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Spirited Away (BFI Film Classics) Paperback – 18 Jun 2008
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Study of the immensely popular Japanese anime film Spirited Away. Explores the creative thought process behind the animations and language used, and how the issues raised relate to modern Japan
This book offers a study of the immensely popular Japanese anime film, "Spirited Away". It explores the creative thought process behind the animations and language used, and how the issues raised relate to modern Japan."Spirited Away" is one of the most successful foreign-language films ever made. This book includes information about the film hitherto unavailable in English. Anime is a cult genre with an enthusiastic fan-base who are very loyal book-buyers. The publicity campaign will promote the book via "Anima" magazines and websites.It offers an insightful study of the popular Japanese anime film, "Spirited Away". Osmond explores how veteran film-maker Hayao Miyazaki wrote, storyboarded and directed the film, and how he kept firm creative control over the entire process. Osmond also considers the visual language, issues addressed in the film and Miyazaki's previous work.See all Product description
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Many people I have bumped into and discussed the book have expressed an interest to borrow the book, so it's been well read and well loved. I would highly recommend also for any fans of anime or animation in general. It would make a good gift for a fan of anime perhaps combined with the DVD if they haven't seen the film already.
I would say that the reading age of this book is 15+ or mature, not due to graphic content but due to complex themes being discussed and I feel a more mature ready would get the most out of the book.
Also, many pages in the book have high quality glossy images from the film or other areas of interest to Studio Ghibli fans adorning the pages.
A+ Well worth every penny.
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The first half goes over the production, technical aspects, and the people behind the creation of the film. The content is only surface information, written to be easily understood and probably not very useful to anyone deeply interested in production. I think the DVD of Spirited Away has extra features which cover much of the same information. This section also covers some general information on Studio Ghibli which can be found in dozens of other books on Miyazaki or anime. The information on the company is not used to directly offer understanding to Spirited Away, so it feels like it's just taking up space.
Of interest to me in the first section is how Osmond easily dismisses the film as being a disjointed narrative due to creative differences between Miyazaki and one of his staff. This was annoying to me since I got this book because I think the film's narrative is interesting and brings the film together fairly well. And yet Osmond does not further explore these criticisms or offer an alternative view for his argument on the narrative structure. It gives me the impression that Osmond doesn't really understand this film enough to offer a deeper perspective, so he dismisses it instead.
The second half of the book is about the film itself, and was why I purchased the book. The trouble with this section is that it is a chronological summary of the film with lightly dabbled commentary. The commentary is not especially insightful or always present; the film ending, for instance, is summarized without commentary or further exploration.
The overall effect of this is, for instance, that No Face is brought up once for every appearance he makes, but is never really discussed. If Osmond had gathered up all his separate summary/commentary on No Face and put it together in one section, he could have more effectively used that space to explore the creature and what it's doing in the film. Instead, there's no analysis, no useful exploration, and no depth to the content of the book. The same goes for all major themes, motifs, the other characters, and plot elements; Osmond states when they show up, and might make a comment on it, (some of which are even interesting,) but none of it is discussed.
I bought this book thinking that it was meant to offer deeper insight into the film. This book doesn't do that. I'm not sure what this book is intended for, or who is meant to read it. Since I've seen the film, I don't need to be told what happened in the film, so this book isn't for me. If you've seen the film, you don't need this book.
If you're somehow unable to watch Spirited Away and want to experience the film vicariously through a summary, then you might be interested in this. Otherwise, you can probably gain more insight yourself by just watching the film again, or watch the film with the commentary on, or check out the DVD extras.
Not only does the written speak wonderfully of the animation itself, but defends it's story, and places the film in a realm few films touch, one for kids and adults without irony.
Mr. Osmond brings up everything from tracing Miyazaki's Marxist roots to the films he's making now, and even discusses a bit on anime fanboys discussing the animation autuer on internet forums.
Well worth the read and has honestly made me loved the film even more.
I don't think an entire book is necessary to analyze a film - perhaps just 5 to 10 pages at the most. The book itself didn't have much artwork, and I thought the film was a little too over-analyzed. For some reason, the author keeps hinting that certain scenes have a sensual element to them, which I didn't see at all. I like reading about movies, but find that a well-reasoned review tends to be enough written about a film. Film is a visual and emotional art form, and does not have to be analyzed too deeply to be enjoyed.