"I wanted to retire," he said, "but life isn't that easy. I wanted to make a movie especially for the daughters of my friends. I opened all the drawers in my head they were all empty. So I realized I had to make a movie just for 10 year olds, and 'Spirited Away' is my answer."

Miyazaki, who is suspicious of computers, personally draws thousands of frames by hand. "We take [handmade] cell animation and digitize it in order to enrich the visual look, but everything starts with the human hand drawing. And the color standard is dictated by the background. We don't make up a color on the computer. Without creating those rigid standards we'll just be caught up In the whirlpool of computerization."

He defines hand drawing as "2-D" and computer animation as "3-D." "What we call 2-D is what we draw on paper to create movement and space on a piece of paper. The 3-D is when you create that space inside a computer. I don't think the Japanese creative mind is very suited for 3-D."

"I don't think it's like the pillow word." He clapped his hands three or four times. "The time in between my clapping is ma. If you just have non-stop action with no breathing space at all, it's just busyness, But if you take a moment, then the tension building in the film can grow into a wider dimension. If you just have constant tension at 80 degrees all the time you just get numb."

"The people who make the movies are scared of silence, so they want to paper and plaster it over," he said. "They're worried that the audience will get bored. They might go up and get some popcorn.

But just because it's 80 percent intense all the time doesn't mean the kids are going to bless you with their concentration. What really matters is the underlying emotions--that you never let go of those.

What my friends and I have been trying to do since the 1970's is to try and quiet things down a little bit; don't just bombard them with noise and distraction. And to follow the path of children's emotions and feelings as we make a film. If you stay true to joy and astonishment and empathy you don't have to have violence and you don't have to have action. They'll follow you. This is our principle."

"In a way now, live action is becoming part of that whole soup called animation. Animation has become a word that encompasses so much, and my animation is just a little tiny dot over in the corner. It's plenty for me."

Hayao Miyazaki with Roger Ebert