our inspirations: [Akira] Kurosawa and Miyazaki.”

Wes revealed what elements of Miyazaki’s work guided him. “[Miyazaki] brings the detail and also the silences I think,” Wes said. “With Miyazaki you get nature and you get moments of peace, a kind of rhythm that is not in the American animation tradition so much. That inspired us quite a lot. There were times when I worked with [composer] Alexandre Desplat on the score and we found many places where we had to pull back from what we were doing musically because the movie wanted to be quiet. That came from Miyazaki.”

There are lot of Miyazaki-tinged touches to be found in Isle of Dogs. Just like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, the Japan-centric film focuses on a gang of underdogs (pardon the pun). There’s also a unique focus on the environment, which brings to mind the lush countrysides and anthropomorphic animals present throughout Studio Ghibli. The canines of Megasaki City have been banished to a garbage dump, the bleak location emphasizing the vast amounts of toxic waste humans produce.

However — though they help — it’s not the high-brow film elements of Miyazaki’s canon that makes his films ever-endearing. No, Wes took note of the most important, magical quality of Miyazaki's films: the animation can make your heart smile. Isle of Dogs looks set to do the same when it hits theaters next month.

Wes Anderson
Hayao Miyazaki
Studio Ghibli
Isle of dogs