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Spirited Away, Vol. 1 Paperback – July 8, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This full-color manga adaptation of Miyasaki's Academy Award-winning animated film stands on its own as an exceptional work of comics art. Chihiro, a 10-year-old-girl, is being taken by her parents to their new suburban neighborhood. They take a wrong turn off the highway, discover what looks to be an abandoned theme park and decide to explore it. Her parents smell food cooking and take off looking for something to eat, and that's where their troubles begin. Chihiro finds them gobbling up food in an deserted restaurant, turned into pigs, and she realizes they are trapped in a magical place of ghosts, spirits and demons. Chihiro is discovered by Haku, a boy with magical powers, who promises to help rescue her parents and find a way back to the real world. But first, he sends Chihiro to get a job at Abura-ya, a mystical bathhouse for the spirits run by a witch. At Abura-ya, readers meet a strange crew of workers and the colorful spirit forms who come there to rest. The classic tale also introduces a six-armed man who runs the boiler room; a woman laborer who befriends Chihiro; and many fantastic creatures. This five-volume "film comic" was meticulously created by scanning 35mm prints of the animated film and then ingeniously recomposing them into comics panels. The book's luxuriant illustrations seem even more saturated with color, detail and atmosphere than the film. It's a beautiful and engaging fantasy aimed at kids but likely to charm readers of any age.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Hayao Miyazaki is one of Japan's most beloved animation directors. In 2005 he was awarded the Venice International Film Festival's Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement, and his Studio Ghibli received the festival's Osella Award for overall achievement in 2004. Miyazaki's films include Spirited Away, winner of the 2002 Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature Film, as well as Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, and Ponyo, all of which have received great acclaim in the U.S. Miyazaki's other achievements include the highly regarded manga series Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Starting Point: 1979-1996, a collection of essays, interviews, and memoirs that chronicle his early career and the development of his theories of animation. Both are published in English by VIZ Media.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Series: Spirited Away (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media LLC (August 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569317917
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569317914
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #546,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Warren J. Savage on December 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
In Japan, comic books ('manga') are a huge industry. Often, animated films are turned into full-color graphic novels. In fact, almost every film Studio Ghibli has produced has been released as a 'film comic.'
This version by Viz Communications preserves the original Jappanese right-to-left reading format (you begin reading at the 'last page', and work your way to what we consider the 'front' of a book.) Don't worry, you'll get used to reading a book "the wrong way 'round."
Why would you want this book?
1. To read the story of the movie Spirited Away. The USA (English) DVD version won't be available for quite a while, and this book contains English dialog.
2. To look at the pictures and study the artwork. Even in a small book like this, with multiple panels per page, the pictures show more detail of the artwork than you'll see from the DVD version. Although Studio Ghibli used computers extensively to assemble the film, animators still drew character cels and background artists still painted the backgrounds by hand. Cels and backgrounds were then scanned into computers at high resolution for final composition. Also, on some of the pan or tilt shots in the film, the book layout artists assembled selected frames of the shot into a larger picture. An example of this is -- in the film there is a shot that starts on the roof line above an alley. The 'camera' tilts down to show more of the alley, and finally reveals two of the films' characters running through the alley. In the book, the top, middle and bottom of the tilt shot are assembled into one full-page, highly detailed spread.
NOTE: I have the Japanese version of this book. The text is essentially the script of the film. I'm using it and the DVD of the movie to help my study of the Japanese language.
There -- I hope that gives you enough information...
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Alex Owens on October 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
Basically, the movie Spirited Away was another masterpiece, just as expected from master animator Hayao Miyazaki. To hear more about the movie, you can see the reviews of others and myself about the movie. But judging the comic is a hard decision.
Basically, the movie was good. And that's the problem, because the comic is based entirely on the movie. All the pictures are taken from the frames of the film, and the quotes match those of the theater version of the film. Basically, it is better off watching the movie than the comic, because there is hardly any difference, except for the fact that one is a film and one is a book.
It is based on a good movie, but I just simply feel there is no true need of reading the comic. Again, don't mistaken me; I have nothing against the comic, but it is far better off watching the movie.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
I confess to a severe case of impatience. I have been waiting for 'Spirited Away' to make it to the US for just too long. Finally, I noticed this little set of manga based on the film and I lost all control and bought the first one of the set. So much for will power.
This set is really nicely done. They are small, almost pocket sized, but you would never want to put them in your pocket. There is an outer wrap cover, as well as the inner, and the illustrations, entirely in color, are clearly the cels from the film. They are beautiful to look at, in vibrant color and once again demonstrate that Miyazaki and the rest of Studio Ghibli remain masters of the art form.
The story is about Chihiro Ogima, who is 10, and her mother and father. They are moving to a new home, Chihiro is very unhappy about all the changes, and her parents are not paying as much attention to her as she would like. When her father takes a wrong turn, they happen on a strange amusement park. The adults are changed into pigs via some weird magic, and Chihiro only survives in human form due to the intervention of Haku, a 12-year-old boy with some magical powers of his own.
The styling is classic Miyazaki, with great work on the expressions of both the human and non-human characters. These last come in every shape and type imaginable. Another thing I like is, since the sound effects are left in Japanese, someone has gone to the immense trouble of providing a frame-by-frame translation of them. Just the thing for an adult who wants to read these aloud to a child.
One slight warning. These manga are in Japanese order [right to left, top to bottom]. At first, this is a bit confusing, but after a while, it gets to be fun.
Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Burbach on April 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm writing this review because I know how incredibly frustrating it is to want to buy a book, and not know if it's worth it. I'll admit it. I'm no manga fan. But this book is truly a masterpiece. It has a nice shiny cover. It's not hardcover, but it has a nice jacket all the same. I found this very interesting because you read this but the way one in Asia would read it: backwards. It's a very strange experiance, yet quite fun. Now that I've described the apperance of the book, I'll try to tell you the truly wonderful plot of this book without spoiling it. I've have decide that all Miyazaki books and films are the only good manga out there. It amazed me! I never once gave manga a chance until I heard the halarious sounding plot of Spirited Away: It starts with the story of a small girl, named Chihiro, and her family, who are moving away to a new town. They of course, take a wrong turn, as so many of us do while moving to a new house.... wait... I'm only 13, so I wouldn't know. Let's pretend I do.... well, anyway, beside the point. They find an old ghost town and Chihiro wanders off. When she returns, she finds that her parents are pigs... literally. She now has to work there, in order to return her parents. It's SUCH a great story with GORGEOUS art. Buy, it, even if you're NOT a manga fan. I mean, look at me!
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