Around the world, perhaps no animation house is more respected, well-known and more iconic than that of the Walt Disney Company. Since it was founded in 1923, Disney has come closest to embodying the power and myth of animation itself, and not just for the stories that were being animated. The studio, founded as the “House of Mouse,” has certainly grown in size and scope, encompassing parks, studios, subsidiary companies and countless copyrights.
What does the Disney studio stand for in terms of its animation? That question has propelled compliments and criticisms of the various animated films based on the economics of the period, the age of the parents as opposed to the children (especially parents who grew up on a prior generation of Disney films), and the popular trends of the time. Needless to say, popular consensus of Disney varies through generations.
How well does Disney fare today? Rather well. A lion’s share of the credit comes from the popular up-swing in content that Disney started releasing in 2009. Popular films, such as “Up,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Toy Story 3,” and “Tangled,” were released between 2009 and 2010. But much of Disney’s recent popularity and praise recently can be said to have begun in 2012.
The sucessful release of Frozen has incited a cry that Disney might be undergoing a “Second Renaissance,” a term referencing the popularity Disney once received after the release of “The Little Mermaid.” Disney’s decision to circumvent many tropes they themselves created for the animated story/princess genre have lead to “Frozen” being called one of the company’s most progressive films of the last generation.
At Studio Ghibli, the animation house created by Hayao Miyazaki, there should also be cause for both praise and reflection. Under the direction of revered animator Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli has released such amazing works of art as “My Neighboor Totoro,” “Grave of the Fireflies,” “Spirited Away” and many others. Miyazaki-sama’s final film as chief guide of Studio Ghibli, “The Wind Rises,” has been recently hailed his most profound and close to the heart.