Otaku USA Magazine
Exploring Ghibli History with The Art of Castle in the Sky

art of castle in the skyIn the anime pantheon, not many people can reach the level of Hayao Miyazaki. Castle in the Sky is one of his iconic classics, and while it hasn’t reached the degree of recognition in the west as his titles Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, it remains an animated treasure and an important part of his repertoire. Castle in the Sky was also the very first movie produced by his company Studio Ghibli, and this year marks the feature’s thirtieth anniversary. In honor of this, VIZ Media is releasing a gorgeous and thorough hardcover art book, The Art of Castle in the Sky.

It opens with Miyazaki’s original proposal for Castle in the sky, dated December 7, 1984. He discusses possible titles (including Young Pazu and the Mystery of the Levitation Crystal, Flying Treasure Island and The Flying Empire) and writes about his goals, a little about the story outline, and the story setting. He really stressed the fact that this should be a movie for kids, but also something adults would enjoy, writing, “With the exception of Doraemon, most current animation is based on more serious, dramatic, gekiga comics; Pazu will instead aim to help resurrect traditionally entertaining manga- or cartoon-style films.” From there it goes into an introduction from the Animage Editorial Division.

Next we get into the artwork, and everything is labeled. It starts with images from the start of the whole story, which are not part of the film, but are from the novelization of Castle in the Sky, published by Animage. Then it goes into pages and pages of conception sketches and real shots from the film. Sometimes the art also has quotes to describe the background or decision-making for why the art was done the way it was. The quotes vary in length, from a brief explanation to quite in-depth, but all in all it really does give an added layer of understanding to the film and what Miyazaki wanted to accomplish. All the pages are large and glossy, being perfect showcases for Miyazaki’s work. The book ends with the dub screenplay, credits for the Japanese version, and the lyrics to “Carrying You,” written in both Japanese and English. 

Altogether the book comes in at just a little under 200 pages, and it’s being released October 18. This is definitely something that fans of Hayao Miyazaki—and of Castle in the Sky, specifically—ought to check out, because it’s bound to make them very happy. 

Published by: Viz Media 

Danica Davidson’s book Manga Art For Beginners is being released March 29 and is available for pre-order. With more than 200 pages and hundreds of drawings, it takes a thorough look at each step for drawing your favorite manga character types, including ninja, butlers, chibi, bishonen, schoolgirls and schoolboys.