Anime Book Review: The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki

The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki is a book written by Dani Cavallaro that was published in 2006. The book contains an introduction, 18 chapters, a postscript, an epilogue, a filmography, two appendixes, chapter notes, a bibliography, and an index.

The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki
Written by: Dani Cavallaro
Publisher: McFarland
Release Date: January 24, 2006

Even though the book may be titled The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki, there are absolutely no pictures included in it. As I read through the book, I wished there were screenshots from the films that are discussed to help illustrate some of the author’s points. However, it probably would have been a lot of work for this author to not only be able to acquire the rights to use any screenshots, but it would probably would have cost more than the author could have potentially afforded to acquire those rights. Perhaps the book could have had a slightly different title, so interested readers don’t go into it expecting to find art or images in the actual book.

The tone of the book is very dry in nature; in fact, it reads much like the textbooks I had to read while I was in college. I also thought there were times when the author was trying too hard to write long sentences with a lot of big words. I have to admit that because of the dry nature of the writing and the overuse of long sentences, there were times when I nearly fell asleep while I tried to read the book. Also, it should be noted that while the book is titled The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki, some of the topics included for discussion in the book are Studio Ghibli films that Miyazaki himself had no direct involvement in.

During the course of the book, the author takes a look at: Miyazaki’s early years, the history of Studio Ghibli, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Grave of the Fireflies, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Studio Ghibli’s projects in 1990 and 1991, Porco Rosso, Studio Ghibli’s projects between 1992 and 1994, “On Your Mark,” Whisper of the Heart, Princess Mononoke, Studio Ghibli’s projects between 1999 and 2001, Spirited Away, Studio Ghibli’s projects between 2002 and 2003, and Howl’s Moving Castle. The postscript talks about an exhibition in France that featured work by both Hayao Miyazaki and Moebius.

If you want to learn more about Hayao Miyazaki and his work, and don’t mind reading a book that’s scholarly in tone, then The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki is for you. However, for readers who would like to learn more about Miyazaki, I would personally recommend Helen McCarthy’s Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation over The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki. While McCarthy’s book may stop at Princess Mononoke, I found this book to be a more interesting and engaging read, and I felt I got more out of it than I did after reading The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Additional books about Hayao Miyazaki:

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