Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Studio Ghibli to me produces some of the best and most beautiful animated films. I know we have Pixar/Disney and they are wonderful but these films are on a different level of amazing. “Ponyo” was directed by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki back in 2008 and it was such a great film. There is something about a hand drawn film that really speaks to me still, maybe since it is rare amongst the sea of CGI animated film. There is something so different about an “Art of” book for either a live action film or CGI film versus a hand-drawn film. “The Art of Ponyo” is the latest release from Viz Media and if you are a fan of Ghibli, then you know how amazing these “Art of” books are. If you don’t then you need to pick this up ASAP since it is outstanding.
The reason why the art in this film is so amazing is because it is not only cel hand-drawning but also watercolor and pastel concept sketches and layout pages. The images are so beautiful and colorful, which is another aspect that I loved of the film is the use of color. The book also contains interviews with principals from the production talking about the animation choices and screenplay. I love that Viz Media has been putting these out again. I just wish that they would relate back to the hardcover option for these books like they were using years back with “Spirited Away”, “My Neighbor Totoro” etc. Otherwise, this is an amazing look into this film and it gives a real appreciation for hand-drawn animation.
After reading this book end to end and studying these amazing drawings and you are looking for more rest assured because Viz Media has more in the works. On April 8th, they are releasing “The Art of The Wind Rises” and on October 7th, they are releasing “The Art of Princess Mononoke”. If you haven’t seen “The Wind Rises”, it is easily one of Hayao Miyazaki’s best films and also sadly his last. So I would highly recommend checking that one out. It is beautiful and really going to be an amazing piece of art itself, I am sure. Keep them coming Viz, Studio Ghibli has quite the vast library of films.