The article is a fascinating read about the state of the industry from Japan's point of view, but the conclusion finally managed to put into words what I like about Miyazaki's flicks.
"Japan now has no hope in general," [Toshio] Suzuki[, Miyazaki's longtime collaborator,] says. "It's the reason Miyazaki's films are so popular here: His films give the audience the energy to live.
"Miyazaki is saying that no matter what era you live in, beauty exists. And though the audience expects to see some kind of destruction in the film, in the end, they know he will give them hope."
Miyazaki's movies may have confusing plots and characters that seem to have no real reason to exist, but his movies always leave me with a warm, fuzzy feeling about humanity.