Hayao Miyazaki is a man we think we understand through his work. With the release of his most recent film, THE WIND RISES, I posited on the VICE PIT that this was his most personal film yet (or ever), drawing a comparison between its engineer dreamer and Miyazaki's own struggles in animation. Anime has had its share of so-called gods (Tezuka), madmen (Anno) and new blood (Urobuchi), but everyone seems to agree that it’s Miyazaki who has done more for anime in our generation than any other.
And yet... what do we really know about Miyazaki, the man?
STARTING POINT(1979-1996) - - now in paperback - - is the first volume of a three-part series that delves into the translated writings of Miyazaki himself. Whether he's writing for a magazine, sending an internal memo to his animation company, or being interviewed about his directorial style, Miyazaki's own words provide a critical insight into the beginnings of a legendary career.
This first volume contains over 70 excerpts of Miyazaki’s writings and musings about himself and others, and it marks the first time an English-speaking audience would get to peer into a little bit more of what makes the venerable director tick. The massive translation duties were handled by Beth Cary and Frederik L. Schodt, the latter name familiar to longtime anime fans as the man who translated ASTRO BOY into English and has written multiple books on manga and anime.
Needless to say, if you are a fan of his work, of history, or just want to know what it was like animating back-in-the-day, this book should satiate your curiosity. It's also incredibly readable, as the entries never go longer than a dozen pages and can really be read in any order according to your interest.
So if you ever wondered what Miyazaki REALLY thought of Osamu Tezuka, how he somehow remains married or raises children, or what his thought process and proposal documents look like, this is a fantastic volume to pick up. Vol 2 was just released in hardback, and I'll have coverage of that volume as well. So join me next time for THE TURNING POINT!
"STARTING POINT (1979 - 1996) HAYAO MIYAZAKI" can be found on the VIZ website and any reputable retailer like Amazon or local bookstore... yes, I said a BOOK-store not "that-place-where-manga-is-next-to-Hot-Dog-on-a-Stick"