Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli is the most beloved animator in Japan and when his film "Spirited Away" won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film, there were plenty of people on this side of the Pacific who were interested in seeing his earlier films, which included "Princess Mononoke," "Kiki's Delivery Service," "My Neighbor Totoro," and "Castle in the Sky." The last is retold in a four-part series of graphic novels that are printed and intended to be read in the original Japanese right-to-left format (although you can get in a couple of dozen pages starting from the "front" before you are clearly on the wrong track).
"Castle in the Sky" ("Tenkū no shiro Rapyuta") is the story of Sheeta, a young girl who wears a mysterious blue crystal around her neck that allows her to defy gravity, and Pazu, a young orphan and apprentice miner who is pretty inventive. They meet when pirates after a treasure and government secret agents hungry for power start chasing Sheeta and Pazu saves her when she falls out of an airship (he catches her when she floats down out of the sky). Muska has been assigned by the Special Agency to obtain the levitation stone while Dola is the captain of the pirate's airship. The stone has been in Sheeta's family forever and there is clearly a secret connection between it and the mythical Laputa, a floating city built by a lost race of people. This is probably my least favorite Miyazaki film, but is still well worth watching, or, in this case reading.
For those who have read what photo-novels of movies are like before, you are not really going to be prepared for what they will find in this graphic novel (it really is more like a comic book). Whether you have seen "Castle in the Sky" or not you will find this an interesting story and there is even a cliffhanger at the end of volume 1 to inspire you to move on to the next part. When you make the mistake of opening to the "front" of the book look over the guide to "Castle in the Sky" sound effects used in the "manga" (comic book) style adaptation of the actual anime (animated movie). The sound effects are usually written in the phonetic characters called "katakana." If the instructions are too complicated do not worry because there are three pages of annotations (three column per page) translating every sound from "whoor whoor whoor" to the final "kaasboom."