The term “anime,” the Japanese word for animation, is now used by film buffs outside of Japan to describe Japanese animation as a whole. Colorful and stylized, Japanese anime films, like classic fairy tales, often have an epic style and fantastical storylines set amid the everyday.
When asked which films inspired him most as he was preparing Cinderella Moon, Richard Bowen didn’t hesitate: “The anime films of Hayao Miyazaki. They aren’t ‘cartoons’ in any sense of the word and the the best ones proudly deal with female protagonists coming of age. Perfect for the world’s first Cinderella.”
“I love the way that Miyazaki blends magic and realism,” says Bowen. “When fantastic things happen alongside the everyday in a film, you can say things you wouldn’t be able to say with strict realism.”
In such classics as Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke, Miyazaki’s films exist in the dream space between magic and reality and Richard found inspiration in Miyazaki’s belief that that a meaningful film can be made for children, and conversely, that a film in a children’s genre could be worthy of adult attention.
With a strong female protagonist coming of age, a storyline and style with one foot in realism and the other in magic, the childlike yet sophisticated Cinderella Moon, like a Miyazaki film, isn’t just for kids or just for adults: it’s a film for the whole family.