Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley for an ARC of this book.

I wasn't expecting this to be an academic level book on Miyazaki's oeuvre, however, I will say that the writing was very understandable and approachable in tone. One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was that it made me want to watch the movies all over again and read the works they are based on (which was a lovely time for me). I ended up DNF'ing this book because, at the time, I wasn't prepared to read something on the academic level while recovering from another year at university. I do intend on picking this up again in the future, but when I do, I want to read it more casually with less pressure. If you have a friend who loves Miyazaki and his work, this might be a really cool gift for them, especially since this book explores some of the more inner workings of Miyazaki and the thought behind his character choices and whatnot.
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As someone who grew up loving Miyazaki's films and the worlds he created - this book was great to learn more about his life and how the ideas came about. I loved getting to see his life through the movies he created and how each one had influence on him and those around him.
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Being such a massive fan of Miyazaki and his work I was thrilled to be able to get the chance to read this book. Wow! So in-depth. Every film is dissected and it is certainly aimed at the full on fan. Having said that it can also be a dip in and out book. Fascinating stuff.
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This is an wonderful book that gives biographical information on Hayao Miyazaki along with some analysis of his work and how it mirrored his experiences and personal philosophy. It is thought provoking and helped me understand better the brilliance of Miyazaki. While some of Napier's thoughts are slightly forced or require certain assumptions, many of them are surely spot on, and I appreciate reading her thoughts an professional opinion. I would recommend this book to anyone who considers themselves a fan of Ghibli Sudios.
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It’s difficult for me to rate this book as I suspect I’m not the intended reader. It’s really a book for the die-hard Miyazaki fan and for those who know all the films in depth – because this book analyses each film in depth and if, like me, you’re just a casual viewer, then there’s just too much detail. I hoped to learn more about Miyazaki’s life, but this wasn’t the focus of the book, I can see. So I’m afraid I ended up skimming most of it. However, it’s a must-read for true Miyazaki aficionados and the scholarship and research is admirable.
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Great for fans of Miyazaki but also for those who haven't watched all his movies, it definitely turned me from a "casual" fan into a hardcore one. Wonderful work.
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Get Spirited Away into the amazing details and in-depth look at a classic cinematic and cultural icon, the amazing, the one and only Hayo Miyazaki!

A muyst read for fans of huus movies, anime, Japanese history, animators, artists and creative types of all walks.

A physical copy if this will certainly go on my shelf.
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3.5/5 Stars

I've been a huge fan of Miyazaki's films since I first watched Kiki's Delivery Service and Howl's Moving Castle so I downloaded this without looking at what it was really about as soon as I saw it on Netgalley. I think I was expecting more of an art book than a treatise on his life and work. I found everything about this book fascinating.

It kind of read like an unofficial biography of Miyazaki as reflected through his movies. Each chapter is about a different movie and its origin and influences and such but we get a lot of information about Miyazaki's personal life in each one. Honestly, I felt a bit uncomfortable with the amount of personal information we got in this book as it isn't an authorized biography to my knowledge. That being said, I really enjoyed learning about the creative process behind each movie and how you could see his life experience reflected in each one. I wanted to go watch the movie each chapter was about once I finished it. I'm going to do that if I ever read this book again.

Overall, I would recommend this book to Miyazaki fans and newbies alike. It was very accessible and readable considering how much information was crammed into the pages. It will make you see each movie in a different light afterwards. I, for one, appreciate the majesty of each one even more now. Plus, the color art plates in the middle were beautiful.
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Amazing. Reading this almost felt like a betrayal an invasion of privacy. His life has been a long and difficult road. Born in a terrible time for Japan, raised in the shadow of great darkness, he carries that shadow. His views are so different from these modern times, yet he had grabbed ahold of the world and we have loved his art. The things I learned about him and his characters, scenery, and location choices gave me goosebumps. I never saw that but I see it now, so many layers. He is a workaholic, that is no surprise, but the fact that he struggled to be seen does. This is a very interesting man who has touched many hearts, while healing his own heart. Don't tell him I said that but that is what I read between these pages.
This man's art is breathtaking, the details, and colors so full and rich. My favorite are his clouds, they are so beautiful they compete with nature's version so well it's hard to believe they are drawn sometimes. I have been a fan of his work for many years, I own all his released movies, but knew little of the man behind the genius. You can get a feel of some parts of him though his art, his Shinto touches are most visible to me. His movies are so filled with hope, dread, adventure, struggle, heartbreak, love, loneliness, and renewal. Everyone who watches seems to get something different form his work all feel something strongly. How did this man get so many complex layers, we get to know a few. If you're a fan, read this book. Interested in the mental after effect of devastation and war on a man, read this book.
I loved this book. I read a chapter then watched the movie it was talking about. I suggest you do the same with a new vantage point.
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I've loved Miyazaki films since I first started watching them. I'm not a die-hard fan and there are some of the films I don't like that much, as well as a couple I haven't seen. But I've always found them so original and special and beautiful. 

When I saw this book, I had to request it. It is a fascinating analysis of Miyazaki's oeuvre. A word of warning, though: you need to be a Miyazaki connoisseur to read this book - each chapter looks at every film in chronological order, with plenty of spoilers to illustrate Susan Napier's ideas. 
Not only do we explore each film, we also learn a lot about Miyazaki himself and Japanese culture and history. The illustrations are a nice addition.
I would definitely recommend it to any Miyazaki fan out here.
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Hayao Miyazaki is the animator who brought the world My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away,Howl’s Moving Castle, amongst many other incredible imaginings of narrative and graphic delights.

Miyazakiworld is clearly a labour of love for Susan Napier the Goldthwaite Professor of Rhetoric and Japanese Studies at Tufts University, so the book comes over as a highly readable celebration rather than tough critique of the filmmaker’s work. Although she does include extracts and noted arguments of academics who have commented on Miyazaki’s approach to his filmmaking and characters.

Miyazaki was a child at the time of the Second World War and although, by comparison to many of his fellow countryman, had a relatively comfortable upbringing, it did not leave him without some psychological impact. His mother’s chronic illness also left an indelible impression on him. All this meant that in many of his films the children become the ones to right the wrongs of the grown-ups.

Although there is background information, this is not a book with an in-depth interview with Miyazaki, but more a way of considering each of his works and picking out the key points in terms of character and plot and giving context to the background events while the films were being made.

Miyazakiworld could have been a scholarly examination of Miyazaki’s work, but is written instead as a highly readable narrative of each film, leaving the more in-depth critique to other scholars who Napier helpfully references, leaving the reader to go down that route if they so wish.

Having read this book I went back into the films and found new things which added more depth and interest to already excellent animation.
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The history behind the making of the movies was interesting, but I was disappointed that there were no illustrations, no pictures of the art behind the man. I'm not sure if there were legal issues with using the art, but having visuals would have made the stories so much more impactful.
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I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Susan Napier explores how historical and societal events influenced how Hayao Miyazaki created his films. These are some of Miyazaki films that Napier dissects:
-	Nausicaä
-	Laputa: Castle in the Sky
-	My Neighbor Totoro
-	Kiki’s Delivery Service
-	Porco Rosso
-	Princess Mononoke
-	Spirted Away
-	Howl’s Moving Castle
-	Ponyo
-	The Wind Rises

This book is more insightful once the movies have been seen, but Napier takes the time to discuss movie scenes at length to help portray her themes. Spoilers if you have not seen the movie yet. I have not seen some of the films yet, but from those chapters that I’ve read I was surprised by how much I learned. Napier includes interview excerpts, critic opinions, and literary works of the time that either influenced Miyazaki or influenced the public. 

I recommend this book to Miyazaki fans who would like another perspective on the creation of these memorable films.
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I've long been a fan of Miyazaki for his ability to skillfully marry opposing ideas in his narratives. Most if not all his works wield darkness and light interchangeably, but it would be unnecessarily simplistic to posit that Miyazaki solely relies on promoting Taoist principles in his work. The most useful thing the book Miyazakiworld offers is context within the framework of Miyazaki's life. I was unaware of how often his movies and works held up a mirror to his own life, and to the evolution of Japan itself, and it is in this aspect that the book is strongest.

This book is extremely thorough. If you don't consider yourself a resident of the eponymous world, you may find it difficult to finish, as the density of the chapters rely on your knowledge of (and love for) his oeuvre. Each chapter covers a different movie and unfolds chronologically. You discover how each movie came to be as you learn what was happening in Miyazaki's life at that moment. It's an elucidating read, and I enjoyed having a frame of reference for both the movies and Japan. There is a lot of information about Japan and his feelings about Japan, many of which I had not known beforehand. There is a distinct melancholy in all his works, related to the Japanese concept mono no aware, and learning about this was especially illuminating. I often wondered about but never fully realized Miyazaki as a tragic auteur, but this book really brings that notion to the fore.

I do feel, as others did, that there was something else I wanted from this book that it didn't deliver on. I can't speak for others, but I think I was looking for the feeling of being in Miyazakiworld within Miyazakiworld, but that's an unrealistic and impossible expectation. Learning the different ingredients that go into your favorite cake will never replicate the experience of eating that cake. You might be disappointed to learn there was more fat than you initially expected. Or in the case of Miyazaki, sadness. I think that might have tripped up other readers, who anticipated meeting a kinder, gentler, happier creator. I've always felt the undercurrent of anger and melancholy in his work, so I wasn't surprised. But because the book covers his movies chronologically, we leave Miyazakiworld at its saddest point, its terminus, when he has made his last movie and retired. So if anything, don't expect to be uplifted. 

I received a Kindle ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
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I feel really bad about not finishing this - it was an ARC, and it's the first ARC I haven't finished prior to reviewing it.

I simply have too much on my plate right now to read a very long, very in-depth academic-level analysis of Miyazaki's oeuvre, even if it's written in an approachable way. What I read was mostly interesting, but I admit that I didn't totally love the psychoanalyzing of mother figures in his work and how it related to his relationship with his own mother. It seemed like a stretch to me. That said, I also didn't perform all the years of research into this topic that the author did, so it could simply be that I'm ignorant.

I did enjoy the discussion of Miyazaki's political and ideological landscape, and I found the sections discussing his time at Toei animation very engaging to read.
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The man is an artist, a visionary, a genius! I've loved his animation for years! I enjoyed reading about his life and work in this book. Susan Napier did her research and I found it both informative and entertaining. Very insightful. Felt bad for his family. They missed out on a husband and father, but his brilliance  may have been missed had he been a workaday man. Our gain, but sadly their loss.
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I am a huge Miyakazi fan so I found this utterly fascinating and a very enjoyable read. Definitely recommend.
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Miyazakiworld by Susan Napier is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in mid-August.

11 chapters, each of an individual film's origin, interpretation, central themes, and its greater reflection on Miyazaki’s life. Napier goes on a considerably philosophical bent of an animated film evoking depth (of both plot and character, instead of humor and silliness); drawing from European scenery/art/literature; revering life, timelessness, harmony (i.e. an interplay between nature, element/influence of the otherworld, and humans); a slowing of human progress (particularly setting aside adulthood); transitioning amid points in your childhood during crisis and confusion; and fighting through inner & outer conflict in order to live your best life.
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When a friend pointed me out to this being a read now on Netgalley, I knew I had to give this ago. Unfortunately this book turned out not to be for me and I ended up dnf-ing it at about 30%. This problem lies in part with me and I don’t think this is a bad book at all. It just didn’t work for me. 

I’m not sure what my expectations were but the analytical approach and dissection of Miyazaki’s background was not it. Susan Napier really has gone to dept with this book, drawing from all kinds of source materials like the original Miyazaki biography and various interviews by him and his peers. There has gone in a lot of work and research into this work and for that I can only applaud the author. 

But it didn’t make for a pleasant read for me. There was too much details in places and too much analyzing of a man’s life. Of someone who is still alive. It made me uncomfortable. There is also the underlying feeling of the situations depicted in this book that I might not like Miyazaki as a person. And I don’t think I’d like to take that way from this book. I’d rather watch his movies and not think about his person, instead appreciate his art and creativity.  

I would not suggest reading this book if you haven’t seen all of his movies. There are chapters that go into his movies, that analyze them in their entirety which includes spoilers. But if you have watched them all or don’t mind spoilers and would like to go along for the ride with Susan Napier on where Miyazaki came from and how this shaped his films, this is going to be an interesting read for you.
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A great book for fans of Studio Ghibli and  Hayao Miyazaki, very in-depth and full of information. Might be a little too in-depth for casual fans, but still very interesting.
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