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Starting Point: 1979-1996 [Hardcover]

Hayao Miyazaki
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 34.99
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Book Description

Aug. 4 2009
R to L (Japanese Style). A hefty compilation of essays (both pictorial and prose), notes, concept sketches and interviews by (and with) Hayao Miyazaki. Arguably the most respected animation director in the world, Miyazaki is the genius behind "Howl's Moving Castle," Princess Mononoke" and the Academy Award-winning film, "Spirited Away."

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Starting Point: 1979-1996 + Turning Point: 1997-2008 (hardcover) + The Art of the Wind Rises
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Product Description

About the Author

Hayao Miyazaki is one of Japan's most beloved animation directors. In September 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 Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro and Howl's Moving Castle, 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, which is published in English by VIZ Media. Nausicaä, like many of the director's movies, is now available on DVD in the U.S.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, though a little repetitive March 19 2010
By Theowne
Format:Hardcover
This book is a collection of writings and speeches by Hayao Miyazaki. As you expect, there are some very insightful pieces in the book that help you understand the man and his background a little more. Fans of Studio Ghibli films will enjoy several long chapters dedicated to discussing his favourite works. However, you should not purchase the book expecting an autobiography or anything of that nature. The only flaw with this book is that it is merely a collection of unrelated things Miyazaki has written - and thus there is a lot of repetition. However, I'm sure that any fan of Miyazaki will overlook this and enjoy the book for what it is.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pour les fans Dec 30 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
un excellent ouvrage qui retrace la carrière d'un grand artiste. À lire pour découvrir le parcours d'un génie de l'animation!
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great, complex read Sept. 15 2009
By Christian Jaeschke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Starting Point: 1979-1996 is an amazing book. It's a heavy read, with essays covering everything from Miyazaki's works, to philosophy and religion, Japanese economy and the life of an animator and so much more. I found it a contradictory, frustrating and often pessimistic read but also to be incredibly fascinating and honest. It adds a whole new dimension to the man we know in Miyazaki. He's a genius as an animator but it seems he must be a terribly unfulfilled person in real life (he missed much of his children's lives due to his workaholic attitude). The book could do with some more pictures and maybe more information on his Nausicaa manga but otherwise it's a brilliant, if not always a happy read. I hope Viz Media release the sequel - Turning Point: 1997-2008, sometime in the near future. Highly recommended for Miyazaki fans. 5/5
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The vision of a genius Jan. 29 2010
By Mario Castro - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Hayao Miyazaki is considered one of the best directors of animation history.
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.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read For All Miyazaki Fans March 30 2012
By Johanna - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought Starting Point at the beginning of this year as material for a research paper I was writing on three of Hayao Miyazaki's films. Since then, I have read the entire thing and reread multiple portions of this extraordinary book. It became an invaluable resource for me as I wrote my paper, but it was also a very enjoyable and personal book. Over the course of the weeks it took me to finish it, I felt like I actually got to know Hayao Miyazaki. As I told several people, Starting Point is definitely the best book I have purchased in a very long time, and so far it is the best thing I have read this year. With all the wonderful essays, interviews, directorial memos, and even drawings it contains, I'm surprised there hasn't been more hype about it. It is an absolute must-read for any Miyazaki fan. I can't believe we had to wait more than fifteen years for this book to be translated and published in the United States (it was first published in Japan in 1996).

The book, which is nearly 500 pages long, has been divided into several parts and includes a foreword by John Lasseter (director of Toy Story) and an afterword by Isao Takahata (director of Grave of the Fireflies). The first part, entitled "On Creating Animation" is perhaps the most technical part of the book. Even though many of Miyazaki's thoughts on animation and film techniques were a bit over my head, I still enjoyed reading those chapters and thinking about them. Miyazaki's writing style is simple enough that I didn't feel swept away by too much jargon or overly-technical terms. For filmmakers and those interested in how animation works, this part of the book will be fascinating. The second part, called "On The Periphery of the Work" was similar to the previous section in that it contained chapters about animation techniques. However, Miyazaki mainly writes about his thoughts on various animated films. He also includes some very short essays like "The Tokyo I Love" that almost feel like journal entries. Part three, "People", is full of essays about individuals who have helped, inspired, and even irritated Miyazaki. Two of my favorites are "I Left Raising Our Children To My Wife" and "My Old Man's Back." These are both very vulnerable essays about some of the people closest to Miyazaki, and reading them almost brought tears to my eyes.

"A Story in Color" and part of "My Favorite Things" give the reader a short break from the text with a comic and some illustrations. "Dining in Midair" is a charming and sometimes amusing comic about the history of in-flight dining. Scrapbooks No. 1 - 3 in the beginning of "My Favorite Things" display some pictures of flying machines, tanks, and cars, and also a very short illustrated story called "I Want A Garden Like This." Then we are back to more essays for the remaining part of "Favorite Things." My favorite essay in this section is "My Random Thoughts Notebook Is My Hobby." This one made me laugh because I expected it to be an essay about Miyazaki's random thoughts notebook. However, it was simply a piece full of disjointed thoughts, memories, and observations.

"Planning Notes; Directorial Memoranda" was a nice inclusion and the directorial memos were fun to read. For those who want more details about some of their favorite Miyazaki films like Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, and Princess Mononoke, this section is for them. Although the memos are fairly short, I found them fascinating and enjoyable. However, for those who really want depth and insight into their favorite films, "Works" is the part to flip to. This section has a lot of information on Miyazaki's earlier works, like Lupin III, Future Boy Conan, and Panda! Go Panda! I had not heard of any of these before reading the book, but reading the chapter on Lupin was what convinced me to watch the film Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro, which was excellent. "Works" also has quite a few extensive chapters on Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, and Castle in the Sky. Miyazaki focuses on Nausicaä especially in several chapters, one of my favorites being an interview titled "Nature Is Both Generous and Ferocious."

All in all, this book was excellent and I am very pleased to have it in my library. I have heard rumors that Viz Media might be publishing Miyazaki's later book Turning Point: 1997 - 2008 soon, and I hope that is the case. Much as I enjoyed this book, I would love to read more about Miyazaki's later works like Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Ponyo. In the meantime, I plan to read this book over and over again, and I encourage anyone interested in Miyazaki's works (or even just interested in film and animation) to pick up a copy.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars These essays and interviews give you an insight into Hayao Miyazaki July 5 2011
By Lesley Aeschliman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Starting Point 1979-1996 is a book by Hayao Miyazaki that was translated by Beth Cary and Frederik L. Schodt. The translation was first published by Viz Media in August 2009, and it had a second printing in January 2010. The book opens with a Foreward by John Lasseter from Pixar Animation. Then, the main contents of the book are essays and pieces written by Miyazaki and interviews done with Miyazaki. These are divided into six sections: "On Creating Animation," "On the Periphery of the Work," "People," "My Favorite Things," "Planning Notes; Directorial Memoranda," and "Works." In the middle of the book there is a section called "A Story in Color," which is a piece that Miyazaki illustrated and wrote for the June 1994 edition of Japan Airlines' in-flight magazine. The book closes with a biographical chronology and an Afterword written by Isao Takahata.

The first section of the book is "On Creating Animation." It includes twelve pieces Miyazaki wrote that talk about his thoughts on what animation is, how animation is created, how to draw movements, his thoughts on scenarios, and his thoughts on the workplace for animators. Next is "On the Periphery of the Work," which includes seventeen different pieces. Here, Miyazaki talks about his thoughts on Dave Fleischer, his thoughts on Fantastic Planet, his thoughts on two student shorts that he viewed, his thoughts on period dramas, his thoughts on The Man Who Planted Trees, his thoughts on the first war in Iraq, the type of film he'd like to create, his theories on the popularity of manga, and his thoughts on environmental issues.

The next section is "People," in which Miyazaki shares anecdotes and thoughts about people he has known both in his personal life and in his professional life. This is followed by "A Story in Color," which is eight pages of a kind of manga telling of the history of in-flight meals.

"My Favorite Things" includes a few drawings from Miyazaki's scrapbook. The first few pages have been translated into English. However, there is a second copy of two of the pieces that include Miyazaki's original text in his handwriting. I personally thought this was a nice touch. This is followed by a couple of pieces by Miyazaki about his car and the Takei Sanseido stationary store. "Planning Notes; Directorial Memoranda" include a proposal to acquire the film rights to Richard Corben's Rowlf, press release material for Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, the original proposal for Castle in the Sky, the project plan and a directorial memo for My Neighbor Totoro, a piece about Kiki's Delivery Service, a couple of proposals for projects that were never produced, a directorial memo for Porco Rosso, a piece about Whisper of the Heart, and a planning memo for Princess Mononoke.

The next section is "Works," and it includes Miyazaki talking about some of the projects he had worked on: Lupin III, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Future Boy Conan, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Panda! Go Panda!, and "On Your Mark." The biographical chronology starts with Miyazaki's birth in 1941, and ends with the opening of the Ponyo exhibit at the Ghibli Museum in 2009.

I personally found this book to be rather fascinating; however, it is not something I would consider to be "light reading." I really enjoyed being able to see a bit of who Hayao Miyazaki is through the pieces and interviews included in the book. I also liked getting to see some of the production notes for Miyazaki's works that I have seen. Probably the hardest part of the book for me to get through was the section talking about Future Boy Conan, because it's one of the few Miyazaki works addressed in this book that I have not personally had a chance to see.

I think the readers who would get the most out of this book are those who like Hayao Miyazaki and his works. If you're a fan of Miyazaki or Studio Ghibli, this book would be worth adding to your anime book library.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of this book that my husband gave to me as a gift.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memoirs, Essays, and Interviews of Miyazaki Dec 1 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you are a fan of HM and Studio Ghibli you will be interested. It includes his past writings and memories, and his opinions on his work, anime, Japan and the world. He is opinionated and uninhibited, and some may find it repetitious, or some parts less interesting. But it gives a fine picture of his thinking and where his work comes from.
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