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Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1403963345
ISBN-10: 1403963347
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A very solid discussion of both a major anime director and several major anime titles, some of which have never been analyzed critically before. As is the case with all books on film studies, some movie fans will invariably go 'what's the point, movies are made to be watched, not analyzed.' For those who want something more, though - whether they are longtime fans of Oshii's works, or have only seen one or two of his films - this is an excellent resource. In fact, much as Oshii himself is more than merely an anime director, this book holds its own very well indeed when compared to discussions of the major modern cinema directors in general." - Anime News Network

"This lucid, well-researched handbook traces the artistic development of animation film director Mamoru Oshii (b. 1951) through close readings of major fantasy-laden productions ranging from Urusei Yatsura (Beautiful Dreamer, 1984) to Avalon (2000). Ruh offers an engaging treatment of ten animated films or television series, including for each a descriptive list of the major dramatis personae, a succinct synopsis of the plot, and a section of informed commentary and analysis . . . Summing Up: Recommended. All collections supporting film studies or contemporary Japanese culture." - CHOICE

"A fine introduction to one of Japanese animation's few true auteurs, Stray Dog of Anime examines Oshii's films from both sides of the camera. Brian Ruh's work is scholarly but readable, and affirmative but critical - an education for academics and fans alike. Welcome to Class Real." - Jonathan Clements, co-author, The Anime Encyclopedia

"Brian Ruh's Stray Dog of Anime is a wonderfully accessible introduction to Oshii Mamoru, one of the most brilliant and challenging anime directors working today. Stray Dog of Anime provides a fine overview of the spiritual, aesthetic and political issues that weave through Oshii's work. This book is an excellent resource on a major director, still too little studied in the States. Fans of Oshii and fans of anime in general will find it both stimulating and enlightening." - Susan Napier, author of Anime: from Akira to Princess Mononoke

"Ruh deserves attention simply for stepping up to the mat as one of the few writers building a framework for the mature appreciation of anime as a creative form by British and American viewers, but he's also provided an overview of one of the medium's most interesting figures. His synthesis of the available material is accompanied by a passionately argued statement of Oshii's importance as director and auteur. There's plenty to interest students of film as well as anime buffs, and Ruh's thoughts will generate argument in fan circles throughout the English-speaking world." - Helen McCarthy, Author of Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation and The Anime Encyclopedia

"Brian Ruh's book Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii is the first comprehensive treatment in English on a Japanese director who is by turns familiar, alien, grim, funny, evasive, brutal, ethereal, and deeply human. Readers will begin to understand why the imagination of Mamoru Oshii inspires The Matrix's Wachowski brothers and Titanic's James Cameron. Stray Dog of Anime will be of interest not only to those who want to get to know Mamoru Oshii, but those who presumed they already knew him well. For those new to Mamoru Oshii, Stray Dog of Anime is the viewer's companion to have. For those already fans, Stray Dog of Anime is likely to provoke at least half-a-dozen new questions." - Carl Gustav Horn, co-author, Japan Edge: The Insider's Guide to Japanese Pop Subculture

From the Inside Flap

"A fine introduction to one of Japanese animation`s few true auteurs, Stray Dog examines Oshii`s films from both sides of the camera. Brian Ruh`s work is scholarly but readable, and affirmative but critical —an education for academics and fans alike. Welcome to Class Real." &mdashJonathan Clements, co-author, The Anime Encyclopedia

"Brian Ruh`s Stray Dog of Anime is a wonderfully accessible introduction to Oshii Mamoru, one of the most brilliant and challenging anime directors working today. Stray Dog provides a fine overview of the spiritual, aesthetic and political issues that weave through Oshii`s work. This book is an excellent resource on a major director, still too little studied in the States. Fans of Oshii and fans of anime in general will find it both stimulating and enlightening."
&mdashSusan Napier, author of Anime: from Akira to Princess Mononoke

"Ruh deserves attention simply for stepping up to the mat as one of the few writers building a framework for the mature appreciation of anime as a creative form by British and American viewers, but he`s also provided an overview of one of the medium`s most interesting figures. His synthesis of the available material is accompanied by a passionately argued statement of Oshii`s importance as director and auteur. There`s plenty to interest students of film as well as anime buffs, and Ruh`s thoughts will generate argument in fan circles throughout the English-speaking world."
&mdashHelen McCarthy, Author of Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation and The Anime Encyclopedia

"Brian Ruh`s new book Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii is the first comprehensive treatment in English on a Japanese director who is by turns familiar, alien, grim, funny, evasive, brutal, ethereal, and deeply human. Readers will begin to understand why the imagination of Mamoru Oshii inspires The Matrix`s Wachowski brothers and Titanic`s James Cameron. Stray Dog will be of interest not only to those who want to get to know Mamoru Oshii, but those who presumed they already knew him well. For those new to Mamoru Oshii, Stray Dog of Anime is the viewer`s companion to have. For those already fans, Stray Dog is likely to provoke at least half-a-dozen new questions."
&mdashCarl Gustav Horn, co-author, Japan Edge: The Insider`s Guide to Japanese Pop Subculture

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1st edition (June 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403963347
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403963345
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #367,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
I wrote a review of the book "Cinema of Mamoru Oshii: Fantasy, Technology and Politics by Dani Cavallaro", describing it as "comprehensive, even if a bit dense." Well, Brian Ruh's book "Stray Dog of Anime" accomplishes the same goal that Cavallaro set out to accomplish, only minus the thick academic language. This is not a slight to Cavallaro's work, which should help bring Oshii's genius into the line of sight of Western Academia. However, for the rest of us who appreciate an intelligent yet more accessible style of writing, there is Ruh's book.

What's interesting is that Ruh's book captures the same format as Cavallaro's, walking the reader through Oshii's work in chronological order. Ruh follows a helpful outline approach that offers an introduction, description, synopsis and, finally, analytic commentary on each film. Ruh's dissection of each film is presented in a conversational format that is without pretense. Readers like myself will especially appreciate the Oshii interview excerpts throughout the book. In fact, I bought both books hoping to find not just a critical look at Oshii's films, but also some insight from the man himself. It's always a good feeling to come across an outside view of a movie or film director that is in line with my own. I really appreciated how Ruh takes notice of Oshii's maturation through each film, with Patlabor 2 being something of a pivotal point in Oshii's more subdued yet enriching approach to how dialog and mood is captured and conveyed in his films.

Unfortunately, my favorite Oshii film -- Innocence -- was not yet finished at the time of the publishing of this book, so you won't find any discussion about this film. But it is a minor miss for an otherwise well written, comprehensive inspection of Oshii's other works.

If you can afford it, buy this book and Cavallaro's together.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Like many others, my first introduction to Mamoru Oshii was via the first Ghost in the Shell movie. At the time I was looking for something like the Matrix, and the Internet of the time highly recommended looking at Ghost in the Shell.

I would go on later to watch and enjoy Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, another of Oshii’s works, and then in 2006 I discovered Urusei Yatsura Movie 2: Beautiful Dreamer, seemingly thanks to a forum post recommending it as being similar to the movie Waking Life.

In 2007 I would watch the animated Blood: The Last Vampire, and then in 2010, Avalon. It was the use of the dog in the film that made me think of Innocence, and then to discovering that Mamoru Oshii had a part in all of these movies. So in 2014 when I saw a used copy of Mamoru Oshii: Cinema Trilogy, I immediately picked it up, with Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade and the first Patlabor film being additional recent purchases this year.

I say all this because I came into Brian Ruh’s Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii with some level of experience with Mamoru Oshii’s works, and is definitely a creator (being much more than just a director) that I’m aware of and watch out for. So with Brian Ruh’s book I was hoping to get a better idea of just who Mamoru Oshii is, and for new insights into his various works.

First, I must comment on the Kindle version of the book. This version appeared to be the easiest (and possibly only) way to get a copy of the Second Edition, which includes three additional chapters, including most importantly one on Innocence. Sadly, the Kindle version of the book (read on a Kindle Fire 7, in mid-March 2016) appears to have issues with some special characters.
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