I’m a huge fan so I want to know ALL about Studio Ghibli Movies. Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata have created some absolute masterpieces of animation. This small but information packed book, Studio Ghibli: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, is loaded with everything you ever wanted to know about the studio and the films from these artists. But, it’s not overwhelming… it fits right in your pocket.
Although I’ve seen and enjoyed most of the films, I always felt like I was missing something. There are a number of cultural differences between a Westerner like me, and these Japanese characters. The lengthy introduction to Studio Ghibli:The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata explains many of the themes that run through the films. Some are obvious, nature, care for our environment, and family… but I am not familiar with the Shinto religion or many aspects of Japanese Culture. That’s not to say that this is a weighty tome overloaded with information, it’s more like a cheat sheet to fill in some blanks.
All About Studio Ghibli Movies
Far More than A Simple Synopsis of the Studio Ghibli Films
My favorite part is the description of each of the films, you get far more than a simple synopsis. Each of the films has a basic theme running through it. For example, Nausicaa spends a lot of time on environmental destruction, Kiki’s Delivery Service has a lot about independence, and Howl’s Moving Castle discusses treatment of the elderly. My Neighbor Totoro, one of my absolute favorite films, is about the wonder that comes from being a child. The book also gives background to each of the films… the “why” certain images are important. It’s interesting to learn just how much of himself Hayao Miyazaki puts into his films. Life’s experiences become integrated into the story. Films like “Grave of the Fireflies” and the newest film “The Wind Rises” clearly come from deep inside.
Studio Ghibli films are generally hand animated. The process takes longer than computer animation, but the end result is a work of art. There is an added dimension to the films that makes you feel like you are watching through a window, not a screen.
The biggest shame is that in the United States, the films go in and out of the theaters far too quickly (maybe because they don’t have princesses in ball gowns or smart mouthed side kicks). The whole family can watch Studio Ghibli films, and everyone will be able to enjoy it without feeling like they’ve lost IQ. Strong girls are important in Ghibli films… not superhero girls or sassy girls… these are regular girls that prove they can look life in the eye, and do the right thing.
The book is broken into sections, which makes it easy to read parts at a time. You can just read about a certain film, or you can read about the characteristics that make a Ghibli film. I keep this book on my endtable in the Living Room, where I can flip through it any time. To me, the book doesn’t spoil the films, if anything, it enhances my enjoyment of the films from Studio Ghibli.
Recently Studio Ghibli: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata was Updated
There are now 2 editions…. the Blue is most recent.