10:33 - 21st March 2013, by NEO Staff

Starting Point

Controversial, opinionated and cynical - this is a side to one of anime's greatest auteurs that most fans simply would never have experienced. Perhaps all those comparisons to Walt Disney have rubbed off, or maybe Hayao Miyazaki's greying hair and joyful movies have given fandom a rather different side of the director on which to base their impressions. Either way, anyone reading this collection of essays after enjoying a typical Miyazaki movie might just be surprised at the man depicted within these pages. Of course, just because the book doesn't conform to preconceptions, that doesn't mean it's not a fascinating and vital look at one of the most important directors in the world - far from it. Instead, the very fact that it goes against Miyazaki's somewhat jovial reputation means that this is a book that every serious anime fan owes it to themselves to read.

In its pages, which contain interviews, sketches, letters and essays, Miyazaki tackles every topic imaginable, from the nitty gritty aspects of animation (including an intimidatingly indepth discussion about how to animate running) to discussions about specific movies and critiques of the animation process itself. One of the most fascinating entries concerns Miyazaki's thoughts on Osamu Tezuka - an eye opener indeed! The collection also contains Dining in Midair, a manga created by Miyazaki for Japan Airlines in-flight magazine, as well as some sketches both in translated and untranslated form.

To read this book is to feel as if Miyazaki himself has taken you into his confidence, and shared with you a lifetime of fascinating insights into the animation industry. Frank and brutally honest, Starting Point is an unparalleled treasure trove of information for the anime aficionado.

Surprising, insightful, and thoughtful, this is Miyazaki distilled.
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