Friday, February 17, 2012
Review: The Art of the Secret World of Arrietty
WRITER: Studio Ghibli
ARTISTS: Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Hayao Miyazaki, Ai Kagawa, Akihito Yamashita, Studio Ghibli
ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Takami Nieda
ISBN: 978-1-4215-3064-2; soft cover
248pp, Color, $34.99 US, $39.99 CAN, £25.00 UK
The Secret World of Arrietty, a 2010 Japanese animated fantasy film, opens in the United States today. Known as The Borrower Arrietty in Japan, it is the latest animated feature film from Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation and film studio founded by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. Miyazaki is known for such animated films as the Oscar-winning Spirited Away, the Oscar-nominated Howl’s Moving Castle, and also Princess Mononoke. The Secret World of Arrietty is based upon The Borrowers, the 1952 children’s fantasy novel by Mary Norton.
Although he drew key art sketches and co-wrote the screenplay, Miyazaki is not The Secret World of Arrietty’s director. That honor goes to rising star Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who also did the concept and rough character sketches for Arrietty. Now, readers can take a look behind the scenes of the production of The Secret World of Arrietty in a new book, The Art of the Secret World of Arrietty.
The Art of the Secret World of Arrietty is a full color collection of preliminary concept sketches and rough character sketches, concept sketches, concept art, background art, and character sketches and designs. The book also includes film stills and the complete voice-over script, illustrated with black and white images from the film.
The television campaign to promote The Secret World of Arrietty’s release to theatres is quite good, the best that I’ve seen for a Studio Ghibli movie since the U.S. release of Princess Mononoke. One could also view The Art of the Secret World of Arrietty as promotion for the film; just thumbing through it is enough to convince someone to see the movie. All the beautiful art, sketches, and assorted graphics from the books are tempting samples from the film.
Certainly, fans of the animated films of Studio Ghibli will want this book. Not only is The Art of the Secret World of Arrietty a behind-the-scenes look at the drawing and visual storytelling process of creating The Secret World of Arrietty, but it is also a dreamscape showing off the tremendous artistic and film talent that works at Studio Ghibli.
The Art of the Secret World of Arrietty also has several pages of sketches produced by the master himself, Hayao Miyazaki. These concept sketches have an impressionistic quality, as if Monet had created them as studies for paintings he would later produce. $34.99 is a bargain just to have the Miyazaki sketches.