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Starting Point, 1979-1996 Paperback – April 8, 2014
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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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That easily is the best reason of why to buy this book. Covering the sursprisingly amount of 500 pages, Starting Point (in a beatiful edition by Viz Media) icludes not only all the essays and commentaries written by Miyazaki between 1979 and 1996, but also integrates a lot of skecthes, cartoons and rare drawings of the famous director. Not only that, but the biggest catch of the book is discovering that Miyazaki, as what it is (a genius), it's also a complex individual and a likeable writer. His opinions included in this book, cover a wide variety of topics: the history of Japan, animation principles, evolution of the anime industry, his personal life, opinions of society, ecology, war and even life.
Starting Point is a provoking and complex read. The opinions of Miyazaki may come as overly extreme or controversial, but in his broad vision of the world is clear that he makes his animated movies with passion and care for the children (which are his intended audience). Viz Media deserves a price for this hardcover edition, the design and quality is top-notch and includes a brief, but insightful introduction by John Lasseter and an Afterword, by the also amazing director, Isao Takahata -from Grave of the Fireflies fame-.
A recommended read by fans of anime, animation or Studio Ghibli and a must-buy by animation students.
Having read it cover-to-cover, it is probably better to start by reading chapters on topics of interest, then going back and for the rest. I found the first 70 pages unrewarding, and nearly gave up before reaching the "good stuff".
An important read overall.