‘‘Conan il ragazzo del futuro’’. Gli esordi televisivi di Miyazaki Hayao tra autorialità e animazione mainstream - “Conan the Future Boy”. The television output of Miyazaki Hayao, between authorship and mainstream animation
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Examining the audiovisual output of the Japanese Oscar-winning director Miyazaki Hayao, the animated series Future Boy Conan (1978) can be regarded as the first broad-based work of his career. Commissioned by TV station NHK to Nippon Animation Studios, this successful series is a free adaptation from a US novel for kids and features the conventional devices of the anime (“cartoons”) boom’s most exploited genre: the science-fiction. Nevertheless, in Conan are also recognizable many of Miyazaki’s future topoi, such as the criticism on the excessive power of technology, the hope for a harmonious relationship between men and nature, the confidence in the skills of the young protagonists. After having positionated the series within the general framework of Japanese animation, the paper analyzes Conan on the whole, reasoning on the devices employed by the author – at the dramatic level and at the visual one – in the working out of structure, themes, setting and characters. The analysis enlightens the seminal value of Conan in Miyazaki’s work, as it let the author fully express a strikingly original style, combining the will to face his personal issues with the attention towards commercial needs. From this perspective, the case of Conan also assumes a paradigmatic importance in defying the position which the director holds in the Japanese animation scene. Anticipating Studio Ghibli’s biggest hits, Miyazaki succeeds in building a multilevel work, suitable for children – the audience determined by the producers – but virtually enjoyable at any age: a mainstream product which unites quality animation with deep stories, commercial attractiveness, convincing characters and imaginative sceneries.
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