The Art of Castle in the Sky Review

51ym6qkoscl-_sx355_bo1204203200_Title: The Art of Castle in the Sky
Author: Hayao Miyazaki / Studio Ghibli Library
Publisher: VIZ Media
Language: English
Format: Hard Cover
Pages: 194
Genre: Art
Publication Date: October 18, 2016

Hayao Miyazaki has been referred to the Walt Disney of anime during his introduction for the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Oscars ceremony. It is truly just a part of an amazing career which made him a pioneer and a legend in, not only, the Japanese animation industry, but the animation industry as a whole. While he has been known for many of anime’s greatest films, VIZ Media has released a hardcover art book focusing on the one particular film. Today, I will take a look at The Art of Castle in the Sky.

While art is typically at the forefront of any art book, often times the book will also come with extras. Whether these extras are just bits of information on art pieces or interviews with the creator, they often help piece together the creation process behind the art being depicted. Not only does The Art of Castle in the Sky do this, but it goes a bit above and beyond the standard expectations when it comes to an art collection.

The book opens up with quite the introduction. It gives us the original proposal for The Castle in the Sky from Hayao Miyazaki. The proposal is a bit detailed at first, but towards the end, it breaks it down into a timeline with brief mentions of what occurred during the proposal process and on what dates. It seems a bit odd that it gave us so much detail and then trickled down into a cliff notes version, but it was still an interesting look into how Castle in the Sky was originally pitched to be made into a film.

Right after that, we jump right into the meat and potatoes of the book. Here we are treated to an assortment of concept art and sketches, animation cels from production some screenshots of the film and everything in anything in between. In fact, the opening two page spread is just simply gorgeous to look at and serves as a preview of what we are about to experience in the pages beyond

Castle in the Sky

Tenku no Shiro Laputa (Castle in the Sky)
Copyright © 1986 Studio Ghibli

After the two page spread, we start off with the Prologue. In the prologue we are given art that was unseen in the finished version of the film. These images mainly show air ships, but you can also see city streets as well. All of which look masterfully crafted even though they are simple concept sketches.

A little further in comes one of my favorite sections, albeit brief. It talks about the types of transmitted light and lith film work. Here, we have some high-resolution images depicting Sheeta’s fall and how her etherium crystal activates, stabilizing her movement. The art shows four different frames where you can see how lighting affects the scene. It’s only in these still shots can you truly see the small details up close and appreciate the methods used to create this scene. There are other sections where more techniques are highlighted, such as the color overlaying technique.

In addition, the pages show both concept and finished work side by side and while some pages only contain art, the majority of them have some notes which explain which scene the art piece is from and even goes as far as to label which ones are individual animation cels.

Castle in the Sky

Tenku no Shiro Laputa (Castle in the Sky)
Copyright © 1986 Studio Ghibli

To cap off the book, we are given the dub screenplay script, written by Hayao Miyazaki. It is complete with dialogue and character directions, just as if it were the script itself.

All in all, this is a magnificent book and a must-have for any Hayao Miyazaki or Studio Ghibli fan. The artwork was beautifully reproduced and is full of vivid high definition color. The sketches are well pronounced in their quality and really captures the master craftsmanship that Miyazaki is known for. Flipping through the pages of the book and admiring the artwork took me back to this classic film. It was nice to experience the scenes I was already familiar with to get that extra insight to their creation was a bonus on top of the joy of just seeing the images.

This is probably one of the better art books produced by VIZ and I highly recommend picking this one up!

**This item was provided for review by VIZ Media

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years!