The thought-provoking, aesthetically pleasing animated films of Hayao Miyazaki attract audiences well beyond the director’s native Japan. Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away were critically acclaimed upon U.S. release, and the earlier My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service have found popularity with Americans on DVD. This critical study of Miyazaki’s work begins with an analysis of the visual conventions of manga, Japanese comic books, and animé; an overview of Japanese animated films; and a consideration of the techniques deployed by both traditional cel and computer animation. This section also details Miyazaki’s early forays into comic books and animation, and his output prior to his founding of Studio Ghibli. Part Two concentrates on the Studio Ghibli era, outlining the company’s development and analyzing the director’s productions between 1984 and 2004, including Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro and his newest film, Howl’s Moving Castle. The second section also discusses other productions involving Studio Ghibli, including Grave of the Fireflies and The Cat Returns. Appendices supply additional information about Studio Ghibli’s merchandise production, Miyazaki’s global fan base, and the output of other Ghibli directors.
This book describes the thematic and structural traits of a recent and popular development within the realm of anime: series adapted from visual novels. Visual novels are interactive fiction games in which players creatively control decisions and plot turning points. Endings alter according to the player’s choices, providing a motivation to replay the game and opt for alternative decisions each time. Pictorial sumptuousness, plot depth and subtle characterization are vital aspects of the medium. Anime based on visual novels capitalizes on the parent games’ attributes, yielding thought-provoking yarns and complex personalities.
Formed by a small group of university students in the early 1980s, Studio Gainax is now one of the most adventurous and widely esteemed anime companies on the scene. And it is fascinating for its unique approach to animation. Formal experimentation, genre-straddling, self-reflexivity, unpredictable plot twists, a gourmet palate for stylishness, proverbially controversial endings, and a singularly iconoclastic worldview are some of the hallmarks. This documentation of the studio’s achievements provides a critical overview of both the company and its films: in-depth examinations of particular titles that best represent the company’s overall work, including television series such as Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water and Neon Genesis Evangelion, and feature films such as Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise and Gunbuster vs. Diebuster. Each chapter highlights the contribution made by a specific production to the company’s progress.
Hayao Miyazaki has gained worldwide recognition as a leading figure in the history of animation, alongside Walt Disney, Milt Kahl, Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Yuri Norstein and John Lasseter. In both his films and his writings, Miyazaki invites us to reflect on the unexamined beliefs that govern our lives. His eclectic body of work addresses compelling philosophical and political questions and demands critical attention. This study examines his views on contemporary culture and economics from a broad spectrum of perspectives, from Zen and classical philosophy and Romanticism, to existentialism, critical theory, poststructuralism and psychoanalytic theory.
Kyoto Animation, a studio with very humble beginnings, has gained recognition the world over as a uniquely inspired and inventive enterprise. This book examines Kyoto Animation’s philosophy and creative vision with close reference to its anime. It focuses on the studio’s choice of genres, themes and imagery while exploring its maintenance of high production values. The analysis highlights the studio’s commitment to the pursuit of both artistic excellence and technical experimentation—and its reliance on the imagination and expertise of in-house staff.
Once a favorite of mainly art house audiences, Hayao Miyazaki’s films have enjoyed increasing exposure in the West since his Spirited Away won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2003. The award signaled a turning point for Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli, bringing his films prominence in the media and driving their distribution in multiple formats. This book explores the closing decade of Miyazaki’s career (2004–2013), providing a close study of six feature films to which he contributed, including three he directed (Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo and The Wind Rises). Seven short films created for exclusive screening at Tokyo’s Ghibli Museum are also covered, four of which were directed by Miyazaki.
Over the last few decades, anime has consistently come into fruitful contact with themes, images and symbols associated with the fairy tale tradition. This critical text focuses on the ways in which fundamental principles of the fairy tale tradition are deployed, and hence come to manifest themselves narratively and cinematographically, in anime. Topics covered include modes of storytelling, aesthetics, as well as dramatic, ethical, psychological and social considerations. Of particular interest is the way in which allegorical commentaries on cultural and historical issues are illustrated in anime.
This study addresses the relationship between Japanese aesthetics, a field steeped in philosophy and traditional knowledge, and anime, a prominent part of contemporary popular culture. There are three premises: (1) the abstract concepts promoted by Japanese aesthetics find concrete expression at the most disparate levels of everyday life; (2) the abstract and the concrete coalesce in the visual domain, attesting to the visual nature of Japanese culture at large; and (3) anime can help us appreciate many aspects of Japan’s aesthetic legacy, in terms of both its theoretical propositions and its visual, even tangible, aspects.
The theme of memory has played a significant role in anime throughout its evolution as an art form and as popular entertainment. Anime’s handling of memory is multifaceted, weaving it into diverse symbolic motifs, narratives and aesthetic issues. This study aims to provide a detailed analysis of a range of anime titles wherein different aspects of this cultural phenomenon are articulated. It explores anime films and series that exemplify the distinctive signatures placed by particular directors or studios on the treatment of memory, while also highlighting the prominence of memory in anime with reference to specific philosophical, artistic, and historical contexts.
Since its debut manga RG Veda, CLAMP has steadily asserted itself as one of the most widely renowned teams of manga artists, leaving a durable imprint in every established genre while also devising novel formulas along the way. Endowed not only with stylistic distinctiveness but also comprehensive cultural structure, CLAMP’s output is distinguished by unique worldbuilding flair and visual vitality. Exploring a selection of CLAMP manga as well as anime it inspired, this volume examines CLAMP’s broader philosophical underpinnings, its dedication to the invention of elaborate narrative constructs, its legendary passion for multilayered universes, and its symbolic interpretation of human identity. Throughout, the work highlights the team’s incremental creation of a graphic constellation of unparalleled appeal.