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VINE VOICEon 2 May 2004
I was tempted to go out and pick up the five volume manga edition of Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece the Oscar winning "Spirited Away," but I managed to be strong because I did not want to dilute my enjoyment of the film one iota when it finally came out on DVD (I live in the far north, where a film like this is never going to come to a real movie theater). Now that "Spirited Away" is available to the masses the manga version is no longer a substitute: if the choice is between the anime and the manga, see the anime. But for those who are enthralled by the story and everything that Miyazaki-sama invested in the animation, this is another way of cherishing "Spirited Away."
Yes, you have to read the book from "back" to "front" becuase things are laid out right-to-left (like the title of this review) and you need to be aware of this so you do not open the wrong end and accidentally find out where each volume ends. The artwork consists of cells taken from the film, which will allow you to look for the little details Miyazaki puts into virtually every drawing. You can also study his use of color, which is certainly worth paying attention to as well. In terms of what you get "extra" with the manga version are the original Japanese soundeffects. There is also a black wrap around cover to protect the book and remind you that "Spirited Away" is something special.
Note: If you have seen the film then telling you that Volume 1 ends with Chihiro at the door to the boiler room will mean something to you. If you have not seen the film, then go see the film. This manga is pretty good, but the anime it is based on is simply great.
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on 23 February 2004
This boxed set of five books is quite beautiful, each volume having its own dust cover/jacket, and some gorgeous cover art. The box supplied seems a little flimsy given the weight of the books (the full set is surprisingly heavy for their size).
However, this is not a comic book/manga of the story. It is a collection of thousands of screenshots from the movie. While the art was beautiful in the movie, and the action paced near perfectly re-using the same art for the book just doesn't quite work. Action sequences are unclear and far too "rushed" while much of the rest of the tale just drags along.
I suspect a younger reader, or a reader not as entrenched in classic manga works may find these books more than satisfactory, but anyone looking for a manga retelling of the story will be dissapointed.
Still, they look good on the shelf, and are quite sturdy enough and accessible enough for younger siblings and/or cousins to enjoy a touch of oriental storytelling.
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on 22 March 2005
Poor 10-year-old Chihiro Ogino is so unhappy that her family is moving to a new home. But, things go from bad to weird, when her father takes a wrong turn, and finds what he believes to be an abandoned theme park. When night falls, Chihiro finds herself in a strange and threatening world of magic and weird creatures. Rescued by a young boy named Haku, he tells Chihiro what she must do to survive and rescue her parents.
This wonderful little book is the work of Hayao Miyazaki, one of Japan's premiere animators. A great thing about this book is that it is printed so as to be read from back-to-front, right-to-left, in the Japanese style, helping to give the reader the feeling of entering another world. I really enjoyed this book, and found the story to be nothing short of wonderful. I highly recommend this book.
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on 8 January 2003
It is not clear in the purchase information that this book is only the first of a set of 5. Therefore purchasing the one book will be a disappointment as it is literally only 20% of the film that it represents.
I confess when I purchased it online, I expected it to be the narrative 'text based' story of Spirited Away which I eagerly awaited as there are many twists in the film plot that are not crystal clear and so I expected to be enlightened.
It is instead a picture book sequence of ‘key cels’ from the animated film with English speech bubbles inserted.
The images in the book are as clear and enchanting as those in the film and are sequenced nicely by selecting frame shape combinations to fit onto the pages. A nice touch is that the book is 'correctly' printed ‘backwards’ in the traditional Japanese fashion.
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