Editor’s Notes: This was an essay for my Japanese Animation Film Studies course. It’s pretty length because it’s a fourth year course and I had to meet requirements but it was nevertheless an enjoyable write for one of my more interesting university courses.
One of anime’s most significant aesthetic aspects is the stillness in its imagery; a startling fact considering the nature of animation itself, that is, the illusion of motion. Ever since the name anime was coined by Tezuka Osamu, stillness has become not just an aspect of Japanese animation but a pivotal point to be built upon. Over the decades since, it has long risen above being just a by-product of budgetary concerns; limited animation has grown into a stylistic trait applied by reputable studios and directors alike to varying purposes. Hayao Miyazaki applied a Japanese term to this stillness, a stillness which can sometimes be less a lack of movement and more so a lack of significant or pivotal movement. He calls this stillness “ma,” that is emptiness or negative space and he employs it in all his films. The term has become synonymous with his style of work after an interview with film critic, Roger Ebert. Ebert recounts his impression of this aesthetic in Miyazaki’s work, “instead of every movement being dictated by the story, sometimes people will just sit for a moment, or they will sigh, or look in a running stream, or do something extra, not to advance the story but only to give the sense of time and place and who they are”. Miyazaki explains the concept, “It’s called ma. Emptiness. It’s there intentionally,” he says, “if you just have non-stop action with no breathing space at all, it’s just busyness, But if you take a moment, then the tension building in the film can grow into a wider dimension.” I have found that Miyazaki is no exception to this aesthetic aspect in Japanese animation, and whether it is a result of the admiration he invokes in rising anime directors, many of them have come to employ ma not merely to the same purpose but also in unique ways of their own. In this essay, I will explore the power of the concept of “ma”, and its role as a Japanese anime aesthetic that makes for non-physical narrative progression and emotional movement in the stillness of its image by examining its presence, the ways in which it is used and its effects in the works of Hayao Miyazaki, Satoshi Kon, Mamoru Oshii, Makoto Shinkai and Mamoru Hosoda.
Miyazaki, for all intents and purposes, gave the name to this aesthetic in anime and so, I would like to put the greatest focus on some of his works before I expand to demonstrating what five other directors have done in both emulating and mirroring this aesthetic whilst refocusing it in alternative ways and in some cases, modernizing it. The first film of three from Miyazaki’s repertoire that I will analyze for ma is Princess Mononoke. Mononoke carries many of Miyazaki’s defacto themes, the schism between modernism and traditionalism, the technological and the natural, and a subverted love story at its core; these are themes that we are able to find in just about every single one of his films, including the other two featured in this essay. Love is at the core of ‘ma’ in Princess Mononoke, instead of outright physical expressions of emotion, Miyazaki is able to represent contemplation and sentiment with a simple still gaze, and a serene shot. Ashitaka, the male lead of Princess Mononoke is treated with a pleasant sight the first time he sees the titular Princess Mononoke, known within the film as San. She is sucking blood out of the body of her adopted mother, the wolf goddess Moro, and turns around, bloody caking her mouth, to glare at Ashitaka. Ashitaka’s eyes widen, barely hidden behind the bush while she spits out the blood. This ten second sequence from her first glaring at Ashitaka to his eyes widening at her primal appearance, are sprinkled out throughout the film. It is a key representation of what Miyazaki means when he mentions allowing tension to build across a wider dimension. These two characters are given a moment to contemplate each other, to take into the other’s appearance. Ashitaka, a man that is certainly not from nearby based on how he is dressed, and San, a wolf princess raised in nature. Ashitaka allows himself an introduction and once again, Miyazaki permits us and them, a moment to contemplate. San and Ashitaka, the slight antagonism that was there at first sight fades. We are given both of their perspectives in this case, a zoom in on San staring at him from across a water stream and a zoom in on Ashitaka staring from a boulder. The sole moment, in spite of the presence of trees behind Ashitaka and Moro’s fur behind San, is only their hair and their clothes being blown by the win, contouring their faces and in spite of the stillness of their eyes and their visages, we are nevertheless treated to that negative space and that emptiness. It is not quite love at first sight and certainly their relationship will not be without confrontation before they are finally given another moment to return to that contemplation. Ashitaka will be forced to subdue San to prevent both her death and the death of the people of Irontown and San will threaten Ashitaka’s life for having done so. ‘Ma’ isn’t merely a stylistic property but also allows a narrative purpose, it calms the pace without releasing tension. On the eve of a war between man and nature, Miyazaki allows the narrative to come to a still. Ashitaka finally wakens after succumbing to the pain of both the curse he has been given by the gods and the bullet that went through his body, and turns around to see San asleep at her side. It is a wholly different scene than their first encounter; San is at the complete opposite end of her typical nature, wild and to a degree, barbaric. Her face, in this case, is peaceful and calm, she’s covered in fur, almost in a fetal position as she sleeps, and there’s no better word to describe her than serene. The only animation in this sequence is her calm and rhythmic breathing. As with earlier, Miyazaki treats us to a close shot of both San and Ashitaka. Ashitaka remains almost unchanged in his almost expressionless gazing of San. Miyazaki really does leave up to the viewer as to what to make of his thoughts which are only broken by a blink of the eye and nothing more. He leaves for a moment to talk with Moro in light of the possibility that San might die in the war to come. When he returns to sit cross-legged by San, we are once more treated to calm contemplation. Ashitaka ponders how he can stop people, San in particular, from dying needlessly, and San is finally allowed a moment to properly consider the man she has saved. After a moment, she starts the conversation and he reciprocates, and while empathy to save the other had driven their past encounters, they now find in the other a friend. Where San left Ashitaka in their first encounter, and as a person who has never come close to acquainting herself with another human, seeing them more as enemies than beacons of friendship, allows herself to smile at him and return to sleep. Miyazaki once more allows us a moment to consider the new dimension to their relationship, their budding friendship, and even the possibility that it may end just as it has begun with the impending war. Ashitaka’s layering of San with another cover after a continuous gaze of her sleeping body appears to solidify his intentions of finding a way to stop the war and save her. Miyazaki’s ‘ma’ is characterized strongly by instances of contemplation and a brief moment to consider the evolving plot and relationships of the narrative. Ashitaka remains expressionless so as to not dictate the way the viewer should feel, and in that way, Miyazaki allows the viewer to sit or lie by Ashitaka and paint your own feelings on the situation unto him. Sleeping is a fitting state for characters in these sorts of situations because they represent people at their most still, at their calmest, and at the most serene. From an outward perspective, we are somewhat devoid of emotion and expression, in that respect, it’s probably why we can come to see the presence of characters sleeping in a lot of these ‘ma’ moments.
Spirited Away, one of Miyazaki’s biggest international releases, is also the film that brought Ebert into commenting on the element of ‘ma’ in Miyazaki’s films. If you were to consider the perfect example for ‘ma’ then you would have a hard time to consider anything other than the famed train sequence of Spirited Away. Chihiro, the lead of Spirited Away, has been brought into a world of spirits filled with continuous and endless turmoil with almost no time to take in the shocking turn her life has taken. She has lost her parents, has had to earn her independent, has dealt with witches, dragons, and cursed spirits and has made a friend of nearly all of them. Now, she enters a train across a vast ocean and both her and we are allowed a moment to relax, to think upon the narrative, to truly absorb the world. There is the sort of paradox, the moment we are not bombarded with new elements of the resort, and new characters and creatures that expand upon the world of Spirited Away, we are now finally given a moment to step back and really absorb it. Chihiro sits on a train and Miyazaki treats us to a series of what is called the Pillow Shot, refined by Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu. These shots are very much in tune with the idea of ‘ma’, they feel unproductive to the narrative at large; we are given a shot of train across underwater train tracks, of the train tracks themselves, of a distant island, a train station where silhouettes enter and exit, and eventually we are left with Chihiro, her friend No-Face, Boh the baby-turned-rat, and Yubaba’s bird turned into a tinier bird. They sit in the train, calm, nothing to be said, the sky turns dark and the two smaller companions fall asleep in her hands. Alike San, we are treated to the sight of them, their calm and rhythmic breathing, their perfect serenity considering earlier agitations and outright aggressive behavior. Chihiro turns to stare at the train’s window, expressionless in the very same manner of Ashitaka and we slowly zoom into her contemplating face. It’s a lengthy two-minute sequence where one could not reasonably say the plot is moved forward. Whereas other films may have treated us to a couple of seconds of jump cuts to traverse us to the intended destination, Miyazaki is interested in allowing us to digest the hour and a half of events we have just absorbed alongside Chihiro. The on-set of the train ride, Chihiro telling No-Face to “sit here” and “behave yourself” seems almost a message to take a moment to unwind and take it all in. In Cheng-Ing Wu’s analysis of Spirited Away in Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, the train sequence is viewed as a shorter analogue to the journey Chihiro has inhabited: “near the end of the trip, only Chihiro, No-Face, Boh and Yubaba’s crow-minion remain on board and no one talks on the train. Chihiro is deep in thought, seeming more reserved now towards what is taking place around her, as she is more experienced than her initial entrance into this world. Miyazaki takes comprehensive care of and appeals to the pathos of the lonely process of being responsible for one’s own choice by juxtaposing solitary objects and a nostalgic musical score.” I would appeal that that comprehensive care Miyazaki takes in appealing to the viewers pathos is done through the stillness of the moment, to that aforementioned deep though Chihiro is in. The nostalgic score which serves to evoke pensiveness adds to the emotion of reflecting portrayed by the train scene.
The last Miyazaki film I will be mentioning tends to diverge the greatest from his series of oeuvres, it is The Wind Rises. Doing away with most elements of fantastical realism that tends to feature in his films and absent the strong female characters that often lead his films, it still features those core tenets I mentioned earlier. The Wind Rises may even be the most contemplative film Miyazaki has done yet featuring endless instances of characters gazing whether at each other, at the sky, or at the planes that fill them. Characters are often left to consider their place in the world, and the value of their actions in a film that stars a pilot engineer in the midst of World War 2. The act of a peaceful sleep is all too prominent in a film that features a lead often dreaming about his artistic vocation, and a co-lead bedridden due to an illness. The co-lead, Nahoko Satomi, has earned criticism due to being a passive object of infatuation for the male lead, Jiro Horikoshi and yet the moment of ‘ma’ that struck me the most in The Wind Rises reduces Jiro to passivity and Nahoko to the dominant role. Jiro finally succeeds in building his plane and returns home exhausted, thanking Nahoko before falling asleep next to her. Nahoko slowly removes his glasses and extends the covers onto him. For once, it is Nahoko that is taking care of Jiro and it is right after his most triumphant moment in a film filled with trials and tribulations for the character. Jiro is finally at peace and Nahoko has him all too himself, and we are, for a brief moment, able to have them together. There is nothing more left to be achieved for either character, they have faced difficult journeys up to this point and they can finally let loose the tension. In a way, this is Nahoko’s own triumphant moment, a payoff to having placed her health at risk to be with the man she loves. It is also a melancholic moment because it is their last moment together before she must return to the sanitorium and they can meet again in the land of dreams, a tragic confirmation that she has passed away. Jiro who is largely characterized in the film as cold and distant, is most humanized in this instance. He takes the role of the wild San, and the agitated Boh and tiny bird and becomes at his most peaceful, in a mirroring fashion, sleeping, a rhythm to his breathing, allowing the other character to contemplate their relations with the sleeping character and the world at large. Nahoko is not prominent in the way that Ashitaka or Chihiro was but I found that it allowed a full realization of her stake in this narrative. She went beyond merely an object of infatuation, in many ways, Jiro is the object of infatuation for Nahoko, all the way to the mid-point of the film where she stops painting her own artistic piece to gaze at him from above a hill. I find that ‘ma’ when encapsulated in the works of Miyazaki are best expressed by ideas of contemplation, and restfulness and of course, stillness. There’s a lack of significant narrative-pushing movement and the movement that is present is all too mundane, the adjustment of a cover, removal of glasses, the blink of an eye, spitting of blood and wiping of mouth.
Stepping away from Miyazaki’s, I intend on going the polar opposite in terms of emotion invoked by instances of ‘ma’ with Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue. Released around the same time as Princess Mononoke, it would be disingenuous to Kon to say he is using ‘ma’ in the same way and with the same intention as Miyazaki but it is certainly present in his film in a unique fashion. Perfect Blue is about an idol turned actress whose issues with a stalker start to cloud her perception of what is real and what isn’t. The element of a stalker lends a whole new dimension to moments of ‘ma’. These ordinary moments of contemplation where we might consider the world and the narrative with a moment to breathe are now filled with the utmost dread. Even before we are treated to the knowledge that there is a stalker, we see a fan position the dancing and singing lead, Mima Kirigoe as if she were at the palm of his hands, instantly making Mima an object of gaze. Of course, the intention of positioning Miyazaki’s moments of ‘ma’ before Kon’s are intentional. Moments of gazing, of a character sleeping, of contemplation feel anything but calm and serene when taken into the context of Perfect Blue. Now, when we are treated to Mima on a train, or Mima buying groceries, completely ordinary actions, we feel as if someone is watching her and as the narrative reveals, someone is in fact watching her and tracking her every movement. Early in the film, when Mima returns after her last performance, she flops down on her bed. The camera wanders the room with still shots of her room, but often keeping her in sight in subordinate and compromising positions before moving on to casual shots of a television set, and a drawer and then a poster of her former idol group. There is no genuine tension in this scene outside of the one we are pushed to create. Truth be told, we do not feel safe when Mima is alone, we know she is an object of gaze, and alone in her small apartment, she is all too vulnerable to outward forces. Eventually, as the narrative goes on and she reads a fan letter saying that they always like looking into her room, Satoshi treats us to a shot of Mima parallel to her window, open to the night sky and leaves it there for a few seconds to allow the tension to seep in further. There are buildings in the background and though they feel innocent in the way they blend into the sky, we are nevertheless nervous in light of the knowledge that she is being stalked. Our suspicions are solidified as she receives a fax and swings around to look out the window again. We are given the perspective of whoever could be looking at her from out there, and for eight seconds, the camera zooms from the outside, at the sight of her standing there and staring at her possible voyeurs, and the tense score pronounces the build. It’s all too incredible the way in which Kon is able to build tension to a fever pitch thirteen minutes into the film with still images of all too ordinary moments: lying on a bed, gazing outside one’s window but from that moment on, we never feel safe throughout the film, especially if Mima is alone. It is a complete divergence from the effect provided by Miyazaki’s ‘ma’. We are afraid to contemplate, and we are afraid of these still moments, we feel only a sense of dread that something horrific may happen at any moment.
Earlier than either Perfect Blue or Princess Mononoke, another of anime’s most famed directors, Mamoru Oshii, made incredible use of ‘ma’ in Ghost in the Shell. Ghost in the Shell, perhaps more so than any other film in this essay, is filled with instances of ‘ma’ where nothing is quite happening. Early in the film, right after the construction of the lead character Mokoto Kusanagi, we see her wake up, get out of bed, leave the camera’s shot as we face her room and a shot of the city through her window, return to the room with a jacket and leave. It lasts a full minute and does nothing for the narrative; it’s the most mundane of actions all of us take on an every day basis. It makes this cyborg appear as ordinary as any viewer watching the film. When we speak of ‘ma’ as the gap between two structural points, than Oshii does this to perfection. This sequence following her literal construction and preceding the scene that will introduce the plot is just that, a gap between two structural points. This is not the scene I prefer to linger on when I think of the power of ‘ma’ in anime, instead it is the three-minute-long sequence a third way through the film. Like the morning routine, this scene does not appear to serve any purpose beyond what we are willing to infer from what Oshii is showing us. The three minutes are filled with pillow shots of a plane soaring through the sky, reflected on building windows, of electric lines hanging advertisements across river roads, of boats and civilians unhurriedly traversing the cityscape, of streetlights and mannequins, of trash in the water. On the surface, it is all meaningless, we have already been treated to an understanding of the setting in the first thirty minutes but there is nevertheless more to be inferred of it if one is willing to look. A particular instance in the sequence, the brief one that contains Mokoto, shows her looking up at a building where another person with the same body as hers is eating, they make eye contact and nothing more is said of it, just as any brief exchange of glances you may have on a bus or a car with someone outside. Oshii nevertheless allows us to consider further, to consider the possibility of a world where the exchange you have is with someone whom looks exactly like you, of contemplating your place in a world where physically, you are not one of a kind. It further adds to the unsettling feeling Mokoto has in questioning her humanity or lack there of and it mirrors the run-down city. On the surface, we are treated to a Japan that appears ruined by industrialization and the technological revolution with faded and muted colors, plasticity and trash littering the world but it also mirrors our own urban landscapes and in spite of it all, it’s a world that works. Although we are left questioning the surface beauty of the world of Ghost in the Shell, Oshii also gives us sight of ordinary people going about ordinary lives. It is still a living and breathing city. Oshii’s three minute sequence represents perhaps the epitome of ‘ma’, a large amount of nothing happening, a lengthy three minute gap between the introduction of Mokoto’s internal struggle with her lack of humanity, and the introduction of the external struggle with the antagonist, The Puppet Master; and yet, Oshii chooses this instance to allow us three minutes to absorb the world, and a brief moment to contemplate Mokoto’s place in it as we see her face on mannequins. In Steven T. Brown’s Tokyo Cyberpunk: Posthumanism in Japanese Visual Culture, he speaks about this city montage much in the way that you might expect when considering a moment of ‘ma’, as an instance of reflection. He says that “this montage sequence is used to evoke reflections upon the status of Kusanagi’s cyborg body and her existence in a city where her double also resides. Such scenes succeed in placing the audience in a reflective mood by evoking the recognition of the uncanniness of life through the estrangement of the everyday.” Oshii makes full use of these moments of stillness in the every day. In a ninety-minute-long film, he is unafraid to fill it with lengthy minute(s) long sequences of ‘ma’ to allow the narrative to sit and stir, to let you reflect, theorize and like Mokoto, wonder on the nature of one’s own place in the world.
Miyazaki is heralded as the face of Japanese anime cinema and anytime a filmmaker rises to the fore, they gain attention as a possible inheritor of Miyazaki’s role. The immensely successful Your Name by Makoto Shinkai solidified talks that the rising director may take that crown for himself going forward. Interesting enough, what brought Shinkai to the spotlight was something Miyazaki took some time adjusting to: the digital in animation. Shinkai’s photorealistic environments within both the fantastical and stylistic art style of anime, and the fantastic nature of his narratives stood out. Though Shinkai does not go so far as to match Oshii’s pensive and thoughtful look at the cityscape with only a score to accompany it, he is nevertheless deliberate in showcasing his very mundane world to not cinematographic or narrative purpose. You can take for instance a conversation between the female lead, Mitsuha Miyamizu while she has a conversation on the school grounds with her two friends. Mid-conversation, Shinkai will direct the camera’s attention to a long shot of a crater-shaped river in which the town surrounds, and of course, part of the town itself. Aside from the horizontal panning of the camera, the flow of the water and a tiny bird, there is little going on with the lengthy pillow shot. It’s not quite a moment of ‘ma’ to the level of contemplation that I have given in other examples because of the underlying dialogue but nevertheless remains a distinct characteristic of Shinkai’s that certainly takes in elements of ‘ma’. A more precise comparison to Oshii’s ‘ma’ occurs later on in the film when the male lead, Taki Tachibana parts way with his co-worker, Miku Okudera. We are treated to a much shorter length version of Oshii’s ‘ma’; we see a shot of a street light, of traffic and traffic signs, of the cityscape, of a plane soaring through the sky, and then we are brought back to the narrative. It is uncanny the amount of common elements you can even find between Oshii’s lengthy three-minute-sequence and the shorter eight second sequence in Your Name. But Shinkai would not be a fitting heir to Miyazaki if we could not find resemblances of ‘ma’ between both their works as well. The two leads, Mitsuha and Taki, finally meet near the end of the film with full knowledge of who the other is; they are both staring at the sun and upon hearing the other’s voice, slowly turn to one another. This is a build-up that has taken quite a bit over an hour to finally reach and in Miyazaki-like fashion, Shinkai allows us a breath. Taki looks down, a smile on his face, blinks, takes a moment, and having gathered his wits about him, much in the same way we are after having the opportunity to see them unite, he says her name. It is a short ten second sequence, the same sort of perfect sliver of time Miyazaki allows us to have to absorb a moment, a gaze like the one between San and Ashitaka. He even gives us another half-dozen seconds, a full-body shot while they stare at each other, still, fully acknowledging the other’s presence, and Mitsuha now says Taki’s name preceding an explosion of emotion. This is not the only time Shinkai will give us a moment of ‘ma’ in the midst of a tense scene. At the climax, where Mitsuha and Taki get to meet, we are given those ten seconds of pillow shots distilled into just two seconds: a shot of a lamppost, the city, a mailbox, a taxi, and flowers, and the sky all without doing away with the tense moment that is building up to their present-day re-acquaintance. As with all the other pillow shots, it serves no purpose, it does not add to the climax, but it nevertheless remains a gap between their desperation to find each other and the moment they actually do. Shinkai’s characteristic ability to bring beautiful environments to life and his knack for heartfelt love story make him a perfect author to bring forth the ‘ma’ demonstrated by both Miyazaki and Oshii.
Makoto Shinkai is not the only one who has had to juggle the task with being hailed as a heir to Miyazaki’s throne; Mamoru Hosoda is no exception to those comparisons as well. His 2006 film, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time stylistically resembles Shinkai. Like his contemporary, Hosoda enjoys using still environments with dynamic characters and like Shinkai and of course, Oshii, he enjoys using pillow shots that appear to hold no obvious purpose for the film at large. Take for instance a scene where the lead character, time traveler Makoto Konno, is carrying a pile of papers up a set of steps; a simple jump cut to the room where she is heading for would have sufficed but instead Hosoda treats us to some pillow shots: a nameless student playing a piano, a girl in a library reading a book, students playing volleyball in a gym, an empty lot with vending machines, a clock, and finally we cut back to Makoto arriving at her destination. It’s ‘ma’ and the irony that it is followed up with Makoto reading on a drawing board that “time waits for no one” whilst the film came to a narrative halt, cannot be lost on a judicious viewer. All that said, Hosoda’s most striking use of ‘ma’ is in the manner in which he uses his makeshift camera. Hosoda will often allow characters to venture off screen and nothing of any significant will happen; for example the first time Makoto consciously travels through time. We see Makoto climb up a hill and disappear, and for ten seconds, nothing significant happens, runners travel from one side of the screen to the other and the reverse for a bike and after ten seconds of allowing the tension to build, the narrative starts once more, Makoto charges down the hill. Later on near the climax of the film, we are brought back to this very same hill where Makoto chases her friend, Chiaki Mamiya out of the scene. She stands there alone for a moment, and slowly walks to the other side of the screen and stops. It’s a twenty second sequence without a great deal happening and the camera is at enough of a distance where we cannot quite get the full breadth of what Makoto is feeling. It’s a light moment of stillness without a great deal of tangible movement and in spite of the distance we have from Makoto, when the camera finally closes in on her, we may well be inclined to match the tears on her face. Hosoda is allowing us to mirror her sadness without expressively forcing us to, and with the unique way he works a scene, he is able to evoke emotion without forcing it. It’s a masterful work of the ‘ma’ Miyazaki uses and the one we come to see in Your Name as well.
“Ma” is a concept somewhat unique to Japanese anime and certainly unique to Japanese culture and part of that may merely be because of the nature and history of Japanese anime and how it has lent itself to this style of storytelling and yet it has come to characterize the finest parts of anime cinema. Directors are willing to do as Miyazaki said, take a step back and let a singular moment, an image, tell a story, or not tell it. They are willing to allow the reader to contemplate what they are watching, to feel a full breadth of emotion, to extend a meeting of the eye for seconds, to let tension build or disappear. In a way, they do a way with rules of economy, even in spite of the high costs of anime filmmaking, they are willing to give you lengthy sequences of pillow shots with nothing but a sky or a lamppost or a soaring plane to watch. It takes incredible confidence for a filmmaker to put a halt to its narrative, even for ten seconds and to let you wonder about what you’re watching but anime directors are all too willing to take that chance, to let you breath their worlds the way their characters do. This essay has served to show that this is not limited to Miyazaki but extends to directors of all sorts across a long spectrum of time (at least two decades according to this essay) and through a variety of ways and uses. The key trait that remains with me when I connect all these instances mirrors very much what Miyazaki expects of ‘ma’, “what really matters is the underlying emotions–that you never let go of those.”
 Ebert, Roger. Interview with Hayao Miyazaki. Roger Ebert, 12 Sept. 2002, https://www.rogerebert.com/interviews/hayao-miyazaki-interview. Accessed on 4 Dec, 2017.
 Princess Mononoke. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, 1997.
 Spirited Away. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, 2001.
 Wu, Cheng-Ing. “Hayao Miyazaki’s Mythic Poetics: Experiencing the Narrative Persuasions in Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo” Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal 2016, vol 1. 1(2), 189-203.
 The Wind Rises. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, 2013.
 Perfect Blue. Directed by Satoshi Kon, Madhouse, 1998.
 Ghost in the Shell. Directed by Mamoru Oshii, Production I.G., 1995.
 Brown, Steve T. Tokyo Cyberpunk: Posthumanism in Japanese Visual Culture. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
 Your Name. Directed by Makoto Shinkai, CoMix Wave Films, 2016.
 The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Directed by Mamoru Hosoda, Madhouse, 2006.