Steven Spielberg Reveals How Hayao Miyazaki Inspires Him

When you think of iconic directors, Steven Spielberg should be one of the first names that comes to mind. The award-winning visionary is responsible for a slew of Hollywood’s best films, but he is not alone in his legendary status. Hayao Miyazaki enjoys similar clout for his work, and Spielberg recently opened up about how the anime icon influenced his own work.

Recently, Spielberg headed to Japan to promote the release of Ready Player One abroad. The busy film features an untold number of easter eggs, and several of its biggest nods are geared towards anime. At the film’s Japanese premiere, the director opened up about his interest in the country’s pop culture, and he recalled the time he met Miyazaki more than a decade ago.

“I especially, you know, admire the whole world of Miyazaki, and his taste and his storytelling abilities. His Spirited Away is one of the greatest animated films ever made, might be better than any Disney film I’ve ever seen. He was a real influence,” Spielberg said (via Go Boiano).

“I got to meet him. I brought my daughter here to Tokyo and I had a chance about eleven or twelve years ago to meet him,” the director continued. “We talked about the process of what comes first, the story or the characters. And he was expressing the fact that the story is the character. For him, the characters are the story.”

Of course, Spielberg is no stranger to character-driven pieces himself. In the last decade, the director has worked on a slew of insightful works which put its leads before its plot. Films like War Horse, Lincoln, and The Post all act as testaments to such storytelling.

Outside of Studio Ghibli, Spielberg revealed some of his other Japanese obsessions. The director admitted he’s become fond of Akira after filming Ready Player One. “I think my favorite Japanese ‘character’ is the motorcycle from Akira,” the director said. “I love that machine.”

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Right now, Spielberg may be busy with his production company, but fans are holding out hope the director may take a swing at an anime project himself. If anyone in Hollywood could do a serious live-action adaptation justice, it would be this guy. With directors like JJ Abrams jumping on-board the anime train, Spielberg’s expertise would be a welcome one for fans, so maybe he’ll be the lucky man who takes a swing at Gundam in the future.

Which anime series should Spielberg take a closer look at? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics, k-pop, and anime!