Studio Ghibli: The Complete Works review – a invaluable look at the legendary anime studio.

One of the most prolific animation studios in history, Studio Ghibli have been responsible for a seemingly endless parade of classic anime films. Now thanks to Vertical, we can take a look through their entire back catalogue in Studio Ghibli: The Complete Works which is officially put together by Studio Ghibli themselves.

It is impossible to overstate the impact that Studio Ghibli has had on the animation industry. Hayao Miyazaki alone has created some of the most influential animated films of all time from My Neighbor Totoro to Princess Mononoke to Spirited Away. This book covers all his works along with Ghibli’s other star talent’s productions including Isao Takahata (Grave of The Fireflies, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya) and Hiromasa Yonebayashi (When Marnie Was There, Arrietty).

You could obviously dedicate whole books to each of Studio Ghibli’s productions (and there have been plenty that are), but this book approaches the film library in a broader approach. There is a history of the studio covering both their film work and outside endeavours (including the highly popular Studio Ghibli Museum.) Following that we get a breakdown of each film along with a character guide, some trivia and promotional materials including posters and newspaper ads. But the highlights come from the many articles that explore different themes and tropes that are found in Ghibli films. This includes food, nature and music (legendary composer Joe Hisashi provides invaluable insight into the approach of his work on many Ghibli productions).

The amount of extras included is quite frankly staggering. Production notes from the directors and other crew members that were originally printed in pamphlets given out at film screenings are included which again give great insights into creative processes and what the director’s intention was with each film. But this book doesn’t just focus on the past. An interview with director Goro Miyazaki covers their work on Earwig and The Witch which was the studio’s first production to be made using CGI animation. As a studio that is very traditional and seen as the gold standard when it comes to hand-drawn animation, it is fascinating to see how they approach new technology and animation techniques. An interview with producer Toshio Suzuki further elaborates on this as he goes in depth on what the future for the studio holds.

This is a fantastic retrospective on an all-time great animation studio. Whether you’re an animation fan, a Ghibli fan, an inspiring animator or someone looking for a perfect present for an anime fan, Studio Ghibli: The Complete Works is a must buy.

Studio Ghibli: The Complete Works is out now from Vertical (9781647291495, h/b, £32.99)

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