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Starting Point: 1979-1996

(Hayao Miyazaki's Memoir)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  967 ratings  ·  113 reviews
R to L (Japanese Style). A hefty compilation of essays (both pictorial and prose), notes, concept sketches and interviews by (and with) Hayao Miyazaki. Arguably the most respected animation director in the world, Miyazaki is the genius behind "Howl's Moving Castle," Princess Mononoke" and the Academy Award-winning film, "Spirited Away." ...more
Hardcover, 500 pages
Published August 4th 2009 by VIZ Media LLC (first published August 1996)
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 ·  967 ratings  ·  113 reviews

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Michael Scott
When I saw Starting Point: 19791996 in store at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne, I was still overwhelmed by joy: Hayao Miyazaki is for a long time now one of my favorite artists. This volume covers almost twenty of his productive years, with interviews, edited pieces, and even journal pages. The reader finds out not only about work-related topics, but also about Miyazaki's opinions about war, culture, animation, society, nature, well, pretty much about anything (hi ...more
Allen Riley
Jan 25, 2010 rated it liked it
This book is mostly boring and occasionally brilliant. The two great things expressed here are Miyazaki's overall positive attitude about making films, which is really foreign to me and was refreshing to be exposed to, and his definition of realism.

Realism for Miyazaki is a kind of depth of detail. His primary example is the depth of detail in a tree: bark, leaves, insects, etc. Real things are fortified by these rich, interlocking levels of detail. This is a big difference from the kind of surf
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography
"Creating animation means creating a fictional world. That world soothes the spirit of those who are disheartened and exhausted from dealing with the sharp edges of reality, or suffering from a nearsighted distortion of their emotions."

It's a book about the great Japan Director Animation film, Hayao Miyazaki on his early days as an animator. Starting Point makes me believe that he is one of the genius people out there. He creates his works with such wide range, accessible to younger and old
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
I would find it hard to believe that any true fan of Miyazaki-san would find this book boring or off-putting. Yes, it's a collection of essays, but they offer insight into the brilliance behind his award-winning works; I find it fascinating to know where he finds his inspiration. He also offers his own opinion on topics that might seem completely unrelated to animation--politics, the environment, the economy--but that ultimately affect the industry and his art nevertheless. Truly a great book fo ...more
Jun 14, 2020 rated it liked it
For about the third time master director and artist Hayao Miyazaki has retired. There is every reason to believe that this one will take. His Starting Point, 1979-1896 reads like the results of going through old files and publishing some rather than trashing them all. I had hoped to gather some combination of who was the young Miyazaki, how he matured as an artist and some information on terms like Manga and any of the several forms and styles that in fact are mentioned in this collection. Inste ...more
Scott Longo
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Fragmented, redundant and oftentimes too specific to be interesting... but that's why it is. The strange gap between the chapters feel like a real portrait, a personal portrait... of an artist, a human. You really get an insight into Miyazaki's contradictory and shifting mindset. With a perfectly written conclusion by Studio Ghibli co-head Isao Takahata, that makes you realize just how weird the previous 500 pages were.

Comprised of essays, interviews and lots of working history details (too many
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, art
Considering the nature of the book, a collection of articles and interviews, it is fragmented and redundant. But definitely recommended for Miyazaki-san's fans. Provides an insight into his mind and his work and creative process. ...more
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was excellent. I am familiar with Miyazaki's work in animation (Spirited Away may be my favorite movie of all time, and I am fascinated by his films in general), but the book gave me a lot of new and surprising information. Some of it could be repetitive, and incongruous at times, but it was definitely worth the read. When at its best, the book was phenomenal.
Miyazaki shares views on Japanese history, society and environment, his various studies and fascinations with planes: so many s
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is certain kind of books where you can finish them in two or three days, and they are others that you can't help but live with them, either because you got attached & grew to love deeply, so you want to extend your experience with them as much as possible. Or because, harshly, they are too hard to read.

This book was both

I struggled reading it. I had to reread paragraphs many times. But, I enjoyed it, thoroughly, and loved it.

Because Hayao Miyazaki has so many opinions about so many subje
Erdenebat Altangerel
As a rookie employee of my company, this book though me a lot about the importance of giving your effort and understanding the things you do. Personally, I kind of feel sometimes stressed during the lockdown and quarantine. So I made a routine about reading this book at least 1 hour per day in the morning before I start the day. What I wrote here has no context about the book or a spoiler. It is only the knowledge I received from this book. Of course, I do love Ghibli films, and I have watched m ...more
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
What you can take out of this book really depends on what you're looking for. I read a few of the negative reviews (I only read the negatives :') ) and it's interesting to contrast what the general reader wanted (a biography, which it isn't and hence the negatives) versus what I and possibly other artists could benefit from- mind + methodology.

For the casual purveyor, Starting Point is a sneak peek into Miyazaki's personal lifestyle and thought process. Interrupted with numerous tangents involv
More 3,5 stars... It was great to get to look into the mind of this great animator, to know how much he cares about nature, what he thinks of childhood, about animation, etcetera...

It was boring at times though, probably in part because of the writing, but honestly animation isn't the only subject in this book. I don't really know what I expected from this, but I definitely hoped it would be better (aka; I wanted it to blow my mind and maybe get more info on how to get better at this difficult c
Matt Kelland
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: movies
Absolutely brilliant book, a must for any filmmaker, specially animators. Miyazaki writes a series of essays about how he creates, and most importantly why he creates. How does he see the world, and how does he represent that on screen? How do you make audiences care about what they're seeing? What makes Ghibli films so superior to those of just about every other animation studio in the world?
It's not about the drawings or the 3D models. It's not even about the movement. Miyazaki talks about wha
Benjamin Robinson
Mar 16, 2016 rated it liked it
I think this book will only appeal to a very specific audience. It is not a grand, sweeping narrative about the life and works of Hayao Miyazaki. This book is a collection of interviews, essays, and speeches that he has given over the course of 27 years. In a way, this makes the book even more interesting. Instead of an author attempting to interpret the actions of Miyazaki, or even Miyazaki attempting an interpretation of himself, this book simply exposes his thoughts as they were at a certain ...more
Jul 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Definitely enjoyed it. Why? Because it provided an insight into Miyazaki himself. It gave background to his thoughts on certain films, on the process of making them. It revealed to me how his Japanese culture, which I am not familiar, affected him. There is one chapter dedicated completely to Future Boy Conan. I had not seen it and so I put the book down and watched the whole thing before I came back to the book again. Maybe it's because I'm a fanboy, but it was very fascinating and to me, worth ...more
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
It builts an interesting picture of one of my favorite animation authors. It sheds light in the way he perceives the world around him and what his work means to him which is always valuable information to have when one attemps to watch a story in full light.
Holy cow all Miyazaki talks about is overpopulation and how there are too many cartoons on TV.
Ismael Barbosa
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hayao Miyazaki Starting Point: Book Review

Starting Point is a memoir worth a read from anybody especially those seeking a career in the world of animation. The works and thought process of Hayao Miyazaki's mind are inspiring all on their own. Through Hayao eye’s you get his view and ideas on the industry whether it be negative or positive. His advice and lessons our giving and taught through his own expense throughout the whole memoir that will enlighten and may change the way you think of ani
Lệ Lin
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
“If you plan to reflect what you really want to do in your own work, you must have a firm foundation. My foundation is this: I want to send a message of cheer to all those wandering aimlessly through life.”




≛ This book is a collection of essays, interviews, and memoirs in which the first half revealing some of his personal views that I oppose* and the latter half, however, still made me look up to him for his dedication and acute observation both in work and life. There is a par
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
"I'm fully aware that in today's world, to create truly human-oriented works, we have to accept an inhuman daily schedule, and of course I wind up becoming a workaholic. I believe my dilemma is a yoke similar to what audiences- who yearn to be liberated from their daily lives- must bear. It requires a strong will. So that's why I believe that the only solution for me is to go back, again and again, to my starting point."
From "Thoughts on Japanese Animation," p. 85

A diverse set of essays, intervi
Lloyd Downey
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Not quite a biography nor an autobiography; Not a sampling of his animation or drawing but a collection of interviews and writings about and by Hayao Miyazaki. I loved it. It's vaguely historical in terms of time lines but it meanders this way and that in teasing out Miyazaki's approach to manga and animation and the influences in his life. The translation is marvellous. Never once did i find that awkwardness that comes from having to translate something from Japanese into English full mar ...more
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you ever want to diagnose my personality, you can start with the time I read 450 pages of Miyazaki interviews and essays when I hadn't even seen all the movies he talked about. There's a lot of material here! It covers a lot of ground, too, but it's really interesting to see themes and repeated points emerge across media and time. This book made me get out my highlighter and scribble notes in the margins. I don't think his creative mind is any less enigmatic to me after reading the book, but ...more
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
My own starting point with Miyazaki was fifteen years ago sitting at home watching an animated film by the name of spirited away. Suffice to say, I was drawn into his world - not so much by their technical excellence in meticulous details (although, that is important too), but an artist quality that transported me, and still transports me, to a world where there are no distinctive villains, where the protagonist is a child with no superpowers but simply going through a search of identity just li ...more
Zel Polev
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Mmm...I'm kind of conflicted on this one. On the one hand, I am reading and partaking in the mind of the man who made Nausicaa. On the other, my god, can he complain.

I haven't finished it because I haven't much time for leisure reading. From what I've read though, he can really express his disgruntlement.

I don't really like it for the reasons that it didn't really teach me anything. The most prevailing idea I'm getting is that he is dissatisfied with the state of animation. There are too many m
Philip Shade
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I think it's uncontroversial to say that Hayao Miyazaki is modern day Walt Disney. His stories consistently have brought awe and wonder to children and adults alike. This collection of essays, interviews, and speeches gives insight to how his personal vision defines the projects he works on; both in and out of his Studio Ghibli.

I can't say this is a book for everyone, but if you're a big Stupid Ghibli fan, or really enjoy learning about the creative process of (and hearing a lot of anecdotal sto
Ilaria Vigorito
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays
I started reading this book, because I needed some insight on “Nausicäa of the Valley of the Wind”. Then, I came back to read the other interviews and it was a really pleasant and interesting reading. Especially because you, as a reader and as a viewer of Miyazaki’s movies, have the chance to know more about his modus operandi, his personal beliefs, his views not only on animation but also on Japanese history and society and on international politics.

And you can clearly see what influenced his s
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This collection of essays, articles, speeches, and interviews by Hayao Miyazaki provides so much insight into his working process, it's no wonder others have called it a course in animation. I would say it's a course in how Miyazaki does animation. Personal thoughts on early Japanese animation and animators, the state of manga, his work and the works of Studio Ghibli add up to a map of his mind and a look at the anime industry, its influences, and impact.

My only complaint is that Viz didn't incl
Mar 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The book shows me how Hayao Miyazaki feels things to the extremes on both ends. He’d claim that he is the furthest thing from an environmentalist, yet spends pages after pages showing his astute observation and thoughtfulness towards the issue. The people who work with him will say that he have the biggest heart and is very friendly, and at the same time reveal how he is often found screaming atrocious things to his colleagues (and to himself).

This quality of him shows through how layered and in
Jul 14, 2020 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
Even though this was a very pleasurable and quick read, this is hardly a book I would recommend for everyone. I love Miyazaki‘s work, his excitement and realistic view on his experiences is refreshing. His love for the simple things and humble approach are what made me like this read so much.

This is not a closed story, a proper memoir, it is what it sets out to be: a collection of essays and interviews. Many of which are interesting in a way, but some are really a delight.

I am not gonna lie, i
Craig Shearon
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was such a pleasant read. It was quite a refreshing book for me and I enjoyed spending time reading about his thoughts and concepts on the industry, comparing to his filmography/ stand point now.

I find it interesting that 'Studio Ghibli Fans' or 'Anime Lovers' will read this book and be bored and disinterested from what he is discussing BUT I personally feel if you work in the creative industry you will heavily appreciate Miyazaki's tangents and analytical thinking of the film industry at
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宮崎 駿

Hayao Miyazaki was born in Tokyo on January 5, 1941. He started his career in 1963 as an animator at the studio Toei Douga, and was subsequently involved in many early classics of Japanese animation. From the beginning, he commanded attention with his incredible ability to draw, and the seemingly-endless stream of movie ideas he proposed.

In 1971, he moved to A Pro with Isao Takahata, then to N

Other books in the series

Hayao Miyazaki's Memoir (2 books)
  • Turning Point: 1997-2008

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