Thursday, 18 September 2014

Turning Point 1997-2008

Turning Point 1997-2008
Hayao Miyazaki's autobiographical Turning Point 1997-2008 is a collection of articles and interviews related to his films Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, and Ponyo. It's a translation of the Japanese 折り返し点 1997-2008, and a sequel to Miyazaki's first anthology, Starting Point 1979-1996. Miyazaki himself was surprisingly reluctant to publish it: "A book that has collected the likes of talks I have given here and there, or what I was obliged to say, or what I wrote because I was asked to write something seems to me to reveal evidence of my shame. So, frankly, I'm not too happy about it."

The book provides useful access to material previously available only in Japan. Fortunately, the chapters on Princess Mononoke (Miyazaki's first international success) and Spirited Away (his masterpiece) are the most extensive, with in-depth interviews and production notes. The Howl's Moving Castle chapter, however, has only a tangential connection to the film, and the final chapter includes only two short articles on Ponyo. It's odd that Turning Point was published some six years after the Japanese edition, and that it contains no new material on Ponyo or Miyazaki's final film, The Wind Rises. (One of the book's translators, Frederik L Schodt, wrote Manga! Manga!: The World Of Japanese Comics.)

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