Let Them Watch Laputa
Laputa: The Castle in the Sky is a classic anime and fan favorite. Crafted back in the mid 80s by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, it's a colorful and lively film that all anime fans should indeed experience. This movie has heart, and over the years the integrity of that heart has continued to grow, even beyond that of what I think its creators had first imagined.
According to legend, a mysterious floating city called Laputa possessed many ancient societal wonders, both technologically and intellectually. Of course, everyone on the earth has forgotten about Laputa, either through ignorant of its very existence or by passing the notion off as a mere myth. This is where our unique male protagonist enters. Pazu is a young orphan that dedicates his life in search of the truth behind Laputa's dangerously beautiful legend.
The fact that this boy treasures this so-called fantasy is the key to this anime's beating heart. This movie is truly amazing, not for the simple fact that it came from the mind of Miyazaki, but because it is a story of drawing inspiration from emotional ties once thought to have been extinct. This film shows the importance of acknowledging the past and respecting history while endeavoring to preserve the dreams that others faithfully hope to come true.
Laputa: The Castle in the Sky holds firmly to the concept that in order for progress to be made, for one to be able to dream positively about the future, there must be a solid foundation for those dreams. Without such a foundation, one's fantasies and imaginative notions become caught in a surreal web of uncertainty. However, a dream thoughtfully planted in the past can never be uprooted. For Pazu, the seedling of his dream was the knowledge of his heroic father, who had taken a photograph of the mystifying castle. Pazu held closely to the memoirs of his father, an emotional link that fuels his own ambition to re-discover Laputa.
Pooling from past experiences, anyone can evolve to think and wonder about ways to become a more self-controlled, assertive, and innovative individual. History is a very clear rear-view mirror, but if you do not know what you have come from, then you are going to have a heck of a time trying to figure out where it is that you are going. If you refuse to acknowledge history, how will you ever know whether or not what you are doing can actually be labeled as "progress"? If one is ignorant of past happenings (emotionally or mentally), then he or she runs the risk of creating a future even more ignorant, a world more devoid of anticipation, trust, sympathy, understanding and imagination than ever, well... imagined.
Within this anime, Laputa is a mysterious castle holding amazing knowledge and power. However, not everyone shows appreciation of this great archive of ancient knowledge. One such individual is Muska, a government agent whose primal passion for power inflates his ego to ridiculous levels. Now contrast this to Pazu, who, although young, possesses a curiosity congruent with that of critically efficient truths. The heart of Laputa: The Castle in the Sky lies within this raw comparison: one who is aware of an archive, but refuses to use it (thereby abusing it), and destroys it as result. While the other, also aware of this archive, stands in awe, and infuses this history with his own humility, and is consequently rewarded. So, at times it is not enough to have simply a rear-view mirror, but rather it is knowing what to look for, and having a concept of what you need that makes the rear-view mirror a useful guide for the future.
Sheeta, the female protagonist of Laputa: The Castle in the Sky, says that "a king without compassion does not deserve a kingdom". Dreams and aspirations must be preserved when they are strongly grounded, sought after, and explored with admiration, as are the dreams of Pazu. Protected, but not isolated, such honest yearnings will surely shape the future. Should another wonder-filled soul stumble upon this newfound history in the future, the chances are great that this soul will be inspired, motivated, and encouraged in their search for wisdom, reason and truth, as do the many anime devotees who have this lesson to heart.