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 (R) 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 Nausicaa 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.
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. (June) FYI: The ISBN above is for Vol. 1. The other volumes' ISBNs are as follows: -792-5 (Vol. 2); -793-3 (Vol. 3); -794-1 (Vol. 4); -795-X (Vol. 5). Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.