From the Nausicaa Mailing List:
Pixar--I'm not a big fan.
I'll admit their emphasis on story and character has served them well, and their success I think shows how story and character still has its appeal, over and beyond mere technical developments, especially with American audiences (and markets with Americanized audiences).
But I feel that the characters they create and stories they tell fall into a well-defined strata of children's adventures / family entertainment, where conventional morality is affirmed, sentimentality required, and a number-of-jokes-per-minute frequency maintained.
Even Bird's "The Iron Giant," perhaps the best American animated feature in so many years, still sticks to a scenario closer in spirit to Steven Spielberg than to Ozu,or Kurosawa (who, if I remember right, admires Miyazaki's films).
That's where I think Ghibli films take up the slack, the point where most American animation pictures grind
to a stop. Ghibli projects are often characterized as kid-friendly, but I'd say Ghibli merely avoids gratuitous violence and overt sexuality; otherwise, their subject matter and what's more their method of storytelling, the emotional tones and relationships they choose to develop and define, are of the kind I'd say even the most demanding adult will be pleased to engage with--at the same time allowing children to follow and be entertained.