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Spirited Away, Vol. 1 Paperback – July 8, 2002
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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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As this is going on, Sen sees a white dragon being chased across the sky by paper birds. This is Haku, the young mage, who is badly wounded in his efforts to steal magic. Surprisingly, Sen shows fierce loyalty to her friend, courageously facing the dangers of the bathhouse in order to save his life. The girl has come a long way from the spoiled child who first happened into this strange work.
When I first found this series, the film was still unavailable to US audiences. As such they were the only option for English speakers who wanted to see Miyazaki's latest work and get a sense of the flow of the film. They do this quite well for what is essentially a still medium, spending a lot of frames building a chain of movement. This is done with cels from the film, so the normal comic approach doesn't prevail. When I look at the illustration, I think of a parent reading a book to a child and pointing to a string of pictures as, say, a dragon twists and loops in the sky.
Indeed, this set is perfect for that purpose. It is also a delightful memento of a wonderful film. Miyazaki's imagination is always stunning and unique. There are many good anime artists, but fewer great artists who happen to do anime. Film or no film, I intend to own the entire set.
This is Chihiro Ogino's lot in the manga version of Hayao Miyazaki's 'Spirited Away.' Certainly a tough role for an adult to deal with, one cannot help but admire Chihiro (now called Sen) for her fierce determination. In the world of Abura Ya she manages to find friends like Haku, a teenage boy with magical powers, and Lin, the co-worker who looks after Chihiro and helps her snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
In this third volume Chihiro starts her job as a bath attendant, performing the backbreaking labor of scrubbing floors and baths and waiting on customers. When an awesome stink spirit shows up for a wash, no one wants to go near it. Naturally, Chihiro gets stuck with the job. What ensues is a surprise for all as Chihiro discovers that she has strange friends in even stranger places.
Some notes. These beautifully colored manga are done 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. In addition, it preserves the effect of the original manga page layouts, which really is the best way to present them. Japanese sound effects are left as is, but a translation guide is included.
These are the story of Chihiro Ogino, a young girl whose parents have inadvertently wandered into a bathhouse for spirits and been turned into pigs. Chihiro is determined to rescue them and discovers that she must find a job in the bathhouse or suffer the same fate of her parents. This volume is the story of her quest for employment, starting with the spider-like Kamaji who runs the hot water system to the giant Yubaba who is the matron of the resort. One has to admire Chihiro's determination, even though she is actually a bit irritating in a little girl way. Of course, I might be a bit self-centered and panicky if I found myself in the comic version of Motel Hell.
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. The dialog is minimalist. Often, the plot is moved forward by the visual story, full of both menace and sight gags. Another thing I like is, since the sound effects are 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 warning. These manga done 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. In addition, it preserves the effect of the original manga page layouts, which really is the best way to present them. If these manga aren't over-distributed, then they may very well be eminently collectable.