Autism Through Cinema

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) dir. Hayao Miyazaki

August 5, 2022

Lillian, David and Alex grab their broomsticks and take flight today into the magical worlds of Studio Ghibli via Hayao Miyazaki's 1989 film Kiki's Delivery Service. In among the gorgeous animation we find a meditation on the nature of difference and an exploration of the feeling of being an outsider. Kiki's wild energy and her bouts of gloom are likened to the rollercoaster emotions of the hardworking neurodivergent, while the concept of witchiness is also brought under autistic scrutiny. We reflect on how why the genres of anime and manga seem to appeal to autistic sensibilities, then we discuss a few more Ghibli films that have made a strong impression on us - particularly Spirited Away (2001) and Ponyo (2008). 

What's your take on Studio Ghibli films? Have they offered a cinematic space of autistic pleasure and escapism? Let us know your favourites on twitter at @AutismCinema or via email on cinemautism[at]gmail[dot]com.

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