Here's How Studio Ghibli's Hayao Miyazaki Became an Animation Legend

Photo Courtesy: Yamaguchi Haruyoshi/Corbis/Getty Images; Images Courtesy: Studio Ghibli/IMDb ("Spirited Away" art & Studio Ghibli logo)

In the United States, the Walt Disney Studios' movies have dominated the animated feature film industry since the 1930s. But, outside of Hollywood, equally impressive animation studios have also crafted landmark films and pioneered cinematic innovations for decades. One of those legendary studios is Studio Ghibli, the animation team behind classics like My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and Spirited Away (2001).

Founded in 1985, the Japanese studio has since produced a wide array of features, shorts, and commercials. But, by and large, there's one visionary who has brought everything together and helped Studio Ghibli cement its place in film history. That person is, of course, the studio's founder, Hayao Miyazaki. Through his work, Miyazaki has changed the way animated movies are produced in Japan and captivated audiences the world over by transporting them to both immersive fantasy worlds and into the lives (and problems) of all-too-familiar everyday heroes. 

So, how did Miyazaki find such incredible success? And why is he coming out of retirement now? Whether you're a huge fan of Studio Ghibli's films or new to the studio's acclaimed collection of movies, you'll want to learn just how this innovator and visionary changed the film world — and is continuing to do so even now.